Mulige russiske reaksjoner på ulike former for NATO-utvidelse

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NATO is, for the second time, going to include new members from East-Central Europe. In view of the experiences from the first eastward expansion the possibility of a strong Russian reaction was seen as the main obstacle for a new expansion, especially if the Baltic states were included. The political development after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 changed that. But this does not mean that a new NATO enlargement would be unproblematic concerning the relations with Russia. This report first discuss the importance of Russia, and therefore of Russian reactions, to the security of Europe and the Russian interests involved. Thereafter the experiences from the last round of NATO enlargement are analysed. The new developments are the last enlargement, especially the Putin government and the terrorist agenda, are also discussed. The important factors for the Russian government are the international and nations power relations and the kind of enlargement of NATO, or NATO involvement in the Russian periphery. As important, however, are the Russian foreign policy ambitions and strategies. A NATO enlargement is much more dangerous as seen from a Russian government seeing NATO as an enemy than for a government seeking Russian integration into the Western world. The internal political in Russia is also important, because anti-western feelings are still strong in Russian. A pro-western Russian government could therefore have internal problems if it accepts a NATO-enlargement seen as threatening from important sectors of the Russian political system.
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