Duma vice speaker on NATO expansion

NATO's expansion strategy was essentially wrong, State Duma Vice-Speaker Vladimir Lukin said here today. (The State Duma is Russia's lower parliamentary house.) Addressing an international conference "Does Russia Need NATO?", Lukin noted that NATO's expansion policy had entailed specific results, which were predicted by many Russian analysts, but which were under-estimated by Western experts.

On the one hand, NATO's fast-paced and extremely wide-ranging expansion has failed to change the situation inside the Alliance's zone of responsibility, Lukin told his audience. NATO claims that it has established a security infrastructure. But this is meaningless, Lukin continued. In his words, new member-countries faced no dangers whatsoever, even without NATO's expansion.

On the other hand, though, NATO's expansion policy has seriously complicated the relations inside the Alliance itself. Among other things, the decision-making process has become more complicated. NATO used to expand on a par with the European Union. Meanwhile, these two trends still remain to be balanced to the full, Lukin believes.

In Lukin's words, NATO has so far failed to find its place in the new conditions. NATO must get adapted to new conditions. This is quite desirable, and Russia's involvement may be of considerable importance in this context, Lukin said in conclusion.

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