Home > Security, World Politics > Russia’s new “collective”… defence

Russia’s new “collective”… defence

[picapp src=”4/f/8/9/Medvedev_arrives_in_f98d.JPG?adImageId=6031793&imageId=6823882″ width=”234″ height=”169″ /] At the end of 2008 Russia restarted its collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Belarus, and Armenia. That is hardly any news, but more interestingly, last week the first training of the reaction force of the organization took place. While resurgent Russia is obviously trying to counterbalance NATO in the region and get strategic access to the energy-rich authoritarian Central Asia, CSTO also shows grave internal divisions.

Belarus and Uzbekistan did not take part in establishing the Collective Operation Reaction Force (CORF), while Uzbekistan also refused to accept Russian military bases on its territory. Obviously, the Russians tried to punch above their weight and too hastily attempted to return to the times of the Warsaw Treaty.

Still, the military exercises on 16th October in Kazakhstan were impressive – more than 7000 troops and 90 aircraft participated. Perhaps impressing was the only point of gathering such amount of hard power for a day-excercise. After all, the training was related to interrupting drug-trafficing from Afghanistan, intercepting horseriders and saving hostages. Why would you need even 1000 soldiers for this? The answer is simple – Russia keeps on trying to frustrate the US and NATO with all available means. Those who go further than the CSTO ambitions though, soon will realize that Russia at this point is hardly able to create anything other than just another ‘collective’.

  1. Nino Kereselidze
    October 25, 2009 at 22:26

    An alarming piece of criticae on “Collective”! I thought that Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was formed much earlier in October 2002 in Chisinau (1) which itself dates back to the Treaty on Collective Security of May 1992 (which many opted out to renew in 1999) (2). I don’t want to sound state-centric, but it has been so hypocritical that the CSTO Charter ensures to respect the UN principles of territorial integrity. Leaving that aside, I guess that Belarus and Uzbekistan did not accept the Russian military bases as they were not in badly need of $2 billion in loans to recover failing economy as Kyrgyzstan has been. Interestingly, the pretext of the exercises has been quite standard: “anti-terrorist” operations. If we view this “collective” through the “anti-terror” argument, then the CSTO seems to be just a positive complementary to the US military-logistical presence (Kellogg Brown & Root) through the South Caucasus to Afghanistan. Wouldn’t it be better to allocate funds spent on the display of 7,000 troops to the eradication of extreme poverty which the UNDP Kazakhstan website so carefully has aimed to accomplish, but with such a defence spending, I am afraid is less likely to do so.

    1. http://untreaty.un.org/unts/144078_158780/5/9/13289.pdf
    2. http://www.odkb.gov.ru/start/index_a.htm

  2. Nino Kereselidze
    February 20, 2010 at 02:39

    Just a quick follow-up, what about Kazakhstan OSCE 2010 chairmanship, is it compatible with the developments a year before?

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