CSTO Takes Aim At Ukraine, Color Revolutions
Obviously spooked by developments in Ukraine, Russia's new political-military bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, held a roundtable discussion discussing how the organization can better fight against the "color revolutions" that, in the mind of many in Moscow, are orchestrated by Western governments.
Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on the meeting, which took place last week:
Participants came to the conclusion that "Western enemies of Russia" are manipulating international election monitoring organizations, actively influencing the minds of internet users, creating a distorted picture of the mood of society through non-governmental organizations and the media. They advised the CSTO to engage in the production of "instruments of counterpropaganda" and that Russia should not be afraid to act on the internal political life of neighboring countries.
The CSTO's secretary general, Nikolay Bordyuzha, was at the event, and spoke in somewhat purple prose about the danger that Russia's allies now face:
One is struck by the perfidy of the organizers and leaders of these revolutionary transformations, who pursue purely mercenary goals and do not shy away from using any means to attain them, including those out of the bounds of legal and ethical norms... One is shocked by the cynicism of the scene, when a high-ranking official of a respected government, devoted to democratic values, publicly flirts with a radical nationalist and inveterate anti-Semite.
(Kommersant interprets that last statement as referring to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius, who met with Oleg Tyagnibok, an organizer of the protests and a man with a spotty history vis-a-vis Jews. But it seems Bordyuzha also could have been referring to U.S. Senator John McCain, who also publicly appeared with Tyagnibok.)
Also at the event, a Russian assistant deputy minister of defense, Alexander Konuzin, aired his grievances about western election monitoring organizations: "Central Election Commissions report on the results of elections, but the people believe in exit polls. Who created them? Our enemies."
This isn't the first time the CSTO has addressed the threat of popular uprisings: in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011, the group also discussed how to prevent that sort of event from happening in the CSTO space. Ukraine is not a CSTO member, though there have been discussions of it joining. (Current members include, in addition to Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.) Anyway, wasn't it Russia's "acting on the internal political life of neighboring countries" that got Ukraine to this point in the first place? It would seem that being less afraid to do so would only backfire more.
Joshua Kucera, a senior correspondent, is Eurasianet's former Turkey/Caucasus editor and has written for the site since 2007.