[Russia and the CSTO states will draw the same line in the sand as the Saudis and the Syrians. The Western insurrections are forcing this solution upon them. It is the only workable defense to the cruel American path of democratic-revolution, financed from abroad and abetted by American/NATO military forces. In order to prevent widespread decimation of the territories to be protected, Russia and friends have signaled that they are prepared to accept limited military actions to quell insurgencies. Look for the Western push to take place in Fergana Valley, with the West backing either the Uzbek or Tajik govts.]
Russia and six former Soviet states plan to bolster their political, law-enforcement and military alliance to protect each other from the kind of uprisings that toppled regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
“The events in North Africa opened our eyes to many things,” Nikolai Bordyuzha, general secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said in an interview in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, Sept. 3. “We must reflect on what happened there and develop means of defense.”
The protests this year against authoritarian rulers unseated governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and sparked unrest in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions on nations such as Belarus where opposition activists have been imprisoned.
Russia is seeking to bolster its influence in the former Soviet Union, opposing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s expansion into eastern Europe and vying with the U.S. and Europe for central Asian oil and gas.
The alliance of former Soviet states agreed to create “a mechanism to assist the legitimately elected leadership of a country to protect constitutional order,” according to Bordyuzha. The cooperation may involve political, law- enforcement or military support, he said.
The group, which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus andArmenia, agreed last year to set up peacekeeping units and re-equip a rapid-reaction force. Next, it will target potential uprisings from within the group, particularly after foreign troops carried out strikes against forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on the basis of a United Nations resolution, according to Bordyuzha.
“The whole crisis-response system that was improved a year ago is focused on avoiding threats to security and stability,” he said. “First and foremost, that’s internal problems.”
Former Soviet states, most of which make up the Commonwealth of Independent States, have been criticized for curbing democratic freedoms since the fall of communism.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Belarus July 5 to free anti-government protesters detained during protests. The EU imposed sanctions against the nation in June, freezing assets of government officials and setting restrictions on the sale of arms.
President Aleksandr Lukashenko, whose regime was described by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2005 as “the last dictatorship in Europe,” has been in power since 1994.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in power for two decades in the former Soviet Union’s second- biggest energy producer, won re-election in April with 95.5 percent of the vote. The OSCE said the ballot was characterized by a lack of opposition candidates and political debate that made it “non-competitive.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has criticized Europe’s election watchdog, which refused to monitor Russia’s presidential vote in 2008, for “dual standards” and applying “a very politicized approach to the election preparation.”
Russia will hold parliamentary polls in December, followed by a presidential ballot in March.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin risks unleashing “destructive” forces if the authorities stoke popular anger by rigging nationwide elections, the Center for Strategic Studies, a research group that advises the government, said in March.
Every country has the infrastructure necessary to destabilize the political situation, Bordyuzha said, citing foreign-controlled media, non-governmental organizations and professional revolutionaries as examples.
“If you can harness this potential, you can influence the situation in any country,” he said. “Even in the most prosperous country there is a large group of people that is unhappy about something. You just need to use that potential.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at email@example.com