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The Collective Security Treaty Organization is Back

CSTO member countries' leaders pose during a photograph session at a summit meeting of the leaders of CSTO member states in the Kremlin, May 16, 2022. /CFP.

A meeting of all leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization was held in Moscow on 16 May. The meeting marked the 30th anniversary of the security agreement and the 20th anniversary of the organization’s life. They were attended by the heads of state of the member states: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Russia Vladimir Putin. But was it just a celebration or a promise of something new?

The Collective Security Treaty Organization is a security defense alliance that unites many of the former Soviet states. After the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in 1991, a major concern for Russia, in particular, was its continued influence in the now isolated, former territory. The CIS was the first step toward this but something more effective was needed, a security alliance would be formed when the newly established states would acquire a suitable national military force. The alliance was formed in 1992 in response to external threats. The agreement was signed in Tashkent with the participation of Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

The fourth article of the Treaty sums up the alliance`s main goal by stipulating that an aggression towards a member will immediately activate all the other members concerning necessary assistance, including a military one. A provision, this one, reminiscent of the equivalent article of the NATO treaty. A recent application of this provision took place during the January 2022 protests in Kazakhstan, when president Tokayev required the CSTO support to suppress what had been depicted as a terrorist threat.

The recent meeting in Moscow did not seem to be just a celebration.  This can be understood in the speech of Vladimir Putin where he made it clear that the Unipolar Order belongs to the past and has new divisions. The West has been blamed for a bitter struggle over the CSTO’s responsibilities, first and foremost a full-scale hybrid war against its members, particularly Russia and Belarus. Furthermore, NATO is described as a hypocritical alliance that covers its aggressive character behind a defensive, including neutral states such as Sweden and Finland.

An important element of the discourse is the reference to the motives of the well-known Nazis. According to the Russian president, the West, through NATO, is poisoning Ukraine by injecting strong doses of nationalism and Nazism, citing the strong wave of Russophobia in Europe, the first example being the city of Odessa. So the members of the CSTO need to form a more united coalition through greater political coordination.

Although the latter seems to be the main goal of the discourse on tackling the new augmented NATO wave, a fundamental question naturally arises and concerns whether these statements should be considered as truly politically limited, or whether they represent a soft one. Introducing a new military strategy. Whatever the choice, the scene may not remind us of a new version of the Cold War era.





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Tags: security Russia NATO CSTO


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