History of creation, fundamentals of activity, organizational structure.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization originates from the conclusion of the Collective Security Treaty, which was signed in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) on May 15, 1992 by the heads of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Later, it was joined by Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia (1993). The treaty entered into force upon completion of the national ratification procedures on April 20, 1994.

Key Article 4 of the Treaty states: “If one of the States Parties is subjected to aggression by any state or group of states, then this will be considered as aggression against all States Parties to this Treaty. In the event of an act of aggression against any of the participating States, all other participating States will provide him with the necessary assistance, including military, and will also provide support at their disposal in exercising the right to collective defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.”

The Collective Security Treaty was concluded for a period of five years with the possibility of further extension. In 1999, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a Protocol on the extension of the Collective Security Treaty, on the basis of which a new composition of the participating countries was formed and an automatic procedure for extending the Treaty for five years was established (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan ceased your membership in the Treaty).

Until 2002, the Treaty was essentially a regional agreement, which played an important role in maintaining close cooperation and understanding in the military-political field.

On May 14, 2002, in Moscow, the Collective Security Council made a decision to grant the status of an international regional organization to the Collective Security Treaty.

On October 7, 2002, at the CIS summit in Chisinau, the Presidents of the Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan approved the CSTO Charter. In December 2003, the CSTO Charter was registered with the UN Secretariat. And in 2004, the Organization received an Observer status in the UN General Assembly.

In accordance with Article 3 of the Charter, the objectives of the Organization are the strengthening of peace, international and regional security and stability, the protection on a collective basis of the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the member States. The document defines the following principles by which the Organization is guided in its activities: priority of political means over the military, strict respect for independence, voluntary participation, equality of rights and obligations of the member States, non-interference in affairs falling under the national jurisdiction of the member States.

Thus, in 2002, the main organizational procedures were carried out related to the legal registration of the current status of the CSTO as an international regional Organization uniting independent democratic states with common interests in the field of collective security. The Organization today includes: the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan (in the summer of 2006, the CSTO resumed its membership, and in 2012 the Republic of Uzbekistan suspended it).

Coordination of joint actions by the CSTO is ensured by statutory permanent working and subsidiary bodies established in accordance with the CSTO Charter. 

The Collective Security Council (CSC) is the highest body of the Organization and consists of heads of the member States. It considers the fundamental issues of the Organization’s activities and makes decisions aimed at the realization of its goals and objectives, as well as provides coordination and joint activities of the member States for the realization of these goals. Sessions of the CSC are held alternately in the member States as necessary, but at least once a year.

The chairmanship of the Council is transferred in the order of the Russian alphabet, unless the Council decides otherwise. 

Composition of the CSC: (as of 01.04.2022)

1. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia  Pashinyan Nikol Vovayevich 

2. The President of the Republic of Belarus  Lukashenko  Alexander Grigorievich 

3. The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan  Tokayev Kassym-Jomart  

4. The President of the Kyrgyz Republic Japarov  Sadyr Nurgzhoevich

5. The President of the Russian Federation  Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich 

6. The President of the Republic of Tajikistan  Rahmon  Emomali  

Sessions of the Collective Security Council

The Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the Council of Ministers of Defense (CMD), and the Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils (CSSC) are responsible for coordinating the interaction of the member States in their competence.

The Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) — is the advisory and executive body of the Organization for coordinating the interaction of the member States in the field of foreign policy. (as of 01.04.2022)

The Council of Ministers of Defense (CMD) is a consultative and executive body of the Organization for the coordination of interaction of the member States in the field of military policy, military construction and military-technical cooperation.

The Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils (CSSC) is an advisory and executive body of the Organization for coordinating the interaction of the member States in the field of ensuring their national security.  

The CSTO Permanent Council is the coordinating body, which in the period between sessions of the CSTO CSC deals with cooperation within the Organization and, together with permanent working bodies, ensures the implementation of decisions made by the CSTO bodies. The Council consists of Permanent and Plenipotentiary Representatives appointed by the member States in accordance with their internal procedures.

The CSTO Secretariat provides organizational, informational, analytical and advisory support for the activities of the Organization’s statutory bodies. It implements the preparation of draft decisions and other documents of the organs of the Organization. The location of the Secretariat is Moscow.

The CSTO Joint Staff is the permanent working body that responsible for preparing proposals and implementing decisions on the formation within the Organization of an effective system of collective security, creating coalition (regional) groups of troops (forces) and their command bodies, military infrastructure, training military personnel and specialists for the armed forces, and providing the necessary weapons and military equipment. The location of the Joint Staff is Moscow. Colonel General Sidorov Anatoly Alekseevich has been the Head of the Joint Staff since September 2015 (Russian Federation).

