Russia-NATO Relations: From Declaratory Partnership to Deep Crisis

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-5-5-16
S. Oznobishchev (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 


Abstract. The end of the Cold War stimulated decisive positive changes in Russia-NATO relations. American military presence in Europe was reduced by 85% which was one of the signs of growing trust between Russia and the West. Moscow and Brussels adopted a number of documents (NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 among them) proclaiming mutual intention to develop a “stable and long-term partnership”. Unfortunately, a number of drawbacks in the Western strategy towards Russia (most notably NATO’s enlargement policy) almost derailed prospects to realize the above intention. Negative developments of the military political situation in Europe and in the world resulting from the Ukrainian crisis drastically aggravated the interaction between Russia and Western countries. As a result, Russia-NATO relations were thrown back on the brink of the Cold War and degraded from the level of developing cooperation with the goal of establishing partnership-like cooperation to a deep mistrust. For the first time since the Cold War, the militaries of the parties almost came in close contact creating the risk of military conflict. In this situation, reducing the level of mutual confrontation becomes an urgent task. To achieve this a number of measures may be undertaken: the mechanism of direct bilateral dialogue (primarily within the NATO-Russia Council) should be restarted, steps should be taken to prevent incidents on and over the high seas, certain key provisions of the Founding Act should be clarified and specified, the level and numbers of military maneuvers should be lowered significantly, zones of the reduced levels of armaments should be established, the process of negotiations on arms control and confidence building measures in Europe should be resumed. In fact, a number of such measures may be proposed. But it is important to take into consideration that the discussion on “modernization” of the 2011 Vienna Document on confidence- and security-building measures proposed by the West may be effectively started only in line with the development of a dialogue on security and arms control and achieving here sizable results. The parts should reduce drastically declaratory accusations addressing each other and try to refrain from activity that would be negatively perceived by the other side. 

Keywords: Russia-NATO relations, enlargement policy, military confrontation, crisis of European security, Cold War, negotiations on conventional forces in Europe, confidence building measures 


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For citation:
Oznobishchev S. Russia-NATO Relations: From Declaratory Partnership to Deep Crisis. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 5, pp. 5-16.

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