On March 1st, 2022, the Facebook page “Cardhu” published a post regarding the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance and the resulting threats to Russia. According to the author, the West provoked the Russia-Ukraine confrontation because the West had broken its promise and started accepting the Warsaw Pact states into NATO. At the same time, the post states that Russia has solved the problem of Georgia’s entry into NATO through occupation because no one in the North Atlantic Alliance will accept a country with occupied territories. In addition, Cardhu argues that Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians are one people who lived together in Kyiv, Russia.
Cardhu: “The West has promised Russia that it would step back and would not accept the Warsaw Pact countries into NATO. Russia agreed, but the West took advantage of Russia’s problems and deceived it. In 2008, Russia attacked Georgia and occupied two regions. No one will accept an occupied country in NATO. With this, Russia neutralized Georgia; before, Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians were one people and lived in Russia, Kyiv. An independent Ukrainian state was first created in 1917; before that, it was called Malorussia, Little Russia.”
Cardhu’s assertion is disinformation and does not correspond to historical reality. Apart from Kremlin propaganda, no source confirms the West’s promise to Russia that the Warsaw Pact states should not join NATO. At the same time, the process of Georgia’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not hindered by the occupied territories, which is confirmed by the statements of the Alliance leaders. As for the claim that Ukrainians and Russians are one, it is also not valid. Compared to Slavic Ukrainians, Muscovites (Russians) have more in common with the Finno-Ugric and Mongolian tribes than with the Ukrainians.
Warsaw Pact and NATO Expansion
In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the abolition of the Warsaw Pact, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were among the new members of NATO. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were later added to the list. It is noteworthy that these states have initially been members of the Warsaw Pact created against NATO.
The fabrication that Europe promised Russia as if the Warsaw Pact states would not join NATO has been actively spread by the Russian media for many years. Kremlin publications use this disinformation to legitimize Russia’s fears against NATO and make Russia appear as an honest party in the confrontation.
The fact that NATO has never made any promises to Russia on eastward expansion is confirmed not only by the fact that there is no legal agreement on the issue but also by an interview with the last Secretary-General of the Central Committee, Mikhail Gorbachev, where he noted that the issue was not even up for discussion.
Mikhail Gorbachev, 2004: “The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either.”
The only formal agreement between NATO countries and the USSR was to resolve the German issue before its dissolution in December 1991. Promises in this regard concerned the deployment of NATO non-German and nuclear forces in East Germany, specifically in Germany and in the territory of the former GDR. Notably, the West fulfilled these agreements.
It is also important to note that the accession of the former Warsaw Pact to NATO was preceded by the founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Russian Federation in 1997.
Notably, by signing article 4 of the document, Russia agreed to the condition that NATO would acquire new members in the upcoming future.
Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, Article 4: The member States of NATO reiterate that they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, nor any need to change any aspect of NATO’s nuclear posture or nuclear policy – and do not foresee any future need to do so.”
Disinformation about NATO violating the terms of the agreement made with Russia has been spread in the past as well. See “Myth Detector” materials:
- Sergey Lavrov’s Disinformation About the NATO Military Exercises in the Black Sea
- Disinformation that NATO Allegedly Violated an Agreement with Russia
Occupied Regions and Georgia’s NATO Integration
The myth that the occupied territories are hindering Georgia’s integration into NATO is being spread in various forms by the Kremlin media and actors. It is often argued that this will eventually force Georgia to give up on its occupied territories, or NATO will instruct Georgia to do so.
It should be noted that the disinformation is primarily based on a misinterpretation of NATO Article 5. In fact, Article 5 deals with collective defense and does not address territorial issues. In Article 5, NATO member states express their readiness that an attack on any of their members would be perceived as an attack on each member state of the Alliance.
Article 5 of NATO: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently.”
In fact, NATO does not view the occupied territories as circumstances that would prevent Georgia from becoming a member of the alliance. As Article 5 on collective defense raises questions about the occupied territories and the dispute with Russia, Alliance leaders and various political actors are considering an integration plan in which Article 5 would be temporarily not extended to the occupied territories of Georgia. Consequently, Article 5 would cover Abkhazia and Samachablo only after the restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
Notable in this regard is the example of Germany, which became a member of NATO in 1955; However, Article 4 did not extend to East Germany until Germany reunited in 1991.
For more information on the topic, see:
- The Statement that Georgia Will Join NATO at the Expense of its Territorial Integrity is False
- Manipulations about Rasmussen’s Remarks on Georgia’s NATO Membership
- Manipulations about the West Allegedly Offering Georgia NATO Membership Excluding Occupied Territories
- Rasmussen’s Statement about the Occupied Territories of Georgia Disseminated Manipulatively by Pro-Kremlin Actors
- Ria Novosti’s Fake Quotes and Georgian Media Manipulations on Rasmussen’s Remarks
- Separatist Regimes, “Patriots “, and Russian Experts Similarly Understand Rasmussen’s Initiative
- Irma Inashvili’s Manipulation Regarding NATO-Russia Relations
- Six Messages Against NATO – From “Newsfront” to “Alt-Info”
The myth about Ukrainians and Russians being the same people
The Kremlin media have actively disseminated the disinformation about Ukrainians and Russians being one people for years, and events in Ukraine have made this manipulative claim even more relevant.
In order to show that Russian history has always originated from Kyiv, the term “Kiev Russia” is used in a modified and manipulative way, resulting in Ukrainians being often referred to as little Russians. In fact, the political entity created in the 10th century was not called “Kiev Russia,” but “Kievan Rus“, and the people living there were Slavs.
At the same time, there was a trade settlement in the bordering region, Moscow, which was lagging behind the Kiev Russians in terms of development and civilization. The area was inhabited not by Slavic but by Sino-Hungarian tribes. This area was referred to as Moscow until the 17th century.
In the 13th century, the Mongol expansion changed the culture of Moscow significantly, and the then Finno-Ugric culture merged with that of the Mongols. It is noteworthy that the geographical objects that exist in those areas to date have not Slavic but Mongolian names.
As early as the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, when the foundations of the Russian Empire emerged, it was necessary for the empire to have a solid historical foundation so that no one could doubt its glory and power. Notably, Peter the First made a significant contribution in this regard, by whose order all the chronicles, chronographs, archives and ecclesiastical documents of the peoples conquered in 1701 were destroyed.
On October 22nd, 1721, Moscow declared itself the Russian Empire and all Muscovites as Russian. With this step, Moscow stole the name “Kievan Rus” and the historical name of the Ukrainians. This was the reason why the Ukrainians later were referred to as small Russians, and their original political unit ” Kievan Rus ” as the origin of Russia.
For more information on the topic, see the following article by “Myth Detector:”
- Bishop Spiridon’s Myth of “Older Brother” about “Kyivan Rus”
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