President Putin said after talks with President Bush in Sochi on April 6 that “technical enlargement” of NATO was a holdover of the Cold War when Russia was perceived as adversary.
He also suggested that one day NATO enlargement might not be perceived painfully in Russia, if the alliance managed to improve ties with Moscow.
“As far as NATO enlargement is concerned, we talked about it at length earlier today,” Putin said at a joint news conference with the U.S. President. “I reaffirmed Russia's position on this count. I believe that in order to improve relations with Russia it is necessary not to pull the former Soviet republics into political/military blocs, but to develop relations with Russia, itself. And then the actions of the bloc, on this or that issue, in a few years maybe will not be perceived so acutely in our country [Russia], as is the case today.”
“As far as enlargement is concerned, technical enlargement of NATO, I believe that this is a policy which is in conformity with former, old logic, when Russia was perceived as an adversary, which is no longer the case today. As Churchill said, if you can't change the subject it is a sign of radicalism.”