Rashid Nurgaliyev: the military-political situation in the world is getting worse
Moscow. July 16. INTERFAX.RU - In 2020 Russia holds the presidency of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Currently, the CSTO includes the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia and the Republic of Tajikistan. The key provision of the treaty is the possibility of collective protection of the member states of the Organization in the event of aggression against one of them. Rashid Nurgaliyev, the Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council, spoke in an interview with “Interfax” about how cooperation was organized within the CSTO, how partners interact in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and the prospects for the development of the CSTO.
- Rashid Gumarovich, this year Russia is the chairman of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. How is the interaction of the CSTO countries through the security councils currently assessed?
- The Security Councils of the CSTO countries are constantly cooperating in bilateral and multilateral formats on issues related to countering security challenges and threats. We are waging a joint fight against terrorism and extremism, drug trafficking, illegal migration, interacting on information security issues, and strengthening military and military-technical cooperation.
- Do the Security Councils of the CSTO countries interact on biological threats, in particular on countering the spread of coronavirus infection?
- The coronavirus pandemic has further closed the ranks of our countries and Security Councils in the fight against existing threats.
In the telephone and telecommunication modes, constant interaction of specialized organizations was organized - sanitary-epidemiological and medical services, migration structures, regulators in the field of air transport and tourism, issues were resolved through the ministries of emergency situations and the ministries of defense.
Russia is providing humanitarian assistance to our partners, in particular, in the supply of test kits for detecting COVID-19 coronavirus infections.
Mobile laboratories and test systems have been delivered to the Republic of Armenia for examining the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and the 102nd Russian military base.
As part of improving the collective security system, taking into account a new type of threat, we are ready to invite our allies to consider the issue of including medical units and forces of radiation, chemical and biological protection in the special CSTO assets.
- In the context of increased military-political instability in the world and in the regions bordering on the CSTO responsibility zone, do you think that strengthening the power component of the Organization is required?
- As you correctly noted, the military-political situation in the world and the regions bordering on the CSTO responsibility zone remains unstable and tends to further aggravate.
In these conditions, today the collective forces created in the Collective Security Treaty Organization have sufficient potential to solve the tasks assigned to them. At the same time, in the future, special attention will be paid to equipping them with modern weapons and military equipment, as well as control and communication systems. All these issues are reflected in the plan for the development of military cooperation of the CSTO for the next five years.
The practice of conducting military trainings will continue, in the course of which new forms and methods of using collective forces will be tested, which will make it possible to increase the efficiency of solving the assigned tasks by the CSTO groupings.
- According to the Russian Security Council, how effective can the collective mechanisms of military-technical and military-economic cooperation between the CSTO countries be?
- The agreement on the development of military-technical cooperation between the CSTO countries, concluded back in 2000, provides for mutual supplies of military products on preferential terms.
The supply dynamics is growing noticeably. At the same time, over the second decade since the entry into force of the agreement, the structure of supplies has changed significantly: along with spare parts for weapons and military equipment, supplies of ready-made weapons are carried out, including high-tech products.
The formation of a unified military-technical policy on equipping the assets of the CSTO collective security system with modern and compatible models of weapons and military equipment continues.
It is important that such interaction is carried out on mutually beneficial terms for all member states of the Organization.
In the development of military-economic cooperation, the establishment of interstate scientific and production associations for the production of military products and the organization of cooperation between the member states of the Organization in the field of its development, production, repair and modernization, as well as the organization and conduct of joint research and development work on its creation and modernization are regulated.
- Is it possible for CSTO to participate in peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the UN? If so, are the Organization's peacekeeping forces involved in any of the flash points?
- Nowadays, the CSTO peacekeeping forces did not participate in the peacekeeping missions conducted by the UN.
At the same time, it should be noted that, on the whole, the CSTO peacekeeping forces meet the basic requirements and standards of the UN, both in structure and in the level of their readiness to act as intended. I am sure that further improvement of the peacekeeping resource of the Organization will help to increase its authority in the international arena.
In order to carry out practical interaction with the UN Department of Peacekeeping, it is planned to invite UN representatives as observers to the command-staff training with the CSTO peacekeeping forces "Indestructible Brotherhood - 2020" on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
In addition, it is envisaged to improve the legal framework governing the peacekeeping activities of the CSTO. In the interests of developing the CSTO peacekeeping forces and maintaining their readiness to conduct missions, including under the auspices of the UN, it is planned to clarify the structure and composition of the peacekeeping forces, to train contingents of the CSTO member states according to programs and methods that meet UN standards.
- In addition to the UN, does the CSTO have interaction with other international organizations?
- Such cooperation is provided for by the CSTO charter. Of course, the UN plays a central, coordinating role and therefore is the main partner of the CSTO. This interaction is built on a solid legal basis and covers the main directions of countering modern challenges and threats.
In addition, the CSTO actively cooperates with the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Effective interaction has been established between the CSTO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Its example is the participation of OSCE observers in the annual events of the permanent regional anti-drug operation “Channel” in the format of the CSTO.
The CSTO is open to close interaction with all interested international and regional organizations operating in the security sphere, and NATO is considered one of such influential organizations.
- In your opinion, is the expansion of the CSTO ever expected in the future? How much is open for new members?
- Currently, due to the complex political situation and the significant expansion of challenges and threats, we are increasingly focusing on interaction with external partners that are not members of the CSTO, as well as with international organizations. We proceed from the fact that in order to solve the problems facing the world community in countering new challenges and threats, it is necessary to consolidate the potentials and efforts of all states, international and regional organizations.
Our Organization is an open international structure, ready to connect interested external partners to the mechanisms of interaction that have been worked out over the years of the CSTO existence and, through synergy of potentials, experience and knowledge, to cooperate in the interests of strengthening international and regional security.