The highest administrative official of the Collective Security Treaty Organization is the Secretary General. He is appointed by the decision of the Heads of State on the proposal of the CSTO Ministerial Council for a period of 3 years on a rotational basis from among the citizens of the CSTO member States. Since January 1, 2020, by the decision of the CSTO Security Council, Zas Stanislav Vasilievich (the Republic of Belarus) was appointed the CSTO Secretary General.

 In order to accomplish the tasks facing the CSTO, subsidiary bodies and working groups may be established on a permanent or temporary basis, functioning in individual areas of activity.

In 2016, at the October session of the Collective Security Council in Yerevan, the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Collective Security Strategy for the period up to 2025 was adopted, revealing the concept of further strengthening the total potential of the CSTO to become one of the effective instruments of international politics that ensure peace and security in the vast Eurasian region in close cooperation and dialogue with all partners who share the goals and principles of our Organization.

To counter existing and re-emerging challenges and threats to the security of member states, an effective collective security system has been created within the CSTO, based on three complementary measures each other’s areas of application of collective efforts: political, military cooperation and cooperation in the sphere of countering challenges and threats.

Political cooperation

In accordance with Article 9 of the CSTO Charter, in the format of the Organization, a mechanism of regular political consultations functions, during which assessments of the situation in the CSTO area of ​​responsibility are discussed, common positions are being developed and joint approaches are being sought to current issues on the international agenda, and collective statements are being coordinated. The mechanism of foreign policy coordination has been formed. Its normative basis is the Provision adopted on November 19, 2003 on the procedure for the functioning of the mechanism for coordinating the foreign policy activities of the CSTO member States.

 Since 2011, the Organization has been actively operating the mechanism of Collective Guidance to representatives of the CSTO member States with international organizations, which envisage the formation of common approaches on topical issues of international security policy. In accordance with the List of joint statements approved by the CSTO Ministerial Council on an annual basis, the practice of speaking at various international forums with joint statements by the Organization’s member States continues.

The most important and priority activity of the CSTO is cooperation with international organizations and third countries in the interest of joining efforts for the sake of maintaining stability and strengthening peace.

Progressively and constructively, on the basis of an appropriate legal framework, the CSTO develops cooperation with the UN, the OSCE, the SCO and the CIS and their specialized structures. Cooperation with third countries is expanding. As part of this cooperation, approaches are being agreed upon to address such important and mutually interesting topics as countering international terrorism and extremism, the illicit distribution of drugs, and ensuring border security.

An important area of ​​activity for the CSTO is crisis response. In October 2016, in Yerevan, the CSTO CSC decided to establish the CSTO Crisis Response Center, which will be entrusted with the task of information and analytical and organizational and technical support for the relevant CSTO decisions to be taken by the authorized bodies of the CSTO for crisis response.

Military construction

The goal of military cooperation is to ensure the collective and national security of the Organization’s member States by maintaining, within the framework of the necessary sufficiency and readiness, the defense potential of each member State, the forces and means of the CSTO collective security system to fulfill the missions in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the Collective Security Treaty May of 15, 1992 security and timely response to possible challenges and threats to the national and collective security of the CSTO member States.

The basis of the CSTO military potential consists of the Collective Operational Reaction Forces, regional (combined) groups of troops (forces), Collective aviation and peacekeeping forces, combined (joint) military systems and military infrastructure objects. The abovementioned forces and means of collective security make up the CSTO Troops (Collective Forces).

The bilateral Russian-Belarusian and Russian-Armenian groupings of troops (forces) deployed in the Eastern European and Caucasus regions of collective security, respectively, are being systematically improved.

In 2001, the Collective Rapid Deployment Forces in the Central Asian region of collective security (CRDF CAR) of about 5,000 people were formed in the CSTO format. 

In February 2009, the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF) were created, including military contingents and formations of special forces of the CSTO member States with a total number of about 20 thousand people, capable of accomplishing tasks of both military and special nature.

As part of improving the management of forces and means of the collective security system during the annual business games, joint exercises and trainings, the requirements of the CSTO CSC Decision «On Organizing the Control of the CSTO Troops (Collective Forces)» dated September 15, 2015 are being applied and practically implemented.

