by John J. Maresca 30 June 1995 IN THIS ISSUE OF TRANSITION, we focus on relations between Russia and the evolving European security structures, one of the principal issues facing the transatlantic community since the breakup of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The relationship has been strained by the central question of NATO’s eastward expansion. For many Westerners, this expansion seems necessary in order to ensure stability in Central and Eastern Europe; for the Russians, it is still viewed as threatening. Moscow’s response has been to suggest a more central role for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which the Soviet Union was a founding member. But Russia’s role in the OSCE has been ambiguous at best, and its vision of the organization’s future is unclear.
We have included articles on this nexus of issues by a number of thoughtful observers with a wide range of experience. Michael Mihalka, an analyst with OMRI, looks at Russian peacekeeping and the Russian view of the OSCE; Heather Hurlburt, the director of the Face to Face Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, examines Russia’s role in the OSCE; Pavel Baev, who heads the Section for Military-Political Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe and is currently working at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo on a NATO Democratic Institutions Fellowship, analyzes Russian attitudes toward Western institutions; and Piotr Switalski, a Polish member of the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, details the current activities of the OSCE.
Europe’s future security will depend in large measure on the ability of Moscow and its Western neighbors to establish a constructive relationship that will build confidence in both directions: Western confidence that Russia will not revert to the intimidating behavior of the past, and Russian confidence that its legitimate security needs and unique Eurasian role will be respected. This is a vast and many-faceted problem. Appearing in Transition soon will be Michael Mihalka’s analysis of NATO’s expansion as well as a survey of Russian attitudes toward the EU and NATO.
To give some historical perspective, we have also included excerpts from an unpublished memoir by Anatoly Kovalev, who was the chief Soviet negotiator of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and who later accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Mikhail Gorbachev. Kovalev’s memoir reminds us of how difficult it was to bridge the gap between Soviet and Western perceptions of security 20 years ago, when Moscow was still obsessed by secrecy. Relations have come a long way since that time, and we should perhaps recall this fact as we consider the problems of today and tomorrow.
– John J. Maresca, President, OMRI 3150-russia-and-europe-cooperation-or-mutual-suspicion