Q+A (Part 2) Germany re-unification and limits to NATO expansion

(6) Did the US make verbal promises not to expand NATO around the time of the re-unification of Germany?

Yes, if you listen to Putin, in his February 2007 remarks to the Munich Security Conference:

And we have the right to ask: against whom is this [NATO] expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? … I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.” Where are these guarantees?

The General Secretary was right at the time. NATO’s final acceptance of other countries to the east of Germany did not begin until 1999. It was the policy of President Clinton in 1996 that the former Soviet republics should be admitted. In 1999, the newly emerged republics, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO. Links are given below.

This was good timing. In May 7, 2000, Vladimir Putin assumed office. He had been the prime minister from 1999 to 2000. The change was to consolidate authority and reverse the direction of both Gorbachev and Yeltsin into a more pluralistic governance.

The Soviet gained legal authority over of East Germany as a result of 1945 accords with the allied powers. As the USSR and our allies became nuclear powers, the situation in Germany only became worse. The period 1989 to 1994 was the great turning point. East Germany was in bad shape in 1989, both in terms of economics and politics. The 1989 election had been “flagrantly rigged” (Wikipedia): “In May 1989, local government elections were held. The public reaction was one of anger, when it was revealed that National Front candidates had won the majority of seats, with ‘only’ 98.5% of the vote. In other words, despite larger-than-ever numbers of voters rejecting the single candidate put forward by the Front (an exercise of defiance that carried great risk—including being sacked from a job or expelled from university), the vote had been flagrantly rigged.”

See Link: Wikipedia: History of East Germany Wikipedia: Enlargement of NATO

Re-unification of Germany is generally considered to have occurred on October 3, 1990, but American and Russian army units were still stationed in Berlin. The so called “2+4 treaty,” signed by the two Germanies, plus USSR, UK, France and the US went into effect on March 15, 1991. By July 1994, all Allied and Soviet ground troops had been withdrawn from Germany as required by the treaty.

Per Wikipedia (enlargement of NATO), “In 1990 the Soviet Union and NATO reached an agreement that a reunified Germany would join NATO under West Germany’s pre-existing membership, although restrictions were agreed to on the deployment of NATO troops on former East German territory. “

Also in the same Wikipedia article: There is no mention of NATO expansion into any other country in the September–October 1990 agreements on German reunification.[16] Whether or not Hans-Dietrich Genscher and James Baker, as representatives from NATO member states, informally committed to not enlarge NATO into other parts of Eastern Europe during these and contemporary negotiations with Soviet counterparts has long been a matter of dispute among historians and international relations scholars.[17][18][19][20][21] Baker delivered to Gorbachev the famous line ‘If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east’,[22] which many have interpreted as applying to all of Eastern Europe. However, Gorbachev himself has stated that this only pertained to East Germany and that the resulting agreement was upheld by NATO.[23][24] His main aide in these negotiations, Eduard Shevarnadze, likewise agreed that NATO never made any such commitment regarding other countries in Eastern Europe and that “the question never came up [in the talks on German reunification].”[25][26] That is presumably because all of the countries in question were still in the Warsaw Pact at the time and hosted large Soviet garrisons.[27][28] Nevertheless, both Gorbachev and his successor Yeltsin felt that NATO’s later acceptance of countries such as Poland violated the “spirit” of the earlier agreements.[23][29][30]

So, in 1990, NATO not only had no intentions of expanding into Eastern Europe, it also could not accept a country to join, when there were Soviet ground troops within its country.

Wikipedia: NATO Enlargement

Wikipedia: Germany Reunification

Background – A divided Germany

This answers the question, but raises another one. Why did it take so long? A divided Germany existed from 1945 to 1990. Having two super powers, with large military bases opposite each other, certainly put the perils of World War III far too close.

