1954 USSR proposed to join NATO and got rejected. 1991 one of Yeltsin's long term goals was to join NATO. 2001 Putin asked Bill Clinton if Russia could join NATO and his response was "never mind". So why was USSR/Russia never permitted to join NATO? What would be downsides of them joining NATO?

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    Welcome to History:SE. What has your research shown you so far? Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 19:56
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    Maxim: What do you think was (is) NATO's purpose? Incidentally, Bill Clinton stopped to be a US president in January of 2001 and Stalin could not have asked anybody about anything while dead (even if not, technically speaking buried). Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 20:02
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    Please revise to remove factual errors.
    – MCW
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 20:18
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    Please revise with sources. NATO was formed to oppose Soviet block; in 1954 there was no nation "Russia". Too many suspicious assertions with no evidence.
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 0:01
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    I think much of what you are looking for can be found here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Also, if you google 'Russia / Soviet Union joining NATO you'll find quite a few hits. Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


This is really a question? NATO came into existence BECAUSE of the USSR. Since the USSR was seen as an aggressor in the post-WW2, bases on their behavior in Eastern Europe, some Western European and North American countries saw the need for a defense pact. The USSR applying for membership in 1954 is nonsensical as by then they had created the Warsaw pact (1951) as a reaction to that same NATO. This is basic history stuff - every schoolkid gets this in highschool.

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    The purpose of NATO: "To keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down." en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hastings_Ismay Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 0:30
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    Warsaw Pact: 1955-1991, RIP. Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 1:37
  • My bad - it was indeed 1955, not 1951. But that does not diminish that it would be nonsensical to admit the USSR into a pact that was intended against them anyway.
    – Mare Gaea
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:21
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    It would be nice if this answer could be edited to fit more within our Be Nice policy.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 14:12
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    @MareGaea Actually, USSR did apply for NATO membership - because the stated reason for NATO founding was the preservation of peace in Europe, not containitg the USSR. When the application was declined - it confirmed the goal of the pact for Soviets. Source Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 3:37

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