A personal take on NATO-Russia relations

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Marking the 15th anniversary of the NATO-Russia Council, a Russia expert looks back in disappointment at how the high hopes for the partnership have been dashed in recent years.

Much of my time, focus and personal energy were devoted to advancing NATO-Russia cooperation for many years. Until March 2014, for over seventeen years, relations between NATO and Russia had developed at a rather good pace and resulted in some concrete and significant common projects. So, watching many years’ worth of difficult negotiations and considerable investments unravel overnight because of a decision taken in the middle of the night on 22/23 February 2014 (as President Putin himself recounted in a documentary aired in 2015) has been extremely disappointing.

The honeymoon

When I first joined NATO in 2004 to work on the Russia desk, relations with Russia could not have been more different. The Rome Declaration, which established the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), had just been adopted in 2002, and it was an important upgrade from the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997. There was a lot of optimism and expectation at NATO that the Cold War legacy of confrontation could definitively be put behind, while a new era of cooperation with Russia would serve to dispel any lingering suspicions of the past decades…

Read more : Nato Review, 14.06.2017