In 1952, re-unification of East and West Germany was proposed by Stalin under conditions of complete neutral Germany. The West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer rejected this and pursued a policy of re-arming West Germany to defend his country against potential Soviet aggression. If there was any doubt that Adenauer made the right choice, this was clearly erased when the Soviets under Brezhnev and other Warsaw Pact country attacked Czechoslovakia in 1968, removing Dubcek because he dared liberalize the country.

The contrast between East and West Germany continue to grow with a Germany with a repressive and economic stagnant government on the eastern side of Germany and a prosperous Germany on the western side, part of the European Union, NATO and the UN.

Many critical events contributed to re-unification. In East Germany, residents could listen on their radio to the translated speech on the July 12, 1987 by President Ronald Reagan in front of the Brandenburg gates in West Berlin:

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.
Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

See links: Wikipedia, German Re-unification Wikipedia, Enlargement of NATO

National archives: “Tear Down this wall – How Top Advisers Opposed Reagan’s Challenge to Gorbachev—But Lost” (A wonderful piece of history, and thank God, Reagan didn’t deliver this line in German)

Approximately 30,000 East Germans fled across the border to Hungary by September 1989. After this border was closed, East Germans fled into Czechoslovakia. By Gorbachev must have noticed. Vaclav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia in December 29, 1989 and was democratizing Czechoslovakia. So, November 9, 1989 the wall came down in Berlin and December 29, 1989, Havel was elected, and people were celebrating.

History- Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact was a collective defense treaty signed in May 1955 in Warsaw, Poland, and it was in reaction to the NATO defense alliance. The members were Albania, Bulgaria, Eastern Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. It was meant to counter-balance NATO, but there was never an engagement between the two alliances.

The Soviet Union ordered the Warsaw Pact nations to participate in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, because their leader, Alexander Dubcek was in the process of liberalizing the country (Prague Spring). He was replaced with a hard line communist by the Soviet Union. Only Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary sent troops. Romania and Albania did not support the invasion. East Germany supplied logistic support. Albania left the Pact in 1968. Romania became more aligned with Communist China during the 1960’s. East Germany left the Pact in 1990 as part of German re-unification.

Per the Wikipedia link:

On 25 February 1991, at a meeting in Hungary, the Pact was declared at an end by the defense and foreign ministers of the six remaining member states. The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the Collective Security Treaty Organization shortly thereafter. In the following 20 years, the Warsaw Pact countries outside the USSR each joined NATO (East Germany through its reunification with West Germany; and the Czech Republic and Slovakia as separate countries), as did the Baltic states which had been part of the Soviet Union.

Wikipedia: Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

Wikipedia: Warsaw Pact

So, the Warsaw Pact lost 3 of it’s original members by February 1991. The other member states did not see a danger from NATO. In fact, they saw the benefit of NATO to ensure their independence and movement to more liberal forms of government.

Wow, this was a lot to cover. The next question will be much easier, but still contentious today. Did NATO act too hasty in accepting the newly independent republics? In answering this question, I am reminded of a great quote, “There’s no rewind button on history.” No do-overs.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Q+A on Ukraine, Part 1: Was Russia threatened before the invasion by NATO? Are Ukraine and Russia really one country? and more questions.

“Justifying what can not be justified” as one article put it, is very apt. Yet Putin has spent considerable time and effort doing exactly this. It is an invasion. Ukraine is a real country, has been for 104 years.

“The first casualty in war is truth,” Hiriam Johnson, 1917. Putin has been creating myths about Russia and its neighbors for more than a decade. An autocrat doesn’t have to worry about being contradicted.

Under Putin, Russia adopted expansionary and interventionist policies. I will comment on this in Part II or perhaps Part III. I wrote about Russia’s puppet government in Chechnya. Belarus also has a highly repressive government, and the 2020 elections were considered rigged.

Multiple attacks are going on, beyond the tragic and brutal attacks of Ukraine. Once Putin felt he could send Russian soldiers to die for some big lies, like Ukraine is part of Russia, then truth really was under attack. Putin has directly attacked truth and interestingly history going back to the Stalin years.

This series of blogs provide a more solid background into the current war. There is a lot of disinformation on Ukraine and Russia. I want to present this information in a complete unbiased manner. There have been actions of NATO which has upset Putin, but nothing that justifies an invasion of Ukraine.

I applaud the actions of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who yesterday in Kyiv made it clear that Russia could end the war tomorrow just by leaving.

(1) Was Russia provoked in invading Ukraine? Did Russia feel threatened by Western European countries and the US to the extent that their only recourse was military action?

No. Certainly not by the conflict in Donbas region where Russia supported separatists. Certainly, it is Putin’s allegation, that Ukraine, backed by the US and NATO, provoked this war. Much of this goes back to concept of spheres of influence or security belt. Putin has also tried to justify the invasion based on the mistreatment of Russians in the Donbas region. Of course, the Ukrainian army was justified at suppressing violence caused by Russian supported separatists in the Donbas region. It is part of Putin’s interventionist policy to encourage pro-Russian groups in other countries. It also set up a pre-text to launch an invasion.

I will cover the history of NATO’s expansion in later in this series along with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. Yes, the expansion of NATO upset Putin. It is more correct to say that NATO’s acceptance of the former Soviet republics application to NATO angered Putin. This acceptance definitely put bounds into the countries that he could destabilize or control, without risking World War III.

The idea that Ukraine could pose any military threat to Russia is absurd, as Russia has a military force roughly 10 times larger than Ukraine. The allegations of biological weapons laboratories made at the UN Security Council was a total farce, as Russia could supply no evidence of their existence.

Wikipedia: Disinformation in the 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis

I suspect Wikipedia will have to keep adding to this list.

In a more broadly based justification, Putin has claimed that Ukraine correctly belongs to Russia and through a “military operation” they are simply taking back what was always part of Russia, which leads to the next question.

(2) What about Putin’s claim that historically Ukraine and Russia are “one people” – is this true?

“I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties formed for centuries and have their origins in the same sources, they have been hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people.”

Vladimir Putin, July 21, 2021

Yes, there was kinship. Ukrainians and Russians married, and had children. But, one people, no.

Much of Putin’s narrative is highly selective, and what he wants Russians to believe. Russian soldiers invading Ukraine were told they would be welcomed by most Ukrainians and any conflicts would be very brief. Ukrainians have died for their country. Historically, Ukraine emerged as a nation state since 1918. (see link)

Professor Lenoe, University of Rochester, NY Fact-Checking Putin’s Claim that Ukraine and Russia are “One People”

Yes, just after the Russian Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Federation of Republics. By their constitution in 1917, each republic had the right to secede from the Union. So you can thank comrade Lenin, for formally recognizing the Republic of Ukraine, as a self administrating nation state.

(3) Didn’t Putin made the claim in that Ukrainians greeted the Nazis as liberators in 1941, as they invaded the Soviet Union, demonstrating their pro-Nazi sentiments?

Putin likes to take cherry pick his facts, and often out of context. Ukraine was part of the USSR during World War II.

Per Brittanica link: The Nazi occupation of Soviet Ukraine

“Initially, the Germans were greeted as liberators by some of the Ukrainian populace. In Galicia especially, there had long been a widespread belief that Germany, as the avowed enemy of Poland and the U.S.S.R., was the Ukrainians’ natural ally for the attainment of their independence. The illusion was quickly shattered. The Germans were accompanied on their entry into Lviv on June 30 by members of OUN-B, who that same day proclaimed the restoration of Ukrainian statehood and the formation of a provisional state administration; within days the organizers of this action were arrested and interned in concentration camps (as were both Bandera and, later, Melnyk). Far from supporting Ukrainian political aspirations, the Nazis in August attached Galicia administratively to Poland, returned Bukovina to Romania, and gave Romania control over the area between the Dniester and Southern Buh rivers as the province of Transnistria, with its capital at Odessa. The remainder was organized as the Reichskommissariat Ukraine.

