Crucially, in February 1990, James Baker, the US secretary of state, and Chancellor Kohl assured Gorbachev that Nato wouldn’t expand eastwards, certainly not towards the Soviet frontiers. But Gorbachev failed to make them write it down and Bush later told Kohl that he and Baker had gone too far. ‘To hell with that! We prevailed. They didn’t. We can’t let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.’ A few years later, by 2004, all the ex-Warsaw Pact nations, including the Baltic republics and Poland, had been brought into Nato. After their triumphant experience with Gorbachev, Western leaders reckoned that they could get away with it. But the ‘broken promise’ grievance smoulders under Putin’s European policy to this day. Most Russians, whatever their view of Putin’s autocracy, still look on Nato’s surge up to their borders as the treacherous breach of an international agreement.