Moscow, 2000: Russia and NATO, usually these two words don’t generally imply an alliance however back in 2000, the idea was floated.
Currently Vladimir Putin is being interviewed with American film maker Oliver Stone for a documentary on him and according to an excerpt of the interview the Russian President said that early on in his tenure as Russian President he floated that idea of Russia joining NATO.
The history of NATO was that is was established to order to counter the expansion of communism in eastern Europe and dampen the expansion of the USSR. Ten years later and after the fall of the Soviet Union, a Russian President considered the prospects of the old communist state joining the long term adversary.
The comment was made during a state visit by then US President Bill Clinton to Moscow; at the time Putin said to Clinton “Let’s consider an option that Russia might join NATO?” which was met with a warm reaction from the US President but not from the US delegation that was present. Putin hadn’t be opposed to Russia joining the alliance before the June 2000 visit.
Despite the interest in joining the alliance, the Russian President has criticised the alliance for expanding eastwards towards the Russian border and has described Russia under his leadership as seeking to improve its relationship or status quo with the United States however finding themselves frustrated by Washington’s ‘imperialist mentality’.
Time however will tell; the Russian President currently has an American President that is warm to improve relations however the two have yet to meet in person which could potentially happen in the near future.
Source: 17 UK Defence Journal