After a brief period of positive relations between Russia and NATO in the early 1990s, a whole series of crises in relations have led to a general deterioration of the relationship. These crises have resulted from two very different conceptions of self-identity and of the future of security in Europe. Although the divisions became evident already in before the turn of the millennium, the policies of Presidents Putin and Medvedev aimed at rebuilding Russia’s role as a great power contributed further to the divisions. Three areas of NATO policy have been central to Russia’s growing opposition to NATO- expansion eastward, the development of a missile shield, and the globalization of NATO’s involvement. Prospects for a real reconciliation between Russia and NATO are not positive.

Key Words

Russian foreign policy; Russia-NATO relations; identity and foreign policy; NATO expansion; U.S.-sponsored missile shield; globalization of NATO activity.


The post-Cold War period has been far from a stable era, considering the many crises between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia that resulted from the waves of NATO enlargement, the war in Kosovo, support of the West for the color revolutions, the U.S.-sponsored missile shield, andso on. Throughout the two decades following the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the Soviet Union itself, relations between NATO and Russia have led to the emergence of a significant sense of mistrust on both sides.