In an exclusive commentary to Cronos.Asia, the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov spoke about the progress of the negotiations.


On June 6, 2024, in Almaty, a meeting of the CSTO Committee of Secretaries of Security Council was held under the chairmanship of the Republic of Kazakhstan. During the meeting, the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov made a report on the situation in the CSTO area of responsibility and measures aimed at neutralizing challenges and threats to the security of Collective Security Treaty Organization member states.

Sputnik Armenia reports that the Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that he had excellent relations with CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov.

The CSTO Secretary General: Against the background of the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall, it is important not to allow the situation in the sphere of migration policy to be destabilized

Interview of the CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov to “Interfax”.

 Imangali Nurgaliyevich, last week you commented to the media on the situation with the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall, noting that terrorism in recent decades was acquiring new qualities and was maximally integrated into the international context. In continuation of the issue: what kind of reaction to this tragedy do you observe in the CSTO member states?

- All capitals condemned the terrorist attack and expressed their condolences and sympathy. The Republic of Belarus, for example, joined the operation to catch the criminals. We see activity in terms of coordinating anti-terrorist activities between allies bilaterally and multilaterally on the basis of the CSTO. The information component is also important: as far as I know, the Organization member states actively covered the events related to this high-profile crime in the media. The fact is that transnational terrorism is a common problem for the countries that are members of the Organization. All governments realize that for each of them this threat is quite real in the context of the geopolitical changes that are taking place in Eurasia today.

How do you assess the consequences of the terrorist attack in the Moscow region from the point of view of the situation in the CSTO zone of responsibility?

- A comprehensive assessment of the consequences of this cynical attack on civilians shows that the consequences can be very different, most of them destructive. It must be recognized that the main goal of the terrorists, or rather the perpetrators of the attack, was not so much to sow fear and provoke negative attitudes towards the national government and its actions related to public security. The key objective of the perpetrators was to initiate a civil split in Russia and in the countries of Central Asia. According to the calculations of geopolitical forces unfriendly to post-Soviet Eurasia, they calculated that by provoking inter-ethnic and inter-religious divisions, they would be able to "nullify" cooperation and interaction between Russia and the countries of Central Asia with maximum damage to all parties. That is, we are also talking about the goals of the organizers of the terrorist attack, which are related to the deterioration of relations between the states in the CSTO area of responsibility.

Do you think this scenario can be neutralized?

- It is extremely important to act with a "cool head" here. The conditions for emotional actions have now been created, and this is what we are counting on, since such high-profile crimes involving the mass death of civilians, when literally every citizen feels vulnerable, are committed in order to create the most uncomfortable conditions for the authorities to make political decisions. Hence, mistakes that can have extremely negative and long-lasting consequences. Many of us have already observed these effects at the domestic level, at the level of interpersonal relations between representatives of different nations in a number of states over the past week. Therefore, it is extremely important not to allow the situation in the sphere of national and migration policy in Russia to be destabilized. If steps are taken that result in pressure on labor migrants from Central Asian countries, this will provoke their mass departure. The problem, of course, is not only that this will have a negative impact on certain sectors of the Russian economy, where there is an objective shortage of labor, but, first and foremost, it will stimulate Russophobic and anti-Russian sentiments in Central Asian countries. And this, in turn, will inevitably affect interstate relations. Thus, the initiators of the terrorist attack in “Crocus City Hall” will get closer to their goal.

What, in your opinion, are the reasons for such a sharp reaction of a part of Russian society to the ethnic and religious aspect of these grave events? After all, Russia is a multinational country, with a vast experience of intercultural interaction....

- As you rightly pointed out, there are many reasons for this sharp reaction of only a part of Russian society, and all of them seem to have resulted from certain shortcomings on the part of all participants in the process of coordinating migration policy within the framework of bilateral and multilateral relations. However, I will point out one of the non-obvious ones - this is a peculiar perception by part of Russian society of those processes in other countries of post-Soviet Eurasia that are associated with national revival, the actualization of traditional attributes of social life, language, customs and so on. It seems to me that some distortions in perception are connected, as most specialists recognize, with the factor of the Baltic states. This is a very painful issue for Russian society, and perhaps that is why a certain pattern of perception of the neighbors may have been formed, when any reference to their own national attributes in politics, cultural and social life, economic structure is perceived as hostile to the Russian, Russian way of life. That is why additional efforts are needed here to explain to our societies what is really going on. Now more than ever, there is a need for a subtle and thoughtful policy to neutralize the slightest possibility of harming the centuries-old good-neighborly relations between the peoples of Eurasia.

Imangali Nurgaliyevich, in fact, as you have pointed out, we are talking not only about the problems of national policy within the Central Asian CSTO member states or migration policy in Russia, but also about interstate relations in the post-Soviet space. Could the unfolding crisis affect the Organization itself?

- The problem we are talking about is not generally related to the sphere of military-political cooperation, but we do observe indirect risks. The CSTO Secretariat is concerned about this, and we are conducting analytical work in this area. However, in my view, if the emerging crisis over migration and national policy in Russia, which, if it escalates, could provoke crises in a number of Central Asian States, can be managed, the crisis will not affect the Organization. It is obvious that the CSTO is in the spectrum of targets of hybrid attacks by opponents of building a polycentric world. Perhaps the organizers of the terrorist attack in the Moscow suburbs expected that in the long term the effects of such actions, which more closely resemble subversive work than terrorist activity, would also affect the Eurasian system of collective security. However, the foundations of this system are very stable and capable of withstanding such challenges.


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