ROAR: NATO considers Russia’s security strategy

Vladimir Kremlev for RT
Moscow has reiterated that NATO enlargement is a threat to Russia’s security and has revealed its own strategic plans to the alliance.

Deputy Secretary of Russia's Security Council Vladimir Nazarov met on July 22 with NATO ambassadors at the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels. He briefed them about Russia’s new national security strategy.

The main goal of the presentation of this conception was to explain “why we see the approach of NATO's military infrastructure to our borders as a threat,” Nazarov said.

The alliance is updating its own strategy for the next 10-15 years. Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said before yesterday’s meeting that the alliance wants its new strategic conception and Russia’s national doctrine to be developed simultaneously. This could help to avoid disagreements in the future, he added.

The Russian media quote Nazarov as saying that no country is named an adversary in Russia’s new security strategy. However, the document says that the approach of NATO’s military structure to Russia’s borders and possible “globalization” of the alliance are serious threats to the country.

Nazarov also said that Russia did not want to have a veto on the admission of new members to the alliance, but insisted that its opinion and concerns should be understood by NATO.

Russia and the alliance are two important partners. That is why it is important for Moscow to know what NATO thinks about our new national security strategy, Nazarov said.

Rogozin, in his turn, told Komsomolskaya Pravda that there was nothing unusual in NATO’s desire to understand Russia’s conception of security. The alliance had already invited Rogozin to a seminar about NATO’s new strategic conception.

“And we would like to know who is named as an adversary of NATO in their conception, and who is an ally or partner,” Rogozin said. The two sides need a dialogue and exchange of opinions, he stressed, adding that Russia is “open to partners”.

Aleksey Makarkin, first vice president of the Center for Political Technologies, told RT that Russia “is being reproached for putting obstacles in the way of NATO’s enlargement towards the east by admitting former USSR countries.”

“Moscow is reacting to this and has developed a conception which states that no country should cause damage to others,” Makarkin said. Now, Russian representatives are explaining this to their partners in NATO.

The work of the NATO-Russia Council was suspended after the war in the Caucasus over South Ossetia in August 2008.

However, after NATO-Russia Council foreign ministers met in Corfu in June this year, Secretary General of the alliance Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that the council “is now back in gear.”

Many observers and politicians in European countries have recognized the fact that it was Georgia that attacked South Ossetia in 2008, Makarkin said. Moscow believes that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili remains the main threat to security in the region, as well as to the security of his own country, he added.

He stressed that Russia considers NATO enlargement as a threat to its national security. That is why Moscow tries to explain to its partners why it opposes the integration of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, Makarkin said.

RBC Daily quotes the NATO Secretary General as saying in his last official speech that Kiev and Tbilisi “are incapable of satisfying certain requirements as countries that seek NATO membership.” He also said that the alliance is “unhappy about the political situation in the two countries,” the paper cited.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is standing down as the chief of the alliance. Russian media have written that Russia’s envoy in NATO Rogozin “is optimistic about the new Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.”

The meeting of the NATO-Russia Council took place at the time when US Vice President Joseph Biden is visiting Ukraine and Georgia. “That is only a coincidence,” Makarkin said, adding that the US “is a big power, but it is only one of the NATO member states.”

Biden’s visit will not affect NATO-Russian relations, the expert stressed. “It may only influence them psychologically,” he added.

The vice president’s visit to the two former USSR republics is unlikely to change the mutual understanding that the NATO-Russia Council helps to maintain consultations between Moscow and the countries of the alliance, Makarkin said.

According to him, Moscow is not absolutely pleased with the council which demonstrated its inefficiency during the conflict in South Ossetia. “But Russia proceeds from the fact (and possibly the alliance too) that it is necessary to maintain the council as a mechanism for consultations,” he added.

Rogozin also said that the alliance showed in August 2008 that “it is not ready to be [Russia's] ally.” Rogozin told Komsomolskaya Pravda that “NATO is a hard partner for us, but it is still a partner.”

The exchange of opinions on the strategic conceptions of Russia and NATO “is a very good chance for a qualitative change of relations between the two sides,” Krasnaya Zvezda, the newspaper published by the Russian Defense Ministry, wrote. “But it seems it will be difficult to do this,” it added.

On the one hand, the alliance understands the need to expand cooperation with Russia, the paper said. “On the other hand, NATO is increasingly demonstrating global claims and is striving for dominance in international affairs,” it wrote.

“Russia stands for strengthening collective security and increasing the importance of the UN in this process,” Krasnaya Zvezda said. Dialogue on equal terms should be the basic principle in NATO-Russia relations, it added.

However, Deputy Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Vladimir Nazarov was quoted in the Russian media as saying that not all members of the alliance supported global responsibilities for NATO. The alliance has no such plans, Nazarov said, citing his colleagues in the NATO-Russia Council.

Sergey Borisov, RT