Abstract. Following the events of 1991, Russia established either bilateral or multilateral relations with most of the independent states that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In each individual case, these relations were characterized by a specific set of advantages and disadvantages. The article explores the evolution of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) through the lens of this fundamental duality. This overview in no way claims to be a complete or exhaustive study on the subject. However, its relevance is supported by the fact it moves beyond the purely descriptive approach which still dominates the study of the CSTO and the crisis that has gripped the organization. There is a demand for a clearer structural and theoretical framework explaining the difficulties Russia has faced in promoting its integration efforts in the post-Soviet space. The undeniable advantage of the bilateral approach is its institutional simplicity. In a multilateral system or a block of states, it is far more difficult to coordinate the interests of every individual nation, especially if they maintain membership in a number of integration groups at the global or regional level. One of the strengths of the multilateral format, which involves a stricter adherence to collective obligations, is that it serves as a structural framework for major integration projects that can have a significant positive effect on the international standing of those who initiate them. The author concludes that in 2002–2008, during the early period of CSTO’s existence, cooperation was predominantly multilateral in nature, with the participating countries – those representing the Central Asian core of the organization – rallying around Moscow, unified by the commonly perceived threats generated by the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. However, even at this early stage, there were signs within the CSTO foreshadowing a shift from multilateral military-political cooperation to a more basic format – that of a collection of bilateral ties between Russia and its allies. The past 20 years of Russia’s relations with its neighbors have demonstrated that the historical momentum for convergence is, in fact, not strong enough to offset the centrifugal forces pulling nations away from one another.
Keywords: foreign policy, Central Asia, strategy, CSTO, Russia, CIS, military-technical cooperation, USA, Afghanistan
- Troitskii E.F., Zinov’ev V.P. Organizatsiya dogovora o kollektivnoi bezopasnosti: stanovlenie, evolyutsiya i krizis voenno-politicheskogo soyuza [The Collective Security Treaty Organisation: Emergence, Evolution and Crisis of the Military-Political Alliance]. Rusin, 2018, no. 54, pp. 335-351. DOI: 10.17223/18572685/54/20
- Baev P. The CSTO: Military Dimensions of the Russian Reintegration Effort. Putin`s Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Discontents. Starr S.F., Cornell S.E., eds. Washington, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program. A Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center, 2014, pp. 40-48.
- Borkoeva J. Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Limitations of Russia`s Influence over the Other CSTO Member States. A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Muster of Art in the Department of Eurasian Studies, Ankara, August, 2011. 112 p.
- Saat J.H. The Collective Security Treaty Organization. Conflict Studies Research Centre. Central Asian Series 05/09, February. Camberley, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, 2005. 25 p.
- Olcott M.B. Vtoroi shans Tsentral’noi Azii [Central Asia’s Second Chance]. Moscow, Washington, D.C., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005. 487 p.
- The Military Balance. The Annual Assessment of Global Military Capabilities and Defence Economics. IISS. The International Institute for Strategic Studies. London, Routledge, 2019. 504 p.
- Dzhordzhevich A. Radary na Tashkent. Uzbekistan perevooruzhaet svoyu armiyu za schet Rossii [Radars on Tashkent. Uzbekistan is Rearming its Army at the Expense of Russia]. Novaya gazeta, 10.07.2019. Available at: https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/07/08/81169-radary-na-tashkent (accessed 05.06.2020).
- Norberg J. High Ambitions, Harsh Realities. Gradually Building the CSTO`s Capacity for Military Intervention in Crises. FOI-R‑3668-SE. Ministry of Defence. Defence Analysis. Stockholm, FOI, May, 2013. 60 p.
- Basharat’yan M. Voenno-politicheskaya bezopasnost’ Tsentral’noi Azii i rol’ ODKB v ee obespechenii [Military and political security of Central Asia and the role of the CSTO in ensuring it]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2012, no. 12, pp. 15-23. Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2012-12-15-23
- Semerikov V.A. Organizatsiya dogovora o kollektivnoi bezopasnosti – ot Dogovora k Organizatsii [Organization of the Collective Security Treaty – from the Treaty to the Organization]. The International Affairs, 2017, no. 6, pp. 26-43.
- Chufrin G. ODKB v novykh geopoliticheskikh realiyakh [The CSTO in the New Geopolitical Realities]. Russia and New States of Eurasia, 2009, no. 2 (3), pp. 5-13.
- Kolerov M.A. Novye koordinaty Srednei Azii: predislovie izdatelya [The New Coordinates of Middle Asia: Preface of the Publisher]. Srednyaya Aziya: Novye koordinaty [Middle Asia: New coordinates]. Moscow, Izdatel’skii dom REGNUM, 2013, pp. 5-11.
- De Haas M. The Collective Security Treaty Organization: On its Way to a “NATO of the East”? Central Asia Policy Brief, 2015, May, no. 26. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/12345796/150511_The_Collective_Security_Treaty_Organization_On_its_way_to_a_NATO_of_the_East_ (accessed 05.06.2020).
- Nikitina Yu.A. ODKB i ShOS kak modeli vzaimodeistviya v sfere regional’noi bezopasnosti [CSTO and SCO as models of interaction in the sphere of regional security]. Security Index, 2011, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 45-53.
- Shibutov M., Solozobov Y., Malyarchuk N. Kazakhstan-Russia Relations in Modern Era. International Institute for Global Analyses. Analytical Dossier, 2019, no. 3, pp. 40-46. Available at: https://www.vision-gt.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/AD_Kazakhstan-Russia_1.pdf (accessed 05.06.2020).
- Klein M. Russia`s Military Policy in the Post-Soviet Space. Aims, Instruments and Perspectives. Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. German Institute for International and Security Affairs. SWP Research Paper 1. Berlin, January 2019. 40 p. Available at: https://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/research_papers/2019RP01_kle.pdf (accessed 05.06.2020).
- Nikitina Yu.A. ODKB i NATO: problemy vzaimodeistviya [CSTO and NATO: problems of interaction]. MGIMO Review of International Relations, 2011, no. 6 (21), pp. 26-27.
Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX