On November 29, the Valdai Club hosted a discussion titled “Relations Between Russia and NATO: A Grand Finale or To Be Continued?” Alexander Grushko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation was among the participants.
In November 2021, Russia suspended the activity of its permanent mission to NATO in response to the unjustified expulsion of the Russian mission’s personnel. According to the statements of the Russian Foreign Ministry, at the moment Russia does not maintain contacts with the NATO Secretariat. Relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance have consistently deteriorated over the past few years. Among the fundamental reasons for this deterioration are the expansion of NATO to the East, the growing imbalance of the potentials of Russia and NATO, the degradation of the arms control regime, and the development of NATO military infrastructure near the borders of Russia.
The North Atlantic Alliance itself is undergoing a transformation. The bloc’s mobilisation gained a second wind under the banner of anti-Russian sentiment. The degree of anti-Russian hysteria in the countries of Eastern Europe has failed to subside, and the alliance has demonstratively increased the intensity of aerial reconnaissance over the Black Sea. However, a number of targets, including defence spending mandates, remain unfulfilled. Attempts by the United States to deploy NATO against China have not yet met much enthusiasm among the allies.
Russia is also changing. Military reform has resulted in a compact and well-resourced military force. Russia is a world leader in the field of strategic and conventional weapons. NATO views Russia as a dangerous rival, capable of inflicting significant damage even without the use of nuclear forces.
How likely is the aggravation of relations between Russia and NATO and their transition to an open armed conflict? Could such a conflict be provoked by incidents in the air and at sea? Should we expect the development of a policy of double containment of Russia and China by NATO? Do Russia and NATO have areas of common interest? Is it possible to work on their promotion? Under what conditions will it be possible to resume the work of the Russian mission to NATO? These and other questions were answered by the participants of the discussion.
Stefanie Babst, Principal & Global Policy Advisor, Brooch Associates; Senior Associate Fellow, European Leadership Network
Thomas Graham, Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (USA)
Alexander Grushko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club
George Isley McNeill Robertson, NATO Secretary General (1999–2004)
Adam Thomson, UK Permanent Representative to NATO (2014–2016), Director of the European Leadership Network, a Pan-European Think Tank.
Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club.