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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

06.07.2017

Collective Security in Eurasia: Managing Diversity and Multiple Threats (by Ambassador Yakovenko for OCA Magazine)

25 years ago several independent states, formerly Republics of the Soviet Union, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Belorussia, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, signed the Collective Security Treaty. 10 years later they established the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Even this chronology shows that it was not an easy process. It took time for the member-states to assess their own security interests and requirements, as well as the overall security picture in the region they share.

CSTO is, thus, a modern security organisation, fully in line with the post-Cold War geopolitical reality. So, it is based not on the ideological unity, but on the time-proven Westphalian principles of international relations, set in the UN Charter. Those are, first of all, sovereign equality, independence, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs. It means that it is a joint enterprise driven by national interests, defined by each member-state and collectively.

In that regard the CSTO is contrasted by the present state of NATO, a security alliance, created at the time of Cold War to be a military tool of the ideological confrontation. That reality is gone, and the ideology that underpinned that security paradigm is no longer relevant. The dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation was the right response to the radical change of geopolitical coordinates. Unfortunately, the NATO was preserved as an old alliance, which is at the core of its problems ever since.

The search for a new raison d’etre gave birth to the idea of a global NATO, then brought the alliance back to its Cold War mission of territorial defence. The greatest damage to European security was done by its expansion towards Russia’s borders. The resulting confrontational dynamics explains a paradox when the very membership in NATO becomes a source of insecurity. Now we have to deal with the consequences of the European Union’s foray into zero-sum geopolitics as a NATO proxy in Ukraine.

That is why starting from scratch was a huge advantage for the CSTO. Nobody rushed things through. Nobody sought to dominate partners or push forward some hidden agendas. Instead, member-states were dealing with real problems as they arose in real life. It is a light flexible alliance unlike cumbersome highly bureaucratised entangling alliances of the past established to fight wars. The lack of ideological bias helps to cooperate with other organisations in Eurasia. For us it was not a problem engaging with NATO, especially when the alliance led the international military presence in Afghanistan. Although NATO wouldn’t even engage in a dialogue with the CSTO for the twisted logic of not willing to “legitimise” it. So, lots of opportunities for cooperation in Afghanistan have been missed. The CSTO has been net-working on security matters with such organisations as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), doing its bit in harmonisation of integration processes in Greater Eurasia.

It is worth noting that primary security concerns of the member states are in the area which was the site of the famous Great Game of the 19th century. The present security cooperation, rooted in contemporary reality, is a direct opposite of that great power game. Now it is by the regional states for the regional states.

The CSTO has achieved tangible progress and brought quite a few positive outcomes with their impact felt beyond the region. It is working primarily to ensure stability in its area of responsibility by way of addressing transnational threats, such as terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking, illegal migration. The member-state established the Collective Peacekeeping Force to help tackle those threats.

A high level of trust and mutual understanding has been achieved among the CSTO partners as a result of gradual integration, including regular joint exercises, daily contacts of our border services, assistance in training of personnel, supply of special equipment and weapons. A complex approach to security allowed us to strengthen external borders.

Our key priority remains finding negotiated regional solutions to crises and conflicts in our neighbourhood, especially in Afghanistan. The expansion of the “Islamic State” to Afghanistan, which brings the terrorist threat emanating from that country to a new, higher level, requires a coordinated response on the part of all regional and international players and their organisations. The CSTO is open to such cooperation. It includes NATO whenever the alliance is ready for that.




LATEST EVENTS

29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.


19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?


18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.


05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.


05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.


30.09.2017 - Russia’s initiative on protecting SMM OSCE in South-East of Ukraine (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 5th September, at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced an initiative to establish the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine.


25.09.2017 - Eurasian Economic Union today (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Though hardly noticeable in the Western media, the Eurasian economic cooperation is booming, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) becoming an increasingly effective integration project. The unique format of enhanced economic coordination along with the EAEU member states’ retained political sovereignty and cultural identity is proving itself.


25.09.2017 - On Russia's assistance to Central Asia (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia attaches great importance to the issue of sustainable development as it is underlined by the UN. Among our priorities in this area is the development of Central Asia. We contribute to the development of this region on a regular basis, regardless of the global economic crisis and its negative effect on Russia’s economy. In today’s world, international aid is often politically motivated and aimed at exerting one’s influence. Russia has a different approach.


25.09.2017 - IX BRICS Summit – turning into a global organisation (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, has emphasized the proximity of positions of the member states on the current global problems. It demonstrated that over the last 10 years BRICS has grown into a full-fledged international mechanism for global cooperation.


08.09.2017 - SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.



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