The paper analyzes Russia’s perception of NATO since the beginning of its eastern enlargement. Russia’s reaction to the enlargement evolved from attempts to diffuse its potential damage through a limited cooperation to passive and then active policies of containment. The latter have resulted in a risky behavior with respect to the alliance and a concentration of Russian military on the Western border. Two factors can assist us in explaining Russia’s evolving perception of NATO from a potential partner to a renewed military threat — the historical experience of viewing the alliance, and theWest in general, as potentially threatening and the post-Cold war interaction with NATO that served to strengthen the historically developed perception. As of today, Russia has learned from its interaction with the alliance that NATO remains a principle threat to Russia’s national security and that through the alliance’s expansion the West seeks to exercise its cultural, economic, and political domination in Eurasia.

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