Central Asia is a
region with great geopolitical and geo-economic
significance. Although the war on terrorism brought the USA,
the EU, and NATO into Central Asia, after the 2005 Andijan
event, Russia has been resurgent in the region. This paper
analyses the Russian political-military strategies toward
the Central Asian states, focusing both on bilateral and
multilateral security cooperation. The strengthening of the
CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), especially
through the creation of the Rapid Reaction Forces, should
not be neglected in Europe. According to Russian officials’
speeches, the CSTO requires equal partnership with NATO in
Afghanistan. This would strengthen the importance of the
CSTO in Eurasia and would limit bilateral dialogue between
the former Soviet republics and EU or NATO.
Central Asia, Russia, CSTO, Rapid Reaction Forces, military
bases, EU, NATO.
Central Asia is
often described by a set of characteristics, from which
there are five of citical importance: (i) the post-1991
power vacuum in which a complex geopolitical game occurs,
first between Russia, China, India, the US, and the European
Union, as well as Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea,
Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and others; (ii) a
strategic area of energy resources; (iii) an important part
of the Islamic world in which, because of low living
standards, ethnic tensions and the oppressive nature of the
political regimes often create a fertile area for terrorism,
drugs and weapons trafficking, and organised crime; (iv) a
region at the crossroads of the great trade routes and
pipelines; and (v) a buffer zone between countries with
nuclear arms (or those developing the potential), e.g.
Russia, China, Iran, India, and Pakistan.
Having Russia as a
neighbour and the being landlocked has always limited the
Central Asian countries in choosing their partners for
cooperation. The deterioration of the security situation in
Afghanistan, the European Union’s energy dependence on Russia,
and the Russo-Georgian war have led to the perception that the
Central Asian states have much less room for manoeuvre than
other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) members, the
Russian influence being noticeable on political, military, and
economic levels. The strengthening of the Collective Security
Treaty Organisation (CSTO) is both a result of these processes
and an instrument to further enhance Russian supremacy in its
Toward Central Asia
dissolution of the Soviet Union, on December 26, 1991, Russia
tended to neglect its relations with the former Central Asian
republics. Its foreign policy seemed to have a pro-Western
orientation, and Central Asia occupied the second or even the
third place among Russia’s interests. But Russia became more
actively involved in Central Asia as a result of the civil war
in Tajikistan, especially because of the large Russian
minorities in the region.
In 1993, Moscow
decided to promote renewed “special relations” between Russia
and Central Asia. The Russian National Security Council
articulated the new policy in “Main Aspects of the Foreign
Policy Concept of the Russian Federation” (April 1993). The
document asserted that Russia could not leave Central Asia
without endangering its southern borders. Consequently, the
Russian control over CIS borders in Central Asia was a desirable
objective. Other priorities included: the Russian troops and
their military bases in the region; the development of economic
relations; Russia’s contribution to conflict prevention and
resolution through efficient peacekeeping mechanisms; and no
interference from third parties in Central Asian affairs.
Already in 1995 were
the public speeches of the Russian officials changing. They
insisted on pragmatic policies in Central Asia, taking into
account the contracts of the Western energy consortiums in the
CIS, as well as NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme. The
strengthening of Russia’s position in Central Asia was in part
made possible by then-Prime Minister Evgheni Primakov’s
initiatives, which promoted closer relations with Central Asia’s
neighbours – Iran, China, and India – in order to weaken
relations between the Central Asian states and the West; an
approximation process within the CIS through the Group of Four
(Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan); and the
settlement of Tajikistan’s civil war.
took the presidency in 1999 with the objective of Russia’s
reemergence as great power, following the model used by Prince
Aleksandr Gorchakov in the nineteenth century that was based on
internal reforms and flexible foreign policy.
Putin could develope a coherent and pragmatic foreign policy
with clear priorities and well-structured interests,
concentrating on Russia’s “near abroad.”
The new foreign
policy concept, from 28 June 2000, asserted that Russia’s
geopolitical role as one of the largest Eurasian powers came
with the responsibility of maintaining security in the world,
both at global and regional levels.
