The sudden outbreak of violence in Kazakhstan has taken analysts and international observers by surprise. Now, the decision to deploy a regional peacekeeping force has become the latest major milestone for the post-Soviet era.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which joins the armed forces of six former republics of the USSR, including Kazakhstan, announced that it would send a peacekeeping force to help maintain order as unrest spread across the vast Central Asian nation.
The move represents a blurring of the line between internal and external processes – the reasons that the Kazakh government is teetering on the brink of collapse are domestic in nature, and are related to the prolonged and increasingly weird transfer of power after the almost three-decades-long rule of veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.
However, the street protests, which were sparked by fuel prices and have seen government buildings torched and troops surrender to demonstrators, have been immediately presented as an act of outside aggression on the part of foreign terrorist groups.
From now on, it seems, the enemy always comes from the outside, even if it is actually inside. That claim gives formal grounds to declare the country is under attack and call in the CSTO.
This was not the case in the past, when similar recurring events were seen frequently in Kyrgyzstan, nor in Armenia three and a half years ago.
Back then, the CSTO – Moscow mainly, but also the other members themselves – highlighted the internal nature of the unrest, saying there was no need for a foreign intervention.
These changes are not brought about by external influence.Foreign players have to react to them, intervene or threaten to intervene, as they did in Belarus, adapt and try to make it all work in their favor, but the final result depends on how mature and efficient a country’s new social and political systems are rather than on any foreign patrons.
This is the first time Russia is using an institution it controls to pursue its own political goals. Until now, it seemed that such structures were purely ornamental.
It’s clear that the CSTO peacekeepers deployed to Kazakhstan will be made up mainly of Russian troops, that guarantees an effective response.
Using the coalition brand gives Moscow more opportunities and additionally justifies the existence of this alliance. Time will tell whether any other CSTO member states will face a Kazakh scenario, but the precedent has been set.
With Russia-US talks on security issues around the corner, this is a timely reminder that Moscow can make swift and unorthodox military and political decisions to influence the events in its sphere of interests.
The larger this construct, the bigger the shouldered responsibility becomes, of course, including the responsibility for the developments in the countries where troubles are far from over.
Of course, Moscow would have to deal with any fallout from these troubles anyway, and it’s easier to do so proactively and through a variety of tools at hand.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Security News 2022.