Foreign Policy Watch: India-Russia

CSTO troops deployed in Kazakhstan


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CSTO

Mains level: Russia military moves in erstwhile USSR countries

A Moscow-led military alliance called Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) dispatched troops to help quell mounting unrest in Kazakhstan.

Ongoing situation in Kazakhstan

  • Long seen as one the most stable of the ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia, energy-rich Kazakhstan is facing its biggest crisis.
  • There are ongoing protests over rising fuel prices escalated into widespread unrest.
  • The nationwide protests are also signifying a wider, region-wide longing for political change.
  • Under increasing pressure, Kazakh President appealed to the Russia for CSTO army to be deployed in Kazakhstan.

Concerns over CTSO troop’s deployment

  • It is argued that domestic turmoil could be utilized by Russian nationalists for asserting their claims in Northern Kazakhstan.

What is CSTO?

  • The CSTO is a Russia-led military alliance of seven former Soviet states that was created in 2002.
  • Current CSTO members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.
  • Afghanistan and Serbia hold observer status in the CSTO.
  • Its purpose is to ensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.

Outlined functions of CSTO

  • Version of NATO: It has been described by political scientists as the Eurasian counterpart of NATO, which has 29 member states, while the CSTO has just six.
  • Arms trade and mutual defense: CSTO supports arms sales and manufacturing as well as military training and exercises, making the CSTO the most important multilateral defence organization in the former Soviet Union.
  • Non- proliferation of weapons:  CSTO also coordinates efforts in fighting the illegal circulation of weapons among member states and has developed law enforcement training for its members in pursuit of these aims.

What does CSTO membership provide?

  • Barring relations with NATO: While CSTO membership means that member states are barred from joining other military alliances, limiting, for example, their relationship with NATO.
  • Benefits in arms import from Russia: Its members receive discounts, subsidies, and other incentives to buy Russian arms, facilitating military cooperation.
  • Assurance against military conquest: In the CSTO, aggression against one signatory is perceived as aggression against all. It however remains unclear whether this feature works in practice.


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