ECFR Series

How do you solve a problem like Russia? NATO-Russia relations after Ukraine

NATO’s Warsaw Summit is, officially, not just about Russia. Except that it is still basically all about Russia. The deterioration of relations with Russia after the Ukraine crisis has posed difficult, even existential questions for the alliance. What is the nature of the Russian threat? What does Russia want? Is cooperation with Russia still possible?
The past is also under scrutiny. Some member states think that NATO enlargement was a reckless endeavour, inevitably bound to irritate Russia. Others view Russia’s slide toward authoritarianism as the root of all evil or believe that Russia is now an expansionist power. Some think that Russia can be countered only with forceful deterrence. Others think that dialogue remain necessary.
These differences matter. NATO’s strength rests on its unity. To forge an effective response to Russia, NATO needs to reach greater consensus.
This collection of essays is part of that process. They look at the most critical and most contentious aspects of the NATO-Russia relationship. First, former British Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite shares his knowledge about the assurances concerning NATO enlargement that were – or were not – given to the Soviet Union and Russia. Next, Aleksandr Golts of Russia examines his country’s recent military reforms and exercises. Jacek Dukalec from Poland looks at Russia’s nuclear posture and signalling. Merle Maigre and Kadri Liik of Estonia lay out a new agenda for the NATO-Russia Council. Finally, Gustav Gressel of Austria looks into the future and examines what kind of challenge Russia will present in a few years’ time.

Nato Flag - Flickr / Defence Images
Nato Flag - Flickr / Defence Images - CC BY 2.0