6

The NYT took note in 2004 that parliamentary opposition to NATO's expansion was growing in Russia

While Russia has resigned itself to NATO's expansion, albeit grudgingly, the reality of NATO forces being deployed in the Baltics -- on short notice -- has deeply unsettled and angered its politicians and commanders, prompting some of the sharpest criticism of the alliance since its war against Serbia in 1999.

Russia's lower house of Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on Wednesday denouncing NATO's expansion generally and the deployment of the F-16's specifically.

Echoing warnings in Russia's new military doctrine set forth last fall, the resolution called on President Vladimir V. Putin to reconsider Russia's international agreements with NATO and its own defense strategies, including its nuclear posture.

Few expect a new cold war to erupt in Europe, but NATO's expansion has further chilled a not very warm peace, especially between Russia and the Baltic states.

Lithuania and Estonia have recently expelled Russian diplomats accused of spying on, among other things, NATO activities, prompting tit-for-tat expulsions by Russia.

This is quite in contrast with the 2003 coverage in the same newspaper of the 96-0 US Senate vote for that 2004 NATO expansion, which barely had mentioned that "past Russian opposition to NATO expansion has faded under President Vladimir V. Putin".

So, I'm interested to know if the Russian Duma had condemned the earlier 1999 NATO expansion before their 2004 statement.

(I did find a US army paper from 1998 mentioning that "The deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma's security committee, Sergey Boskholov, considers it inadmissible that the Baltic countries should join NATO." However, that committee had like 4 or 5 deputy chairmen, so not quite clear what kind of support his position had back then, or if it extended to non-Baltic countries.)

1
  • Since the mid-90s and until the pro-Putin United Russia became the dominant political party, the State Duma was controlled by the Communists and their allies, who were in opposition to the government (and remain the principal opposition force in Russia). While these were unlikely to favorably view NATO, they wouldn't actively support the government policy either. May 23 at 8:50

2 Answers 2

1

Of course they did. I am surprised you can't find sources about this; just Google for "Russia Nato" and restrict the results to 1999 or earlier.

Example.

Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will become full NATO members at a ceremony attended by their foreign ministers and by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in the U.S. city of Independence, Missouri (1800 CET).

Russia has long criticized the enlargement, which brings NATO to its borders -- where Poland touches the Kaliningrad region. But despite Moscow's protests, nine other nations are in line to join the alliance.

The Russian Foreign Ministry today issued a statement saying enlargement "will not promote a strengthening of trust and stability in international relations."

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Moscow that the entry of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic is a "movement in the wrong direction." He said Russia was interested in a security system that would embrace all of Europe, namely through a new European Security Charter being discussed under the auspices of the 54-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

2
  • I guess that the Foreign Ministry expressing their opposition would have made the Duma feel like stating their position would not have been necessary, so I'll accept your answer unless someone manages to answer my Q more literally. N.B., the same article you quoted later says "Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has repeatedly criticized neighboring countries for participating in NATO-led exercises."
    – Fizz
    Jun 21 at 13:03
  • And "The Duma has also called on the government to warn the Baltic nations and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) against engaging in any joint military action with NATO." So yeah, the Duma did make their position noted, it seems.
    – Fizz
    Jun 21 at 13:06
0

Well, to more literally answer my Q, which was about the Duma, the same 1999 RFERL article found by Allure noted that...

Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has repeatedly criticized neighboring countries for participating in NATO-led exercises. The Duma has also called on the government to warn the Baltic nations and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) against engaging in any joint military action with NATO.

Which was not literally on the issue of membership, but if joint exercises with NATO were deemed off limits for these countries by the Duma... (Somewhat interestingly, the Russian executive didn't take this Duma recommendation to apply to Russia itself as it conducted regular joint exercises with NATO between 2003 and 2013, with one year hiatus in 2009.)


On the other hand, RFERL is a good source for even older (and less ambiguous) positions statements of the Duma regarding NATO expansion:

Moscow, 24 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Russian Duma overwhelmingly called on Russians today to mark next month's anniversary of the end of World War II by demonstrating against NATO expansion.

In a vote of 253 in favor to 14 against, the Duma delegates called on all political parties to take part in Russia's May 9 Victory Day celebrations and to protest the Atlantic Alliance's plans to include former Warsaw Pact members.

The Duma declaration said the NATO expansion plan amounts to the creation of the largest military threat to Russia in the past 50 years.

The Duma also appealed to parliaments of NATO member countries and urged them to reconsider the expansion plans.

This was a few months before the Madrid summit of 1997 where Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic were invited to join.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .