Dmitry Rogozin is Russia’s permanent representative to NATO. The western media often artificially juxtapose Europe and Russia as completely distinct civilisations with manifestly dissimilar values. This results in mutual suspicion and speculation that each pole of the European continent is following a ‘special path’. This vision is, at best, a profound delusion and is blind to history. Russia is and always will be a European nation, representing the eastern vector of Europe’s political and cultural development. Since European civilisation split into the Roman and Byzantine empires, there has been a form of rivalry between Europe’s east and west, a rivalry that now manifests itself in Russia’s relations with the EU and NATO. Nonetheless, Russia and the EU are two ends of a thread that binds together the entire European continent. Today, the identity of the west is being challenged by colossal cultural and spiritual pressure from the south. Nations conquered in the past are now invading Europe, changing dramatically not only its external but also its inner world. Europe can no longer assimilate huge inflows of alien cultures. Misinterpreting the sage principle of ‘tolerance’, the west has abandoned the fight to preserve values inherent in European civilisation. Instead of instilling European culture in their new compatriots, the west’s elites have concealed the problems in closed communities. This cowardly escape from the realities of globalisation will lead to the demise of Europe and its culture. Western elites have sought to substitute the process of globalisation with plans of salvation for European civilisation. But new projects, such as NATO’s enlargement to the east and the Eastern Partnership, pose a greater threat to Europe than if the west took no action at all. The wider that NATO’s and the EU’s areas of responsibility become, the weaker they become. Taking up the problems and disputes of Europe’s eastern half is wearing out its spirit as a civilisation. Whether Brussels likes it or not, Russia is becoming the centre of the European tradition. It is steadily imparting European culture to eastern territories. José Manuel Barroso and Javier Solana, who in May visited the grand European city of Khabarovsk in the Russian far east, could see for themselves how outdated is Charles de Gaulle’s slogan of a “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals”. The Russians have expanded Europe to the shores of Alaska and the Kurile Islands. Whatever Russia’s developmental problems, they are insignificant compared to the threat to the survival of European civilisation. The west may be procuring eastern European countries for itself, but, in a genuine cultural and spiritual sense, western Europe is shrinking rather than growing. Thus, the paradox today is that Europe’s western half is shrivelling, while its eastern half is expanding. Russia is now Europe’s spiritual guardian, as Byzantinum prolonged the ‘cause of Rome’ for a millennium after Rome collapsed under the onslaught of barbarians. The writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky argued that, for Russians, Europe is a ‘second fatherland’. Fear of the new Russia is simply unjustified. Russia is the west’s most natural and reliable ally. The sooner the west realises that, the greater the chance of speaking of our common European fate not just in the past tense. It is in Russia-NATO relations that Russia’s relations with the west are most strikingly revealed. If we deepen Russia-NATO co-operation, build up trust and crystallise a ‘common cause’, we can succeed in building a united Europe. Russia does not wish to join NATO. It does not wish to ‘dissolve the alliance’. NATO and Russia will maintain different approaches – but we should learn to defend both European approaches. That is best done by concerted action along the perimeters of both Europes. With that goal in mind, Russia is ready to restore relations with the alliance when Russian and NATO foreign ministers meet in Corfu on 27 June. It is only through understanding Europe’s political processes in their historical context that we can forge a truly secure future for all countries from the Atlantic to the European city of Khabarovsk.