Article

CSTO undergoes ‘baptism of fire’ in Kazakhstan

Written by The Frontier Post

Irina Alksnis

Russian paratroopers have begun to carry out a peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the near future, they will be joined by collea-gues from other countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CS-TO), in particular, Arme-nia, Belarus, Tajikistan.
It took about half a day from the moment the CSTO Collective Security Council made the appropriate decision to the appearance of peacekeepers in Kazakhstan. If yesterday, January 5, passed under the sign of a terrifying in its swiftness collapse of the situation in the republic and the apocalyptic forecasts of numerous experts, then the new day changed everything – and again the familiar leitmotif “Putin has outplayed everyone again.”
Experts in the region have yet to give a qualified assessment of the events in Kazakhstan, to understand their background and intricacies. But even without deep knowledge of local realities, several key points can be noted.
In general, events at first developed according to the already well-known scenario of color revolutions, according to numerous past examples: a people driven to the brink and striving for a decent life (the Ukrainian meme about “lace panties and the EU”, which has already become a classic, has been replaced by the local “we want to live like in Sweden and Norway “), took to the streets and called the authorities to account.
However, the speed of escalation and the lightning-fast transition to violence with the seizure of weapons, attacks on critical infrastructure elements (including the airport and medical facilities ), and beheadings of law enforcement officers gave a much higher level of aggression than usual in such situations, and at the same time the organization of militants. This is not just outrageous looting in the shadow of street riots, although the latter is also enough, of co-urse. The words of the Ka-zakh president about “terrorist gangs” do not even in the slightest look look an exaggeration. And this aut-omatically raises the question of the forces that fina-nce, train, and direct them.
And, finally, it is impossible to ignore an amazing coincidence: Kazakhstan flared up and found itself on the brink of state collapse a few days before Russia’s negotiations with NATO on security guarantees and the alliance’s refusal to move closer to our borders.
In general, it is not surprising that by the evening of January 5, gloomy, disappointed, and in some cases malevolent voices sounded en masse, stating that Russia simply had nothing to respond to the destabilization of its most important partners, allies and neighbors.
But it suddenly became clear that there is still something to answer. The effect was all the more impressive because it turned out to be the CSTO – the stillborn child of post-Soviet foreign policy construction. The Russian leadership has tried hard to breathe life into it for many years. And the process seemed to be going on, especially recently, the revitalization and activation of the organization have become noticeable. But the CSTO still evoked a predominantly dismissive or ironic reaction, since they saw it as an exclusively formal paper structure.
Well, in front of the eyes of the whole world, the C-STO is receiving the bapti-sm of fire. What is happening is all the more impressive, since we are talking about assistance to the most important country in the region, which is faced with a crisis that threatens no less than its statehood. At the same time, absolutely all post-Soviet countries, b-ut especially the Central A-sian region, of course, cannot but try on similar scenarios. And not to realize more and more clearly and distinctly that they are no-thing more than a bargaining chip in anti-Russian geopolitical arrangements. The puppeteers of the other side do not mind letting them go – and then they will be left alone with the hell that was happening yesterd-ay (and in some places continues today) on the streets of Kazakhstani cities.
But right now, events show that Kazakhstan is not left alone with the crisis. Yes, he will have to cope with the main challenge himself, but now there will be allies next to him who will cover their backs, guaranteeing the safety of strategic objects. This door is also open for other countries in the region.
Collective security in the post-Soviet space suddenly ceased to be a virtual concept, but turned into the most practical reality. By the way, at the talks next week in Brussels, our NA-TO partners, one must thi-nk, will also be happy to hear this.

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The Frontier Post