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Round table "the CSTO: the present and future project"
Material posted: Publication date: 26-09-2012

In early September of this year, the Center organized a survey of experts to obtain an opinion survey on the present and future of the Organization of collective security Treaty. As a result, it was possible to obtain the opinion of representatives of the analytical community of the CIS countries, which helped to clarify a number of issues that have arisen with regard to the themes of the CSTO.

The experts suggested the following basis for discussion.

On may 15 of this year the CSTO celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Anniversary came out not so funny – the last time on the organization was more and more dark clouds of distrust and scepticism. It is understandable – created almost immediately after the collapse of the USSR, the organization has no clear strategic goals of its own development, however, as the political project of the CIS.

The main idea emerging was the desire to preserve whenever possible the system of location, and most importantly - the control system remains Armed Forces of the USSR.

In addition, the beginning of 90-ies was characterized by a fairly rapid event – the conflict shook many of the young independent States, and there was a need to create at least the impression of having a powerful military "fist".

But as time went on, the state strengthened in its independence, formed their own perception of foreign policy priorities and our own vision for the future of their country.

In new conditions the CSTO began to oppress some of its members. The main complaint expressed of Russia, and it consisted in the fact that Russia places little emphasis on development of the CSTO, poorly funded defense potential of the Organization's members, unlike NATO, which in recent years has been actively increasing its military-technical cooperation, including with countries-members of CSTO.

By the early twenty-first century, a critical mass of discontent led to the crisis in the CSTO. In 1999, a number of States refused to sign a new contract (without the involvement of the West) by creating a custom block with a clear anti-Russian orientation - GUAM.

A ray of light in the strategic vision for the future of the CSTO appeared in 2001 with the onset of the global counter-terrorism operations by the US and NATO. One of the most active regions in the Afghanistan – state directly bordering with the countries of the CSTO.

Russia, which supported the US in their imaginary (as it turned out, a decade later) the fight against terrorism, then made two strategic mistakes:

  • she made the US in a strategically significant for the region;
  • she has adopted the ideology of fighting "international terrorism" as the basis for further development of the CSTO.

Then, in 2001, it was impossible to predict, but today it is quite obvious that "salvation" Russia unable to conduct its own active policy in Central Asia, was in all sorts of preventing the arrival of the influence of other power centers, such as the USA and China. As for the ideology of terrorism and the ensuing idea of the fight against drug trafficking (very humane), it was very difficult to realize in the countries of Central Asia. As shown by subsequent events in some countries of the region, taking responsibility in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, Russia and the CSTO on the whole hostage situation: almost all the protests of the opposition, held in member countries of the Organization were given the status of the incumbent administration to terrorist and extremist activity that required the involvement of CSTO forces in the internal conflict. Same situation with drug trafficking: it is no secret that the illegal drug trade feeds many of the power elite, making the fight against this scourge weakly effective. A further nine years of existence the organization has been in years of stagnation of its development – training exercises, solved tactical problems, but the overall goal hasn't caught on.

Such ambiguous position in the strategic positioning of the CSTO has created a new crisis for the Organization, which the non-use to use "colleague" of NATO.

Representatives of NATO clearly stated that their experts "litmus test", an indicator of the degree of the internal state of the CSTO were the events in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010. NATO waited for a reaction to the events in this country, including by CSTO. And without waiting for her, took an internal decision of the Organization in crisis and need to take control. What exactly was done – financing of programmes of bilateral cooperation with CSTO countries (except Russia and Belarus) for subsequent years has increased significantly, even in conditions of global economic crisis. According to NATO experts, the future of the CSTO is the Central Asian "branch" of NATO from short-term to help block in opposition in Afghanistan, a medium-term goal - in the struggle with Iran, and long – term- with China.

In the summer of 2012 the situation in the CSTO began to deteriorate, negative inside and outside the organization began to resemble a growing snowball. The end came in June, when Uzbekistan announced the re-release from the Organization. This decision was taken after Moscow unilaterally began to make efforts to improve relations with NATO, in particular by providing at the disposal of NATO forces in Afghanistan logistics center in Ulyanovsk.

Summer this year was very active for the development of the political situation in the Central Asian region and the ongoing civil war in Syria and the threat of military aggression by the U.S. against Iran, as well as the activation of radical Islamic movements in the region, forced the leaders of the CSTO member States to take another look at how the Organization will behave in case if tomorrow the Syrian scenario will be implemented in their homes? Kyrgyzstan showed that the CSTO will remain on the sidelines.

In confirmation of this position can lead to Lukashenka's speech on the events in Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan. According to A. Lukashenko, the CSTO is something needed to respond to the situation in Tajikistan and the decision of Uzbekistan to suspend its membership in military-political bloc. However, in this case, as in the case of Kyrgyzstan, the position of the CSTO leadership was predictable - what is happening in Tajikistan, the processes relate to the internal life of the Republic, and does not require intervention of collective forces.

Thus, by the autumn of 2012 has all the prerequisites to fundamentally reconsider the viability of the CSTO in its current form and with its current development strategy, which has as its priorities to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.

The situation with the CSTO was expected – after the failure of the political project, which was CIS, was untenable and the military-political project of CSTO. In the new environment must be fundamentally different conditions of the Association, and to think really have something.

Recent developments in North Africa, the middle East and in Russia itself after the last elections showed that the technologies of information warfare, mind control, and the formation of protest movements – what is known in American military strategy under the term 4GW (fourth generation warfare) is being actively implemented in practice. It can be assumed that in future there will be no Iraq, no Afghanistan, and will only Libya and Syria – the West is increasingly prefer to fight someone else's hands.

So do the collective security Treaty organization to review the benchmarks of its strategic development and like a Phoenix be reborn in a new image, ready for confrontation nonlinear, asymmetrical threats of a new generation? Perhaps the most important question we ask our experts.

Proceedings of the roundtable are available on our website.


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