The first visits Putin made were to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
in May 2000, the states which had gone further in developing
political and economic relations with the West.
strategy went in two directions. First, his administration
looked to build a consistent strategy regarding the development
of political and economic relations with Central Asia. The
introduction of a customs union (1996) and the decision to allow
the free movement of citizens between several of the former
Soviet republics, which altogether resulted in the creation of
the EurAsEC (Eurasian Economic Community) in October 2000,
strengthened the inclination toward cooperation. Second, every
official statement emphasised the dangers of Islamic
fundamentalism and international terrorism, which took on a
special urgency after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.
Russia was thus able to receive further Central Asian support
for its military actions in Chechnya.
In 2003, President
Putin developed a new foreign policy concept. The policy
instruments became more diverse: support for and personal
relationships with local leaders, military cooperation,
investments in energy and infrastructure, scholarships for
attending Russian universities, and the huge influence over the
mass media of the region, whereby Russia became the most
important source for news in Central Asian countries.
Between 2005 and
2007, Putin spoke frequently of several issues, including the
requirement of treating Russia on the same level as the
developed countries, a multipolar world order, the rejection of
“exporting democracy,” the development of the CSTO, and Russia’s
right to retain “special interests” in the CIS. His Munich
speech of February 2007 abounded with criticism against the US
policies in this regard.
On March 27,
2007, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a
document about the revision of the foreign policy.
It stated that Russia’s most important achievement was its new
independent foreign policy.
It centred on the importance of the energy exports and the
economic recovery, the enhancement of the military power, the
West’s engagement in other regions of the world, and the
settlement of Chechnya conflict.
The document underscored the importance of the Single Economic
Space (SES), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO),
(SCO), and EurAsEC. The bilateral relations between Russia and
Central Asian states were described separately. Kazakhstan was
considered Russia’s most important strategic partner in Central
foreign policy concept of Russia from July 2008 emphasised the
bilateral relationship with Kazakhstan and the necessity to
develop the SES, CSTO and EurAsEC.
The new approach took on a more critical tone toward the US and
was followed by the first military intervention in a CIS member
state (Georgia) after the disintegration of the Soviet Union (7
In an interview
on August 31, 2008, President Dmitry Medvedev presented the
Russian foreign policy in five points: (i) Russia recognises the
primacy of the fundamental principles of international law; (ii)
the world should be multipolar; (iii) Russia does not want
confrontation with any other country, has no intention of
isolating itself, and will develop friendly relations with
Europe, the United States, and other countries as far as
possible; (iv) protecting Russian citizens, wherever they may
be, is an unquestionable priority, and Russia will respond to
any aggressive acts committed against them; and (v) Russia has
privileged interests in certain regions (former Soviet Union).
The Birth of the
Weber, international relations in the former Soviet Union are
distinct: the common Soviet past is influencing the present;
therefore, within the regional organisations dominated by
Russia, there are visible cooperation impulses and
In 1995, President
Boris Yeltsin asserted in the document “On Affirming the
Strategic Course of the Russian Federation with the Member
States of the Commonwealth of Independent States” that
Russia’s policies planned to form a single security space, but
also a defence alliance in the CIS. The initial objectives were
thus: a single security structure under Russia’s command, the
control of the Soviet army goods, Russian military units
stationed within the CIS, a common defence space, and an
integrated mechanism for conflict resolution on the territory of
the former Soviet Union.
Agreements and the Declaration of Almaty, from December 1991,
set the foundation for a common security policy. The civil war
in Tajikistan and the incapacity of the Central Asian countries
to preserve their security led to several agreements regarding
peacekeeping operations and conflict resolution. These documents
paved the way for the “Protocol on the Temporary Procedure for
the Formation and Use of Collective Peace-Keeping Forces in
Zones of Conflict between or within Member States of the CIS,”
and led to the Collective Security Treaty (CST), signed in
Tashkent on May 15, 1992, by the heads of state and government
of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and
The treaty was later joined by Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus.
Security Treaty sets up a defensive alliance, forbids joining
any military alliance or group of states against other members,
and considers that aggression against one member is aggression
against all. In spite of this, all CIS member states established
national military structures during and up to the end of 1992.
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan withdrew from the Collective
Security Treaty in 1999.
In order to enhance
the Treaty’s effectiveness, the heads of state ratified a number
of documents in May 2000 in Minsk. For example, the “Memorandum
on Increasing the Effectiveness of the CST and its Ability to
Adapt to the Present Day Geopolitical Situation” and “A Model
for a Regional Security System” both promoted the fight against
terrorism and the need to build rapid deployment peacekeeping
forces. The Council on Collective Security, one of the
high-ranking bodies of the treaty, also decided to define three
distinct security regions: European, Caucasian, and Central
The Bishkek meeting
in October 2000 decided to establish a collective security force
within the subsequent five years. Therefore, in Yerevan (May
2001), the CIS members created a Collective Rapid Deployment
Force (CRDF) in order to be able to provide a collective
response to terrorist attacks or incursions. The CRDF for
Central Asia, according to an August 2001 decision, would
comprise Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tajik units, totaling
around 4,000 persons.
In May 2002, the
Collective Security Treaty became the Collective Security Treaty
Organisation, and the CSTO Charter entered into force on
September 18, 2003. According to Nikolai Bordyuzha, the
Secretary General of the organisation, the CSTO focused on three
important areas: foreign policy, opposition against threats and
challenges, and the military dimension.
2004, Russia promoted the systematic cooperation within the CSTO.
In June 2004, the members of the Council on Collective Security
and of the Council of Defence Ministers laid out plans for the
military component of the organisation. The “Plan for the
Construction of the CSTO’s Military Coalition Forces through
2010” proposed the establishment of military ties on an
interstate level and the formulation of a structure for
political cooperation, as well as a second phase of the
integration of the military forces on a macro-level.
In August 2004,
the Collective Security Treaty Organization conducted an
extensive military anti-terrorism exercise, Rubezh-2004
(“Border” 2004). Held in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, it tested
the CSTO’s Rapid Deployment Force in action for the first time.
Compared to the previous exercises, it was organised on the
premise of pre-emptive strikes.
Rubezh-2005 and Rubezh-2007 were held in
Tajikistan, while Rubezh-2006 took place in Kazakhstan.
The EU and NATO’s
Security Interests in Central Asia
Security Strategy (December 12, 2003) identified the following
major threats for the European Union: terrorism, proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, failing
states, organised crime, and recognised the energy dependence as
a special concern for Europe.
Although Central Asia was not specifically mentioned, all these
challenges from the international environment are valid for this
The EU’s interests in
Central Asia are geopolitical and geo-economic: growing
stability and the capacity of these states to manage the
threats; support of the military operations in Afghanistan;
tackling drug-trafficking and organised crime; prevention of
states from failing and enhanced capacity of crisis management;
non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and migration
and energy security. Although the Central Asian countries have
not been included in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP),
they could be involved in its regional programmes. The ENP and
the EU’s relationships with the Central Asian states reinforce
each other. Consequently, the concepts of “wider neighbourhood”
or “the neighbours of the EU’s neighbourhood” are
often considered to be of great importance.
its 2007 political strategy, the European Union has a strong
interest in a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Central Asia,
because the strategic, political, and economic developments, as
well as trans-regional challenges, affect the EU in some
capacity, whether directly or indirectly. These are ideas that
were also emphasised by EU officials in their speeches.
security initiatives, in January 2001 the European Union set up
the Central Asian Drugs Action Programme (CADAP). Its objective
was the development of drug control strategies in Central Asia
in line with EU anti-narcotics strategies. Initially, CADAP
covered Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan,
offering equipments and trainings, while Anti-Drugs Measures in
Tajikistan (ADMIT) has functioned in Tajikistan.
Management in Central Asia Programme (BOMCA) was launched in
April 2003 in order to strengthen border control and to
facilitate transit and legal commerce. CADAP and BOMCA have
received a similar budget since February 2004.
