Russia and NATO Expansion Eastward: Red-Lining the Baltic States

By Black, Jl | International Journal, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Russia and NATO Expansion Eastward: Red-Lining the Baltic States


Black, Jl, International Journal


AN EASY ASSUMPTION THAT the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) worries only the foreign policy elite in Moscow has been a characteristic of Western explanations of Russia's response to enlargement since 1996. This view, often supported by references to public opinion polls showing that Russians are more concerned about economic and social issues, is dangerously misleading. Russia's signature on the NATO-Russian Federation Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security of 27 May 1997, and official acquiescence in the formal invitations offered to prospective new NATO members at Madrid two months later, seem to have lulled Western leaders into believing that the Russia 'problem' has been resolved.

The idea that the Russian public has scant interest in NATO's ambitions in the East has been advanced by Zbigniew Brzezinski, a prominent adviser on Russian affairs to American policy makers,(f.1) even if every political leader in Russia, from President Boris Yeltsin and members of his government to strident opposition faction heads, has spoken out strongly and consistently against NATO expansion to the east. They have all called it, in one way or another, a mistake of historic proportions and continue to express that opinion, even while accepting the inevitable. Leaders of every organized political party portray expansion as a potential threat to Russia. Although the two largest parties - the Communist party and Our Home is Russia, the 'government' party - are virulent adversaries, both include opposition to NATO expansion in their official platforms. Every obvious candidate for the presidency has decried expansion. A clear majority of the popularly elected State Duma deputies are hostile to NATO's inclusion of former Warsaw pact countries and adamantly against the admission of former Soviet republics. Their stance has the support of all the mainstream newspapers. Indeed, expansion to the east is a subject on which there is a very rare consensus in the extremely diverse and often mutually incompatible political landscape.

If one takes Russian commentary on NATO expansion at face value, the question of membership for former Soviet republics is the matter on which Moscow has drawn its final 'line in the sand.' The degree to which the line is taken seriously in the West, furthermore, may well determine the success or failure of NATO's enlargement enterprise. An analysis of Russian discourse on the Baltic republics as it relates to NATO expansion can shed some light on the possible consequences for the Founding Act if one or more of those states are included in enlargement's 'second wave.'

Russian expectations of a vigorous Baltic campaign to join NATO have a long history. A prominent Russian journalist predicted as much in September 1991, a few weeks after the failed coup against the Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the subsequent Baltic declarations of independence from the USSR.(f.2) By 1998 Russian foreign policy analysts were speaking of the absorption of the Baltic states by NATO as the 'most acute issue' facing Moscow and predicting bitterly that Russia's strategic interests in the Baltic region would be ignored by Western leaders.(f.3)

Until recently, Moscow comfortably thought of the Baltic Sea as its rightful sphere of influence. But Russia has only two remaining bases for its once huge Baltic fleet: Kronstadt near St Petersburg and Baltiisk in Kaliningrad. Its sense of vulnerability was reinforced in 1997 when all three Baltic countries applied and were formally accepted as candidates for NATO membership. Early in that year, the possibility of Estonian entry drew the first words of warning from Yeltsin and his government.(f.4) On 20 February 1997, despite assertions by the Estonian president, Lennart Meri, that his country's aspirations were not anti-Russian, Moscow's diplomats in Tallinn threatened Estonia with economic sanctions if it persisted in its efforts to join NATO. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Russia and NATO Expansion Eastward: Red-Lining the Baltic States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.