Chapter 30: Collective Security Treaty Organization
The collapse of the Soviet Union left behind a huge territorial space divided between 15 newly independent states (NIS) that had previously been interconnected for seven decades. These NISs were faced with reconciling the competing priorities of managing a common interdependent legacy and asserting a new independent path. The immediate solution to the former was the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). After a decade of limited progress in security cooperation and growing impatience with certain CIS members’ attitude towards the CIS, the Putin regime in the Russian Federation spearheaded the creation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in 2002. Russia was joined by those CIS members most interested in multilateral security coordination and willing to work to this end with Moscow. The CSTO can be broadly characterized as evolving through two periods since its formation. During the mid-2000s, its loosely defined attempt to widen the CIS security agenda and develop its structures produced few tangible results. Instead, its main role was that of a ‘legitimacy enhancer’ for its members' domestic security policy. From the late 2000s onwards, owing to a concern that it was losing relevance, Moscow has pushed a series of programs aimed at enhancing the CSTO’s viability as a ‘collective security’ actor. This agenda prioritizes regime security and state stability of its members as the primary, and only, referent objects of its activities.
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