Moreover, the CSTO charter provides that any state that shares its goals and principles can become a member of the Organization. Countries interested in cooperation with the CSTO can obtain the status of CSTO partners or observers in the organization.
- Most often, speaking about threats to the CSTO countries, we are talking about the terrorist threat from Afghanistan. What is the current situation in the Tajik-Afghan direction?
- It's no secret that after decisive actions by the Syrian government, with the support and aid of the Russian Federation, it was possible to inflict serious losses on the terrorist organization ISIS (banned in the Russian Federation - Interfax) and free most of Syria from militants, destroy the infrastructure and control system of terrorists. However, terrorists have become more active in the north of Afghanistan, hatching plans to penetrate the neighboring states of Central Asia.
As a result, the importance of the Tajik-Afghan section of the external border of the CSTO member states as an anti-terrorist buffer has grown significantly.
To stabilize the situation in the Tajik-Afghan sector, additional measures of a political and military nature are being taken, and the interaction of international and regional organizations is being improved. A military infrastructure is being created on the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan, new methods and methods of combating terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal migration are being developed, and the development of a draft target interstate CSTO program to strengthen sections of the Tajik-Afghan border is being completed.
- It is known that citizens of Russia, the Republic of Tajikistan and other CSTO states are fighting on the side of terrorist organizations operating on the territory of Afghanistan, Syria, and other countries. How can we counter mercenary activities? Is it possible to terminate the operation of recruiters within the borders of our countries?
- This issue has long been within the view of the CSTO. Thus, in the CSTO format, a special operation "Mercenary" is being carried out, which provides for the closure of the channels of recruitment, entry and exit of citizens to participate in terrorist activities and neutralize the resource base of international terrorist organizations in the CSTO area.
As part of an international operation under the auspices of the CSTO last year, about 100 persons involved in terrorist activities were detained, more than 250 thousand people were checked, 61 people were put on the international wanted list.
We consider it advisable to practice such operations in the future.
The formation within the CSTO of a single list of organizations recognized as terrorist also remains relevant. We hope that our partners from the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Belarus will expedite the introduction of the necessary changes in their national legislation.
- The national security of any state in any region of the world is undermined by illegal migration, which entails an increase in crime, and negative changes in the labor market, and upheavals in society. How are the CSTO countries protected from this event?
- Operation “Illegal” is being carried out within the framework of the CSTO. Its task is to isolate from a huge number of episodes associated with the movement of powerful migration flows in the area of Eurasia, those that are undertaken to break the law, implement criminal schemes, taking advantage of the traditionally close and diverse ties that persist between states in the post-Soviet space.
Last year, several channels of illegal migration from South and Southeast Asia through the territory of the CSTO member states to the EU countries were blocked, more than 159 thousand violations of migration legislation were suppressed, including foreign citizens who have long evaded leaving our states.
In the course of Operation “Illegal-2019”, more than a thousand wanted criminals were detained, more than 8 thousand foreign citizens were expelled and deported from the CSTO states in an administrative manner. The law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Russia have initiated almost 7,000 criminal cases for organizing illegal migration.
Financial monitoring units of the Republic of Belarus and Russia have identified more than 2 thousand suspicious financial transactions carried out by foreign citizens.
An important result of the interaction of our countries in the migration sphere is the fact that the CSTO space is less and less used as a transit territory by illegal migrants from third countries heading to the countries of the European Union.
- How the interaction of the CSTO countries is being carried out in the field of information security?
- Information resources of the CSTO member states are increasingly becoming the object of constant information security incidents created by hacker groups and individual malefactors. The negative consequences of various types of cyber attacks are no longer local, but global.
In this regard, the safe and reliable operation of information resources, control and communication systems in the CSTO area of responsibility is considered as one of the important aspects of national security and sovereignty, sustainable development of the economy and social sphere of the CSTO member states.
Within the framework of the CSTO, an integral system has been created and a complex of interrelated measures is being implemented, including within the framework of the permanent operation to counter crimes in the information sphere "PROXY".
Of course, competent specialists are needed to resolve such important issue. Since 2011, in the Russian Federation, first on the basis of the Moscow State University named after M. V. Lomonosov, and then in MEPhI, gratuitous training for the CSTO member states has been conducted under advanced training programs in the specialty "information security".
- The Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev, meeting with his partners, secretaries of the Security Councils from the CSTO countries, repeatedly raised the topic of interaction between our law enforcement agencies and special services in countering drug trafficking. What is the current drug situation in the CSTO area of responsibility?
- A stable system of countering drug threats has been created in the CSTO area of responsibility.
Anti-drug operation “Channel” is carried out annually. Since 2003, more than 400 tons of various types of narcotic drugs, psychotropic and potent substances have been withdrawn from illegal traffic during the operation. A number of special tactical trainings were conducted with special-purpose units of anti-drug services and internal affairs bodies under the code name "Thunder" on the territory of Russia, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
Raid groups of special forces of the CSTO member states participated in mountain field trips on especially difficult sections of the state border as part of the “Channel-Southern Trap” and “Cahnnel-Patrol” operations in the Shurobad region of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Alai region of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In general, our work is based on the provisions of the Anti-Drug Strategy of the CSTO member states for 2015-2020.
This policy document expires this year. In this regard, as part of the implementation of the priorities of the Russian Federation during its chairmanship in the CSTO, a draft of a new Anti-Drug Strategy for the period up to 2025 has been developed. This document takes into account all the features of modern threats emanating from drug trafficking. Currently, it is being prepared for submission to the heads of state at the next session of the CSTO Collective Security Council.