An article by Givi Somkhishvili titled “Foe, Rejoice! Nation, suffer!” was published on the webpage of Georgia and World on January 28, 2017. The author mentions in the article that NATO violated an agreement with Russia and “besieged it”.
Givi Somkhishvili: “NATO forgot all the previously existing agreements, made some ungrateful former socialist republics join it and besieged Russia as a cackle of hyenas besieges a dying lion. On the contrary, a dying lion is still a lion. Russia began to regain its health and showed its power to the world. NATO, on the other hand, remains a threat to the mankind and drains the countries embittered by it into the hell of nuclear war.”
The message that by being represented in Eastern Europe, NATO violated the 1997 agreement is a part of Russian narrative developed by Russian officials (i.e. Sergey Lavrov, Alexander Grushko) and Russian media outlets, including ria novosti, sputnik etc. In reality, if anyone violates the given agreement, it is Russia, as, according to the agreement, both parties commit to respect the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, NATO’s presence in the four countries of Eastern Europe is rotational and represents the “Substantial Combat Forces” envisaged by the agreement.
Real fact #1: NATO’s presence in the countries of Eastern Europe is rotational, which does not violate the principle of “Substantial Combat Forces” envisaged by the agreement
In 1997, Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security was signed between NATO and the Russian Federation, which has become the main argument against NATO for Russia in debates – claiming that by the increasing activities in Eastern Europe, the Alliance allegedly violates the agreement.
Actually, the Founding Act mentions that NATO “will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces”. It also mentions that such activities will be carried out “in the event of defence against a threat of aggression and missions in support of peace consistent with the United Nations Charter and the OSCE governing principles, as well as for exercises consistent with the adapted CFE Treaty.”
NATO’s four international combat groups located in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are rotational and do not represent alliance’s “Substantial Combat Forces”, meaning that their presence in Eastern Europe does not violate the 1997 agreement.
Real fact #2: Russia violated several conditionsof the agreement with NATO
NATO – Russia relations defined by the 1997 Act are based on seven principles, including:
- Refraining from the threat or use of force against each other as well as against any other state, its sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence in any manner inconsistent with the United Nations Charter and with the Declaration of Principles Guiding Relations Between Participating States contained in the Helsinki Final Act;
- Respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states and their inherent right to choose the means to ensure their own security, the inviolability of borders and peoples’ right of self-determination as enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE documents;
- Mutual transparency in creating and implementing defence policy and military doctrines;
By signing this document, Russia committed not to use force or any other method of threat neither against NATO members, nor against any other state. Russia violated the given principles as by the military intervention to Georgia in 2008, as by the illegal annexation of Crimea. Russia maintains military bases on the territories of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova against the will of the governments of these countries.
Real fact #3: NATO membership is based on a free will of countries
Countries of Central and Eastern Europe chose to become members of the Alliance based on their free will, in the light of democratic processes and transparency. On the contrary, membership of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact was enforced and was accompanied by a military occupation and a totalitarian regime.
Prepared by Sopo Gelava