In the occupied territories, the Nazis sought to implement their “racial” policies. In the fall of 1941 began the mass killings of Jews that continued through 1944. An estimated 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews perished, and over 800,000 were displaced to the east; at Baby Yar (Ukrainian: Babyn Yar) in Kyiv, nearly 34,000 were killed in just the first two days of massacre in the city. The Nazis were aided at times by auxiliary forces recruited from the local population.”

Further, in this post, the treatment of Ukraine under Germany was devastating. “Ukraine’s human and material losses during World War II were enormous. Some 5 to 7 million people perished. Even with the return of evacuees from the east and the repatriation of forced labourers from Germany, Ukraine’s estimated population of 36 million in 1947 was almost 5 million less than before the war.”

(4) Didn’t Putin claimed the invasion is necessary for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. How does he justify this given that the Ukraine’s president is Jewish.

Yes, the claim is farcical (see link from Business Insider). See link: Putin tried to justify his war against Ukraine by calling for the ‘de-Nazification’ of a democratic country led by a Jewish president

President Zelenskiy said it best. “You are told we are Nazis, but how can a people support Nazis that gave more than 8 million lives for the victory over Nazism? How can I be a Nazi? Tell my grandpa, who went through the whole war in the infantry of the Soviet Army and died as a colonel in independent Ukraine.” Perfect!

(5) As long as we are going back into history, under Stalin, wasn’t there a massive famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933, as a result of the Soviet’s policy of collectivizing agriculture?

Yes. Whether this was intentional genocide is still under debate, as there were multiple factors to Hodomar. From Wikipedia: “According to Natalya Naumenko, collectivization in the Soviet Union and lack of favored industries were primary contributors to famine mortality (52% of excess deaths), and some evidence shows there was discrimination against ethnic Ukrainians and Germans.[67]”

Wikipedia: Holodomar


More will follow.

Stay tuned,

David Lord

Ramzan Kadyrov – Russia’s well paid puppet leader in Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov – Russia’s leader of Chechnya

The dissolution of the USSR from November 1988 to December 1991 created 15 recognized new republics, including Russia and Ukraine. The only way to understand modern Russian history, is to start in 1985, with the election of Mikhail Gorbachev and his efforts to liberalize the USSR including free speech and the right to assembly. From 1986 to 1987, open protests to the Soviet rule occurred in Latvia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and other Republics. Independence occurred first in the Balkan states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). By 1988, Gorbachev was losing control in both the Baltic and Caucasus states. January 22, 1989 is independence day for Ukraine.

Chechnya independence from Russia and a more liberal government has failed. Today, Ramzan Kadyrov is Russia’s puppet leader in Chechnya. He fought on the side of Russia in the second Chechen war. He is currently a Lieutenant General in Russia’s military. He has become rich, with the help of Russia. He owns a Lamborghini Reventón, one of only 20 sold. He supports Putin, and sends Chechen military whenever Putin wants – to Syria, Georgia and now Ukraine. Kadyrov stated that his troops were not injured in Ukraine. It is very likely that many have died in combat.

Per Wikipedia:

“Kadyrov rules the Chechen Republic through despotism and repression. Over the years, he has come under criticism from international organisations for a wide array of human rights abuses under his watch, with Human Rights Watch calling the forced disappearances and torture so widespread they constituted crimes against humanity. During his tenure, he has advocated restricting the public lives of women, and led anti-gay purges in the Republic. Ramzan Kadyrov has been frequently accused of involvement in the kidnapping, assassination, and torture of human rights activists, critics, and their relatives, within both Chechnya as well as in other regions of the Russian Federation and abroad, through the political use of police and military forces. He publicly denies these accusations.”

How Ramzan Kadyrov came to power

Chechnya sought independence along with the other republics while Gorbachev was in power, but things went horribly wrong. Chechnya declared its independence in November 1991. Perhaps a bit too late, as Boris Yeltsin took office in July 1991 and was against Chechnya’s independence.

