In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section NATO, Europe, and Russia: Security Issues and the Border Regions

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • NATO, Russia, and Eastern European Relations
  • European Union Neighborhood Policy
  • The Baltic Region (with Kaliningrad)
  • Central and Southeastern Europe
  • Security in the Balkans
  • Turkey
  • The Black Sea
  • The Caucasus

International Relations NATO, Europe, and Russia: Security Issues and the Border Regions
Hall Gardner
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 June 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 June 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0162


The enlargements of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) membership since the late 1990s have had a significant impact on political security issues in the differing border regions of Europe, from the Baltics, to central and eastern Europe, to Turkey and the Black Sea/Caucasus—and most crucially, upon Russia itself. Following two waves of NATO enlargement in 1997 (Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary) and in 2004 (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), Albania and Croatia joined NATO in the third wave of post–Cold War enlargement in 2009. Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina received Membership Action Plans, which can open the door to NATO membership, while Cyprus and Macedonia have thus far been stalled from accession by Turkey and Greece, respectively. Both Ukraine and Georgia have been promised the possibility of NATO membership. In the meantime, the formerly neutral states of Austria, Sweden, and Finland (which directly borders Russia) acceded to the European Union in January 1995. By May 2004, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, plus Malta and Greek (but not Turkish) Cyprus, joined the EU in a “big bang.” Romania and Bulgaria then joined in January 2007; Croatia is to join the EU by 2013. Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkey remain official EU candidate states, while Albania and Serbia have both applied for membership. For its part, Moscow has sent mixed signals in response to the NATO-EU “double enlargement” and to the post–Cold War transformation in the regional (and global) geopolitical “equilibrium.” This post–Cold War transformation has been accompanied by wars in the Caucasus following Soviet collapse, resulting in the “frozen conflicts,” the 1990–1995 wars in ex-Yugoslavia, followed by the 1998 war “over” Kosovo, and then the August 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict. In the process, Russia has thus far continued to oppose promises of full NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine (which Kiev under the leadership of Viktor Yanukovych has thus far ruled out). Concurrently, Russia itself has sent conflicting signals as to whether it sees European Union enlargement as more positive or negative in terms of its national security interests. The EU’s “Eastern Partnership” outreach to former Soviet-bloc states, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, has likewise resulted in mixed reactions in Moscow. The resources selected consequently seek to provide background for NATO, European, and Russian geostrategic and security interaction in the bordering regions of the Baltic, central Europe, and Black Sea/Caucasus since the late 1990s.

General Overviews

These readings look primarily at the geopolitical and security relations between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Europe, and Russia as a whole and seek to analyze how NATO-European Union (EU)-Russian relationships and interactions impact central and eastern Europe in general. Wolchik and Curry 2011 provides a general introduction and overview of geostrategic, political-economic, and sociocultural relationships of the entire region from a European Union perspective, as does Dannreuther 2004. Blank 2006 focuses primarily on the NATO-Russian relationship, as does Gardner 1997, Goldgeier 2010, and Smith 2006. Casarini and Musu 2007 provides an overview of European Union enlargement and the EU neighborhood policy. Lieven and Trenin 2003 looks at NATO and EU enlargement from the perspective of former Soviet-bloc states. Wolchik and Curry 2011 provides an up-to-date introductory text, while Alcaro and Jones 2011 offers an up-to-date text on European security concerns.

  • Alcaro, Riccardo, and Erik Jones, eds. European Security and the Future of Transatlantic Relations. Rome: Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2011.

    An up-to-date study of NATO-EU-Russian security relations dealing with arms control, ballistic missile defense, and global transatlantic relations.

  • Blank, Stephen J. The NATO-Russia Partnership: A Marriage of Convenience or a Troubled Relationship? Carlisle, PA: US Army War College, 2006.

    Seeks to analyze the reasons for Russia’s growing ambivalence toward NATO and the apparently burgeoning sense of NATO-Russian estrangement. Available online for free download.

  • Casarini, Nicola, and Costanza Musu, eds. European Foreign Policy in an Evolving International System: The Road towards Convergence. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230593145

    Experts analyze the EU in the international system; the EU and the major powers; the EU and the management of conflicts in the near abroad; the EU’s regional policies, including the European Neighborhood Policy; EU foreign policy toward the Balkans and the Baltic Sea Area; and EU relations with NATO and with Russia.

  • Dannreuther, Roland, ed. European Union Foreign and Security Policy: Towards a Neighbourhood Strategy. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2004.

    Contributors examine differing dimensions of Europe’s changing neighborhood: east-central Europe, Turkey, southeastern Europe, former Soviet countries, the Black Sea and Caucasus, north Africa, the Middle East, as well as transatlantic relations.

  • Gardner, Hall. Dangerous Crossroads: Europe, Russia, and the Future of NATO. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997.

    Examines the relations between NATO, the European Union, Russia, and eastern Europe in the aftermath of Soviet collapse, from the perspective of American strategy and US Congressional interests. Focuses on ex-Yugoslavia as a testing ground for US-European-Russian cooperative-collective security.

  • Goldgeier, James M. The Future of NATO Council of Europe. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2010.

    Clear and well-balanced monograph analyzes contemporary NATO strategy and argues that the ability of NATO and the United States to collaborate with Russia will depend heavily on how Russia understands the “reset” of relations sought by the Obama administration.

  • Lieven, Anatol, and Dmitriĭ Trenin. Ambivalent Neighbors: The EU, NATO and the Price of Membership. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003.

    One of the few critical analyses of NATO and EU enlargement written both from the perspective of Western institutions as well as from the point of view of former Communist countries. Chapters cover NATO, EU, and Russian relations with Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states, Kaliningrad, Romania, and Moldova, in addition to Russian views on NATO and the EU vis-à-vis the multiple peripheries of a divided West.

  • Smith, Martin A. Russia and NATO since 1991: From Cold War through Cold Peace to Partnership? New York: Routledge, 2006.

    Book investigates the nature and substance of the complex NATO-Russia relationship since 1991 and analyzes the impact of the Kosovo crisis, September 11, and the Iraq war and questions whether the creation of the NATO-Russia Council in 2001 can lead to a new partnership.

  • Wolchik, Sharon L., and Jane L. Curry, eds. Central and East European Politics: From Communism to Democracy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.

    Experts provide a general analysis of the social, political, and security transformations taking place throughout central and eastern Europe. Issues include the socioeconomic ramifications of economic transition, political reforms, the role of women, and questions concerning ethnicity and nationalism as well as EU and NATO expansion.

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