ISSN 2330-717X

Putin Won’t Annex Kazakhstan Because That Would Preclude Future Use Of CST Forces – OpEd

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Several Russian officials and commentators are suggesting that Vladimir Putin should use the contingent of forces of the Organization of the Collective Treaty Organization to annex Kazakhstan (facebook.com/sultan.hamzaev/posts/10161620154619832 and regnum.ru/news/polit/3471049.html).

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But Mikhail Savva, a professor at Kuban State University and the head of the SOVA expert group for Ukraine, dismisses this talk, not because there aren’t Russians who favor it but because there is no question that Putin does not (kavkazr.com/a/deputat-gosdumy-ot-dagestana-prizval-prisoedinitj-kazahstan-k-rossii/31641996.html).

Such an annexation of all or part of Kazakhstan “will not take place,” he says, “because the Putin regime in this case would risk discrediting the mechanism of foreign interference under the CST flag” because people would conclude that the CST forces are simply a means for Russian conquest.

Putin has larger fish to fry, Savva continues, and thus “the significance of the CST for suppressing popular protests is greater for Putin than adding a few oblasts from Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation.” What the Kremlin leader wants, Savva continues, is for CST forces to provide cover for Russia as “a gendarme on the post-Soviet space.”

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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