The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will intervene to restore “law and order” if one of its members, including Armenia, is beset by serious unrest, the secretary general of Russian-led alliance of seven ex-Soviet states confirmed on Tuesday.
“This is an agreement that was reached by the presidents at their informal summit in Astana [last August,]” Nikolay Bordyuzha told journalists in a live video link from Moscow.
“We discussed mechanisms that are needed for cases where the authorities, law-enforcement bodies of a particular country cannot control the situation, when there is chaos, mass disturbances, looting and it is not possible to control the situation at the national level,” he said.
Bordyuzha explained that such intervention would not necessarily take the form of joint military action. The CSTO would primarily rely on its “political and peacekeeping potential,” he said without elaborating.
Aleksandr Lukashenko, the controversial president of CSTO member Belarus, discussed the issue with Bordyuzha last year. Lukashenko, who tolerates little dissent at home, reportedly called for the alliance members to jointly suppress possible attempts by domestic opposition groups to stage a “constitutional coup.”
Bordyuzha insisted in that regard that the CSTO is not assuming “gendarmerie functions” to help the ruling regimes in the member states crack down on the opposition. He said it would only respond to “chaotic situations” in order to “protect citizens and restore law and order.”
In a move initiated by Russia, the ex-Soviet allies set up in 2009 a NATO-style rapid reaction force which is meant to counter security threats to the bloc. Armenia has already committed troops to the Collective Operational Reaction Forces (CORF) and is due to host CORF exercises this autumn.