BOMCA also has the support of the US, OSCE, and UNDOC (the UN’s
Office on Drugs & Crime). Additionally, BOMCA 8 and 9 will try
to introduce the concepts of an integrated border management
(IBM) and a corridors approach, which were also embraced by the
SCO and EurAsEC. In Central Asia, BOMCA projected two corridors:
the Ferghana Valley and the North-South transit corridor in the
west of Central Asia. The European Commission stated that
progress was limited because of the insufficient expertise of
the local institutions, uncontrolled border areas, corruption,
and lack of political will.
The topic of
the insecurity of Central Asia was approached in other
international organisations as well. Within the OSCE, Austria,
Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, and the
United Kingdom promoted projects regarding police reform, water
management, anti-terrorism, the fight against organised crime,
weapons and drugs trafficking, and crisis management in Central
On September 18, 2008, the EU-Central Asia Forum on Security
Issues was launched by the EU French Presidency.
NATO has formal
relations with all Central Asian countries, which entered the
North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1992), Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council (1997), and Partnership for Peace programme
(1994). The cooperation in the framework of the latter programme
is developed proportionally with individual interests, needs,
and capacities. Partner states can choose various activities,
such as: defence reform, defence policy and planning,
civil-military relations, education and training, military
cooperation, common exercises, civil emergency planning and
disaster response, and science and environment – all in order to
prepare an Individual Partnership Action Plan.
Kazakhstan has an Individual Partnership Action Plan. Beginning
in 2002, Kazakhstan, and then Kyrgyzstan in 2007, have
participated in the Planning and Review Process. Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have limited relations with NATO,
but all five Central Asian states have established diplomatic
representation at NATO’s headquarters at Mons (Belgium).
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are also represented in
the so-called Partnership Coordination Cell. Additionally, the
Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC)
supported Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in 2003, 2005, and 2006.
NATO has an information centre in Almaty, and cooperates with
universities, NGOs, and local media in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
and Tajikistan in order to improve its visibility in the region.
The Madrid Foreign
Ministers’ Session, on June 3, 2003, confirmed NATO’s long-term
commitment in Central Asia, which plays a crucial role for the
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Afghanistan. The Istanbul summit (June 2004) further
strengthened these political-military relationships. NATO set up
the position of “Special Representative for the South Caucasus
and Central Asia” and established two liaison officers for each
The Central Asian
countries, however, prefer bilateral security relations with the
United States of America and other NATO members, such as
Germany, France, and Netherlands. They supported the operations
in Afghanistan with military bases for Western forces. Germany
has an air base with 300 men in Termez (Uzbekistan); US has an
air base in Manas (Kyrgyzstan); France had troops in Kyrgyzstan
and one logistic centre in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), while the
Netherlands had an agreement with Kyrgyzstan, allowing the use
of Bishkek airport by its F-16 airplaines.
carefully watching the developments within NATO. The Foreign
Policy Concept (July 2008) has a few important sentences to this
effect. “Russia maintains its negative attitude towards the
expansion of NATO, notably to the plans of admitting Ukraine and
Georgia to the membership in the alliance, as well as to
bringing the NATO military infrastructure closer to the Russian
borders on the whole […].” Additionally, “Russia will build its
relationship with NATO taking into consideration the degree of
the alliance’s readiness for equal partnership.”
Although the Russian
officials consider NATO the only structure capable of denying
Russia’s ability to establish its dominion over its “near
abroad,” CSTO Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha has
persistently called for a direct CSTO-NATO dialogue, including
joint stabilisation activities in Afghanistan. Sergei Lavrov
(Foreign Minister of Russia) and Sergei Ivanov (Deputy Prime
Minister) have also made declarations in this respect in 2006
and 2007. The CSTO-NATO cooperation would strengthen the
importance of the CSTO in Eurasia and would limit bilateral
dialogue within the Partnership for Peace framework between the
former Soviet republics and NATO.
According to Allison,
the CSTO-NATO competition can be identified in:
idea to turn the CSTO from a military-political organization
into a universal international structure that can collectively
react to all challenges and threats; the loose notion of a “zone
of CSTO responsibility”; the October 2007 decision to create
joint “CSTO peacekeeping forces” […]; the efforts by the CSTO to
develop its own security relationship with Afghanistan,
involving training, arms supply and counter-narcotics, assisted
by a CSTO Working Group on Afghanistan.
of the CSTO after the Russo-Georgian War
Policy Concept announced on July 17, 2008, stated:
[Russia] will promote
in every possible way the Collective Security Treaty
Organization (CSTO) as a key instrument to maintain stability
and ensure security in the CIS area, focusing on adapting the
CSTO as a multifunctional integration body to the changing
environment, as well as on ensuring capability of the CSTO
Member States to take prompt and effective joint actions, and on
transforming the CSTO into a central institution ensuring
security in its area of responsibility.
Russian-Georgian war accelerated the militarisation of the CSTO.
The Moscow Declaration of the Collective Security Council of the
CSTO (September 5, 2008) was considered “the first real
consolidated position of the alliance, a view on international
politics and the place of CSTO in it.”
The document mentions: concerns about “Georgia’s attempt to
resolve the conflict in South Ossetia by force;” concerns about
“the growing military capabilities and escalating tensions in
the Caucasus region;” “the situation in Europe, the
proliferation of medium- and short- range ground-based missiles;
strengthening the role of the United Nations as well as the
situation in several conflict zones; the situation in
Afghanistan; the situation around Iran; the prospects of
establishing relations between the CSTO and NATO on a number of
issues; and support for the initiatives of the Russian
Federation relating to a treaty on European security.”
During a press
conference, following the Moscow CSTO summit on February 4,
2009, President Medvedev stated that “the Collective Rapid
Reaction Force should be an effective, all-purpose instrument
that can be counted on to realize security objectives throughout
the CSTO. And these would include resisting military aggression,
conducting special operations to eliminate terrorists and
extremists, the fight against organized crime and drug
trafficking, as well as dealing with the consequences of natural
and industrial disasters.” The Collective Rapid Reaction Force
will have “the same sort of training as the troops of the North
According to Stratfor, it would comprise 16,000 troops, with
Russia providing 8,000 troops, Kazakhstan 4,000, and Tajikistan,
Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia 1,000 troops each. Of the
16,000, Russia will consider deploying 5,000 troops to Central
There were some
underlying tensions at the CSTO summit. Kazakhstan showed strong
commitment to the project, but Tajikistan and Uzbekistan had
concerns over the legal issues and the precise terms under which
the new force structure could be used within Central Asia.
Uzbekistan secured a separate protocol limiting its
participation in CSTO operations and will make military forces
available for CSTO operations under certain conditions,
depending on the political decision made at the time.
Federation and other member states of the Collective Security
Treaty Organization, Central Asian states, are ready for full
and comprehensive cooperation with the United States and other
coalition nations in combating terrorism in the region. This
fight should be comprehensive and modern, and based on military
and political components – only in this case will it have a
chance of success.
On 16-17 April 2009,
the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CSTO held a
session in Yerevan to discuss international security issues, the
potential for cooperation within other multilateral structures,
the situation in Afghanistan, and the progress toward
establishing the CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces. Uzbekistan declined
the invitation to the meeting, and Kazakhstan did not attend the
session either. Uzbekistan advocates a more equal distribution
of forces, especially among the larger members (Russia,
Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan), which has not yet materialised.
on the formal creation of the Rapid Reaction Forces, and a
number of documents regulating their activity, were signed at
the CSTO summit in Moscow on June 14, 2009. Belarus did not
sign the agreement, partially because of Russia’s restrictive
commercial measures and abusive practices in the energy sector
against it. Uzbekistan signed the documents with reservations
attached, limiting its participation in future CSTO activities,
while Armenia’s position is not clear.
However, although Belarus contested the validity of the summit
decisions, President Medvedev indicated that the door remained
open to Belarus to sign the agreement at a later date.
Military Bases in Russia’s Strategic Planning
Asian countries have received, on a bilateral basis, mutual
military assistance from Russia. In the 1990s, the majority of
the Central Asian military and technical elites were Russians
working on a contract basis. The Russian military academies
continued to train Central Asian officers. Furthermore, Russia
offered weapons and equipment at Russian market prices for the
In the spring of 2003, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan
signed mutual defence treaties with Russia.