Ramzan Kadyrov fought with his father Akhmad, during the first Chechen war (1994 to August 1996) against Russia. They won independence with the peace treaty in 1997, during the time Boris Yeltsin was President.

Following their victory, Chechnya had a weak government, which failed to unite the country. They lapsed into a failed state. Chechen warlords had been steadily increasing abductions and raids into other parts of the Northern Caucasus. In place of the devastated economic structure, kidnapping emerged as the principal source of income countrywide, procuring over $200 million during the three-year independence of Chechnya. (See Wikipedia link)

Russia invaded Chechnya for a second time in August 1999. This began a 10 year war for control of Chechnya, largely conducted during Putin’s regime. The initial phase ended quickly with the direct rule of Chechnya in May 2000. According to Wikipedia:

But by the autumn of 1999, Akhmad Kadyrov – a leading figure in the resistance movement – decided to abandon the insurgency and offered his support to the Russian federal forces in the Second Chechen War. Aslan Maskhadov immediately fired him from the Chief Mufti chair, although this decree was never accepted by Akhmad Kadyrov, who abdicated himself a few months later due to his civilian chairman career. According to James Hughes, Akhmad Kadyrov’s U-turn may have been motivated partly by personal ambition and partly by a concern with the desperate condition of the Chechen population, and was also driven by a fear of the growing sectarian Wahhabi influence on the insurgency.[6]

Akhmad became Putin’s administrative leader in Chechnya during the time of the insurgency. In May 2004, he was assassinated by Chechen Islamists. His son, Ramzan, was too young to be president. The Ukrainian Constitution required the president to be at least 30 years old. In 2007, Ramzan became president.

Ramzan’s Wealth, paid for by Putin

Foreign aid is usually given to governments to help its people. In the case of Chechnya, it goes straight into Ramzan Kadyrov’s pocket. According to Wikipedia:

“The Russian Federation funnels money to the Kadyrov family. The distinction between the Chechen government and Kadyrov are blurred.[23] In 2015, Chechnya received around 57 billion roubles a year from Moscow (about £550m).[23] The family gets money through the Akhmad Kadyrov Fund, a non-transparent foundation headed by Kadyrov’s mother, Ayman.[23]

In 2011, the foundation (which describes itself as a charity) funded Kadyrov’s lavish 35-year birthday party, which featured celebrities such as Seal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vanessa-Mae and Hilary Swank.[261][23] Journalists have been targeted by Kadyrov’s regime for reporting on his opulence.[262]

Kadyrov is a noted collector of sports cars. He owns a Lamborghini Reventón, one of only 20 sold.[263][264] He is known for his extensive collection of Chechen daggers.[265][266] When journalist Marianna Maksimovskaya asked him where the money for the live-televised celebration was coming from, he reportedly laughed and said “Allah gives it to us”, before adding: “I don’t know, it comes from somewhere.” Kadyrov has also been linked to the ownership of a private jet.

Kadyrov’s family members own luxurious real estate in Moscow. Two of his wives own property valued at $8 million in total, which is more than twice Kadyrov’s declared salary since 2008.”

In Support of Putin’s War

His latest claim is that he is in Ukraine, fighting along side of the Russians. See link from the Guardian. Of course, he just wants to impress Putin, rather than do what is in the best interest for Ukraine. He will undoubtedly be sending more Chechens to fight along side the Russian troops.

I can only sympathize with the poor Chechens who have been sent to fight in Ukraine on the side of the invading army.

See much more information in the links provided below.

Stay tuned,



Al Jazeera: Chechen leader, a Putin ally, says his forces deployed to Ukraine

Wikipedia: Ramzan Kadyrov

Wikipedia: Akhmad Kadyrov

The Guardian: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he is in Ukraine

How China sees the Russian invasion

It should be the story of an autocratic aggressor, who through military might, launches an unprovoked attack on its neighboring country. It should be the story of the brave Ukrainians, who were extremely outnumbered and had a tenth of the military budget of Russia, not only defended their country, but in some cases repelled Russians from captured cities. Well, at least for now.

