Former British defense Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, in 1995, proposed to invite Russia into NATO as an associate member. This became known from declassified materials of the National archives of the United Kingdom, reports The Telegraph.
The documents referred to the meeting of Rifkind with the then British Prime Minister John major at his country residence at Chequers. During the meeting, the Minister of defence said that if Russia does not engage in NATO, she can once again return to authoritarianism, and the West will miss the “great historic opportunity”.
“A possible solution would be the creation of a new category of associate member in NATO. This, however, would give Russia the formal status of NATO, would allow her to visit on the law of Ministerial and other meetings and to contribute to the progressive unification and harmonization of policy, doctrine, and practice”, – stated in the dossier.
According to the plan of Rifkind, the Russian Federation was not to become a full member of the Alliance as an associate member on it would not extend collective security guarantees, in accordance with the 5th article of the NATO Charter, it would not have the right of veto, and Russian representatives could participate in meetings of the international military staff of the organization.
British politician believed that such involvement in the activities of the Alliance would “make Russia a more normal European country.” The major reaction to the proposal is not given. It is noted that among the British elite then the idea has not found support. In particular, the Chancellor of the exchequer Kenneth Clarke had treated her with suspicion and said that such ideas are “absurd and should not be discussed by the government.”