Disinfo: The US assured Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward


In 1990, the president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, was assured by the US government that NATO would not expand to the East.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO.

This promise was never made, as Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union, has himself confirmed.

Central and Eastern European countries began seeking NATO membership in the early 1990s. NATO actively sought to create a cooperative environment that was conducive to enlargement while simultaneously building special relations with Russia.

NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance of their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security, and one to which Russia has also subscribed.

For similar cases, see here and here.


  • Reported in: Issue 174
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: USSR, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Mikhail Gorbachev, Eastern Europe, EU/NATO enlargement, Encircling Russia, NATO


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Soros is linked to the Orange Revolution and regime changes in Ukraine

George Soros involvement in Ukraine is well known, his name is linked to the Orange Revolution and regime changes in this country. Like in Georgia. George Soros himself acknowledged, in an interview with CNN, that he actively contributed to the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. “I created a foundation in Ukraine before it became independent from Russia. The foundation has functioned since then and has played an important role in current events,” explains the financier.


Conspiracy theory based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about George Soros. 

A foundation sponsored by George Soros, the International Renaissance Foundation, as part of the Open Society Foundations, was established in Ukraine in April 1990, following the aim to assist the transition to democracy and a market economy. At that time, the Open Society Foundations’ focused in former Communist states on modernization and reforming of national institutions and support for civil society groups/organizations. The Foundation in Ukraine has many projects in different areas, such as fighting corruption by strengthening transparency and accountability, supporting investigative journalism projects, supporting the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine since 2014 as well as the development of independent media outlets. Since 2014, the foundation has been among the founders of StopFake.org, an initiative dedicated to exposing lies and myths about Ukraine. More about George Soros foundation in Ukraine read here.

There were no and are no Russian troops in Donbas

There were and at the moment are no Russian troops in Donbas, but the Russian army has information from the border regions.


A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Russia is not part of the conflict in Donbas, that Russia has nothing to do with the war in eastern Ukraine and that there is a “civil war” in Donbas.

There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine. The EU condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

Russophobic and Nazi Ukraine will be destroyed by Russia

Following the 2014 coup and finding itself under complete control of the West, Ukraine started disrupting all economic ties with Russia as was ordered by the West. In accordance with the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine opened its markets for the EU products but faced EU’s closed markets or minimal import quotas. As a result, many Ukrainian branches of the economy started stagnating. After the 2014 coup, Ukraine essentially ended being a state and turned into a former country. Historically Ukrainian territories were part of Rus’, then Russian empire, and then USSR, which is a big Russia. Since 2014 the West, a global Russian enemy succeeded in reformatting Russia’s former part, non-country Ukraine, into Anti-Russia.

In a new Anti-Russian Banderstadt, less than 2 percent of the population, which holds Nazi and neo-fascist views, keeps under control the rest of the population, zombieing them with Russophobia and pushing for war with Russia. Even Volodymyr Zelenskyy cannot deal with them. In other words, Ukraine has turned into a weapon of the vicious enemy and a hostile arena towards Russia and all Russian people. The Anti-Russia existence close to Russia’s borders is wrong and strategically harmful for Russia. Russia will not tolerate it and, sooner or later, this hostile springboard will be destroyed. Russians of Novorossiya, Malorossiya (‘Little Russia’), and other historic regions will not leave to Russophobic Ukraine any territories.


This publication contains a nearly complete collection of most popular anti-Ukrainian pro-Kremlin propagandistic claims about Ukraine under external control, the Nazis/Fascists in Ukraine, coup d'etat in Ukraine, West-staged colour revolutions, and West's attempts to tear Ukraine apart from Russia and to make it anti-Russian. It also repeats recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives undermining the statehood of Ukraine and misrepresenting EU relations with Ukraine, and paints the war in Donbas as a result of Ukraine's aggressive actions, thus disregarding the actual sequence of events and extensive factual evidence confirming ongoing Russian military presence in Donbas.

Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation-state, with its own flag, nationality, language and with a democratically-elected president and parliament. The claims that Ukraine is under complete Western control is groundless. The US and the European Union continue to support Ukraine, its territorial integrity, and sovereignty against Russian aggression. The Ukrainian Statistical Service informs that the EU accounts for 43% of Ukrainian exports. In 2017, Ukraine exported 17.5 bln USD worth of goods to the EU. The negative trade balance decreased from 10 bln USD to 3 bln USD. See here for further information about the DCFTA and the cooperation between the EU and Ukraine. Ukraine is the largest recipient of the EU’s macro-financial aid among all non-EU countries.