Yet, neither Russian nor Chinese state media is broadcasting the truth. China is repeating the lies told by Putin and Russian officials.

Russia has been using the state owned media stations to justify the “military operation” as a means of re-uniting their country. To Putin, Ukraine never was entitled to be an independent country. Part of their justification is the NATO acceptance in the 1990’s of the break away Eastern European countries, which they consider part of their security zone. By their logic, NATO is the aggressor and the US, being the largest contributor to NATO, is part of this aggression.

Russia concocts ludicrous stories for their own television networks. The “biological laboratory” story was quickly dismissed by most US networks. Ukraine does not have secret bioweapon labs. It has public health or research biological laboratories, to help identify dangerous pathogens and prevent their spread. The US and other countries became rightfully concerned about the accidental escape of these pathogens when Russia began bombing Ukraine and helped Ukraine safely destroy their laboratory samples. Yes, the US was involved in biological laboratories, but in a very good and necessary way.

The Russians say that the Ukrainians were studying the use of migratory birds to spread disease to Russia. European and US scientists, involved in agriculture and public health studies, identify the possible pathways by which pathogens can travel long distance including migratory birds. Contaminating birds with diseases would likely do damage their agriculture or make their own populations sick.

Nevertheless, the Chinese passed along the Russian story of bioweapon labs discovered in the Ukraine to their own population. The war is called a military operation, not an invasion. Civilian casualties were not mentioned until recently.

In the UN, the Chinese ambassador did not vote with Russia, against a condemnation of the invasion. Instead he stayed on the sidelines. Unfortunately, for the populace, the Chinese have sided with Putin in the misinformation war. Autocrats, like Xi Jinping, support other leaders like Putin. Today Xi backs Putin, as he allows the brutal killing of civilians in Ukraine. Putin can turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by Xi, in the internment, rape and force labor of Uyghurs. Having control of the media is essential to autocrats.

China makes up 1.4 billion of the 7.9 billion inhabitants worldwide. India makes up another 1.4 billion for a total of 36% of the world’s population. India’s news media has condemned the war, but the government seems to turn a deaf ear to the suffering. I hope to add more on this topic. It is too big to ignore. See links.

Stay tuned,


Al Jazeera: Russia-Ukraine War: In Chinese Media, the US is the Villain

CNN: As the world reacts in horror to Bucha, China’s state media strikes a different tone

France 24: India tries diplomatic dance on Ukraine, but Russia is an awkward partner

Russia’s Advance from the North: Belarus to Kyiv

It is clear that Russia miscalculated and their invasion has bogged down. The devastation is tragic. In this blog, I hope to clarify the locations of attacks in the northern area of Ukraine. Russia’s invasion is a multi-prong attack from the north, east and south of Ukraine. The objective of invading northern Ukraine is to take Kyiv.

At the onset of the war, Russia entered Ukraine and took Chernobyl. Then the column of tanks got bogged down on the advance to Kyiv. I believe Ukraine has retaken Irpin. Now, Russia has evacuated Chernobyl. They claim that their next strategy will to concentrate on the east, namely the Dunbas region, but their military actions say otherwise. They want Kyiv, and this will be a very bloody fight.

The shelling of the city of Chernihiv located north of Kyiv tells you that bombs speak louder than words. They failed along the west side of the Dneiper river, so they are invading from the east side. They are also shelling Brovary, to clear a direct route into Kyiv.

In the east, Muriopol is critical to link up Dunbas region with Crimea. The Russians have bombed many civilian targets, including hospitals and schools. It is proper to charge Putin as a war criminal. To the south, their next target will be the port city of Odesa.

The brave Ukrainians have somehow slowed Russian advances, and in some cases, retaken cities to push back their advance. I am skeptical of a peace accord when Russia wants only to control Ukraine. I feel lasting peace between Russia and its neighboring countries will come when Putin and his comrades are removed from power.

Stay tuned,



Wikipedia: Kyiv