Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Two More Signs Moscow’s OCST in Trouble: Russians are Joking about It and Kremlin is Nervous

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 28 – Last week, Vladimir Putin suffered a major rebuff to his plans to use the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty (OCST) as a matrix around which he hopes to organize the former Soviet space when Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan refused to sign the group’s communique.

            That showed that the grouping, whose only notable success was its intervention in Kazakhstan last January, may no longer matter or at least may not matter as much as the Kremlin hoped. (For a discussion of that likelihood, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/11/yet-another-putin-effort-organization.html.)

            Since that time, there have been two more developments which point in the same direction. On the one hand, Russians are now telling an anecdote about the OCST that Putin can’t possible like. According to the story now circulating, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka says he’s “courageous” and may be either the first or the last to leave the security group (publizist.ru/blogs/107374/44535/2024).

            And on the other, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that efforts to promote “the disintegration of the OCST” are likely to continue but will fail because the group remains something its members need and because it has proved its effectiveness (osnmedia.ru/politika/peskov-predupredil-o-prodolzhenii-popytok-dezintegratsii-odkb/).

            When Russians start laughing at a key part of Putin’s program and when his spokesman is reduced to saying that it will survive efforts to “disintegrate” it, it is reasonable to assume that the OCST is in trouble, perhaps not on deaths door and certainly likely to remain formally in operation but certainly no longer the hope it once was for the Kremlin. 

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