Putin to meet with CSTO colleagues at anniversary summit in Moscow

16 May

The Russian capital will host a jubilee summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Monday. The meeting is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the signing of the treaty and the 20th anniversary of the association itself.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, leaders of all six nations currently in the organization, are expected to attend. CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas will also attend the meeting.

Leaders of the association will meet in person for the first time in a long time. Several previous summits, both regular and extraordinary, were held partially or entirely by video link because of the coronavirus situation.

The last fully face-to-face meeting took place even before the pandemic began, in November 2019, and was held in Bishkek.

Summit agenda

As noted earlier in the Kremlin press service, the summit is planned to discuss key issues of interaction within the CSTO, current international and regional problems, as well as measures to further improve the system of collective security.

According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the event may also touch on the topic of what is happening in Ukraine. "Although it will be an anniversary summit, of course there will be substantive discussions and exchange of views. And, of course, it is safe to assume that the Ukrainian issue will figure among others," the Kremlin spokesman pointed out.

Format features

Speaking about the format of the event, the press secretary of the president explained: "It will be a meeting of the leaders and their separate communication in the format of a working breakfast". Peskov specified that in addition to the general program, a number of bilateral meetings are planned.

In particular, a separate conversation between Putin and Lukashenko is planned. According to the Belarusian side, one of its main topics will be "the development of cooperation and joint work on import substitution.

The CSTO secretary-general and the prime minister of Armenia, currently presiding in the organization, are expected to make statements to the media following the summit.

It is also expected that a statement of the CSTO Collective Security Council in connection with the jubilee dates will be signed following the meeting.

Anniversary events

The Russian capital has also prepared externally to receive guests. For example, on April 29 on Tverskoy Boulevard a jubilee photo exhibition called "30 years of the Collective Security Treaty. CSTO - together we are strong!" is planed.

The exhibition includes photographs from the archives of the organization, as well as TASS, MIA "Russia Today", and personal collections of staff. They reflect the most important events in the CSTO format with the participation of heads of state and officials, as well as joint exercises of collective forces and special forces.

"The unique photographs depict the history of the formation and development of the CSTO, its journey from a military alliance aimed at repelling external aggression, to a multifunctional regional security organization, which provides security in the Eurasian space across the spectrum of contemporary challenges and threats," the press service explained.

From May 16 to 30, the exhibition will continue on Gogolevsky Boulevard. Another thematic exposition, prepared for the anniversary of the CSTO, is available on Zubovsky Boulevard.

The organization itself told us that the information campaign timed to the anniversary is held in all the CSTO member states. Thus, in the capitals of the CSTO countries, as well as in Almaty and St. Petersburg you can see thematic banners. In some cities, including Moscow and Minsk, information videos are shown on online monitors in subways and airports.


Commitment to the CSTO

Leaders of all member countries have repeatedly expressed their commitment to the CSTO format. The topic was especially widely discussed in January of this year: at that time mass disturbances were taking place in Kazakhstan, including attacks on police and military personnel. Tokayev then announced an attempted coup d'etat and appealed for help from the association.

At the following extraordinary summit, Putin stated that "the long-term painstaking work conducted within the framework of the CSTO for creation of an integral system of security of member countries <...> is yielding results". He noted that this is "not the first and far from the last attempt of outside interference into the domestic affairs" of the CSTO member states, but the authorities of these countries will not allow the situation to be rocked at home. The president assured that Russia "intends to continue giving top priority to strengthening its relations of strategic alliance with all CSTO member countries".

Later, in mid-February, Tokayev himself said that he did not regret the decision to call a peacekeeping contingent of the military bloc to Kazakhstan. He explained that the mission of these servicemen was only to protect the main strategic facilities of the republic. In mid-April, the press service of the defense ministry of Kazakhstan reported that a series of CSTO exercises were planned for this autumn.

Other leaders of the Six expressed their opinions on the role of the CSTO in ensuring security. Thus, last fall, during a joint meeting of the heads of the CSTO and the SCO, the president of Kyrgyzstan said that both organizations are "generally recognized tools to strengthen security and stability in the region".

At the end of April this year, users of the Kyrgyz segment of social networks began to actively discuss the possibility of the republic leaving the CSTO and joining NATO. The discussion became so widespread that the press secretary of the head of the Kyrgyz state, Erbol Sultanbaev, had to make a corresponding statement. He refuted the rumors circulating on this topic and called "to refrain from spreading false and provocative information.

Statements about the role of unification were also made from Minsk. Lukashenko also expressed the opinion that after the events of the past two years in Belarus and Kazakhstan, it was important to have a structure like the CSTO behind his back. According to him, the organization must necessarily monitor the situation in the region and act proactively to curb possible causes, leading to hybrid wars and color revolutions. Lukashenko deems it necessary to "raise the level of political interaction and coordination of positions in the international arena" within the CSTO framework.

Armenian chairmanship

This year Armenia is chairing the CSTO. Formally, this status was given to it by Tajikistan at the last regular session of the organization in September 2021. And at the end of this year it will go to Belarus.

Among the priorities of the presidency formulated by Yerevan are increasing the effectiveness of the CSTO, as well as issues of further development of the military component of the organization. At the same time, the main objectives remain traditional. These are strengthening of joint activity of the states in combating terrorism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking and migration security. And one more, new priority is the struggle against biological threats.

Generally speaking, the prime minister of Armenia has repeatedly pointed to Yerevan's interest in deepening relations with CSTO countries and improving crisis response mechanisms. At a meeting with Tokayev in late February, Pashinyan stressed that he welcomed the implementation of such CSTO mechanisms in connection with the events in Kazakhstan. However, he noted that they did not work during the escalation of Armenian-Azerbaijani clashes on the border.

The role of the CSTO was also emphasized at the April 19 meeting between Putin and Pashinyan in Moscow. Following the talks, the leaders signed a joint statement, one of which was devoted to the deepening of relations between Yerevan and Moscow within the framework of the association. According to the document the parties reiterated their readiness "to intensify efforts on building the capacities of collective security forces, including those of the CSTO peacekeeping forces, to improve crisis response mechanisms of the organization, to tighten coordination and to facilitate the expansion of partnership relations.

About the CSTO

CSTO is an international security organization which currently has six member states: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The Collective Security Treaty was signed on May 15, 1992, in Tashkent.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: official website of the President of the Russian Federation

Based on materials from TASS