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’.