After the Andijan event, Uzbekistan and Russia signed the Treaty
of Strategic Partnership (June 2005) and the Treaty of
Alliance (November 2005).
Russia has also initiated, in 2005, to establish an
international naval force in the Caspian Sea (CASFOR).
But the bases and
transit rights were the most important. Taking into account the
EU’s and NATO’s enlargement and the foreign military bases in
Central Asia, Moscow launched a diplomatic offensive to
strengthen its positions.
The meetings between
Putin and the presidents of the Central Asian republics paved
the way for the Russian base at Kant (Kyrgyzstan), inaugurated
on October 23, 2003. This would have housed over 500 Russian
personnel deployed under CSTO auspices. Since 2003, the Kant
base has gradually been expanded to include SU-25 ground-attack
aircraft, SU-27 fighter aircraft, AN-26 transport aircraft, and
For a few
years, Kyrgyzstan was the only country in the world that had on
its territory both a Russian and an American base, only 30 km
from each other. In May 2005, Bishkek began negotiations with
Moscow for a second military base in Osh. In 2006, Russia
announced plans for considerable military investments in
Kyrgyzstan, and the Kyrgyz government decided to raise the
rental price of the Manas Air Base used by the US.
Washington D.C. had paid $65 million per year for the Manas Air
Base, established in 2002, while injecting another $150 million
through economic incentives.
On February 3,
2009, Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement worth $2
billion, representing Russian assistance to the Kyrgyz economy
in crisis, which was followed by the announcement that
Kyrgyzstan would permanently close the Manas base.
Bakiev said he was ejecting US forces after repeated requests
for increased rent payment had been ignored.
In the aftermath of
the announced closure of the Manas Air Base and the expected
activation of the CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces, a unit of 30
Russian Railroad Troops arrived at the Kant Air Base, on 20
February 2009, to carry out road and railroad repairs. The major
objective was to connect existing Russian military facilities
within the country. As
Eurasia Daily Monitor
noted “[I]n a crisis situation,
Kant can be reinforced by air, rail, and road, facilitating the
rapid movement of Russian troops and supplies. It would probably
offer emergency access to the former Soviet air base at Osh”.
Recently, Russia and
Kyrgyzstan negotiated a new 49-year lease for the Russian
airbase in Kant (May 2009), which will allow for automatic
25-year extensions. There are many factors that will continue to
push Kyrgyzstan toward Russia: political ties, labour migration,
Russian investments, fear of Chinese expansionism, and
resentment about the Western assistance.
civil war in Tajikistan (1992-97), Russian forces, under the
aegis of the CIS, gave support to President Emomali Rakhmonov.
Today Russia has the 201st Motorised Rifle Division
at Dushanbe (opened at the end of 2004) and Russian officers in
the Federal Border Guard Force.
President Rakhmonov has tried to maximise potential financial
dividends from the Russian base at Dushanbe, Additionally, at a
bilateral meeting on November 2008, President Medvedev explored
the possibility of opening a second Russian base in Tajikistan,
at Ayni, where India has also had a temporary air base since
Western criticism of the brutal suppression of riots in Andijan
led to the closure of Karshi-Khanabad basing privileges of the
US. Russia and China supported Uzbekistan’s decision, through
the SCO Declaration on July 5, 2005. Additionally, Uzbekistan
was reintegrated into the CSTO in June 2006.
The establishment of
the CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces should be viewed as an extension
of the Russian influence in Central Asia. Emphasising the
threats coming from Afghanistan and NATO’s problems in managing
the situation, Russia attempts to portray itself as a better
security solution for the Central Asian countries.
NATO’s activity in
the CIS has always been regarded by Moscow rather as a threat
than as factors of stability or security cooperation. Therefore,
limiting the organisation’s activities was Russia’s constant
objective. It has been helped by NATO’s internal uncertainty:
first, the organisation had difficulties in finding adequate
motivations and activities for the Central Asian states’
security needs, and, second, the security assistance programmes
offered limited financial resources.
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