The preparation of the Troops (Collective Forces) of the Organization for the fulfillment of the assigned tasks is carried out in accordance with the annual plans of joint activities of operational and combat trainings. Since 2004, in accordance with these plans, more than 30 trainings of various sizes have been conducted with the formations of the forces and means of the collective security system on the territory of the CSTO member States with the already well-known names: «Rubezh», «Interaction», «Indestructible Brotherhood», » Thunder «,» Cobalt » and several others. Representatives of foreign countries and international organizations are regularly invited as observers and participants to participate in these trainings.

In 2007, the Heads of the CSTO member Statessigned an Agreement on CSTO Peacekeeping Activities,which entered into force and was registered with the UN Secretariat in 2009. For participation in peacekeeping operations, the CSTO Peacekeeping Forces of about 3,000 armed forces personnel and about 600 representatives of the internal affairs agencies of the member States have been established on an ongoing basis. The CSTO Peacekeeping Forces can be used both in the area of ​​responsibility of the Organization by the decision of the Collective Security Council, and beyond its limits under the mandate of the UN Security Council.

International cooperation in the field of peacekeeping is underway. In September 2012, a corresponding Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the CSTO Secretariat and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Active work is underway to integrate CSTO peacekeeping capabilities into UN peacekeeping activities. In 2021, a delegation of the CSTO Joint Staff Secretariat undertook a study visit to the UN peacekeeping mission «UNIFIL» in Lebanon.

In January 2022, in connection with the appeal of the President of the Republlic of Kazakhstan J. K. Tokayev and in view of the threat to national security and sovereignty of the country caused, among other things, by interference from outside, the CSTO Collective Security Council, in accordance with Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty, decided to conduct a peacekeeping operation in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The collective mission, which lasted from January 6 to 19, was successful and was completed after the situation had normalized.

Cooperation between the CSTO and the International Committee of the Red Cross in various areas of humanitarian activity has been developed.

The CSTO Joint Staff has been formed and worked since January 1, 2004. The activities of the Joint Staff are focused on solving practical tasks related to the formation, operation and use of Troops (Collective Forces); preparing and conducting joint operational and combat training activities with the ministries of defense (the general staffs of the armed forces) of the member States, military technical cooperation; coordinating joint training of personnel and specialists for the armed forces of member States; organization of the functioning of the CSTO Crisis Response Center and its interaction with the authorized national authorities.

One of the priority areas of military construction within the Organization is military-technical cooperation, regulated by the 2000 Special Agreement. As the main principle of this cooperation, a preferential regime of mutual deliveries of military products between the CSTO member states at prices set by them for their own armed forces, as well as law enforcement agencies and special services, is provided for.

In order to address issues of military-economic cooperation, an Interstate Commission for Military-Economic Cooperation has been established and is successfully operating, composed of the Deputy Prime Ministers of the CSTO member States responsible for this sector of work, and headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation ((now – Yuri Ivanovich Borisov). As part of its activities, work continued on the development of cooperative ties between defense enterprises of the member States and the defense industries of the Russian Federation, and the establishment of service centers for the maintenance and repair of weapons and military equipment in the CSTO member States. Cooperation projects between the member States of the Organization are implemented on a bilateral and multilateral basis.

Countering modern security challenges and threats.

In matters of countering the contemporary challenges and threats to the CSTO collective security, priority is given to the fight against international terrorism and extremism, drug trafficking, illegal migration and human trafficking, criminal and destructive activities in the information space.

Countering terrorism and extremism 

The fight against terrorism and extremism is one of the main components of the CSTO activities.

In 2016, the heads of the CSTO member states, having comprehensively reviewed the situation in the Organization’s area of responsibility, decided to implement a set of measures to counter international terrorism and extremism, which included a number of practical organizational measures as well as measures of a political and military nature aimed at developing the CSTO counterterrorism force capacity. 

Responding to the threats associated with the return to the countries of origin from the «hot spots» of the Middle East of persons who have received terrorist training and are involved in the activities of international terrorist organizations, since 2019 the CSTO has launched the annual special operation «Mercenary”. This operation is a direct, concrete contribution to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2178 and 2396.

Work continues on the formation of a single list of organizations recognized as terrorist on the territory of our States.

The «Plan of Collective Action of the CSTO Member States for Implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy for 2019-2021» was developed and implemented, under which effective, fruitful and versatile interaction with specialized structures of the UN and the OSCE was conducted.

At the regional level, cooperation with the CIS ATC, the SCO RATS is expanding, in the framework of which a permanent expert group was established and began its work. In February 2022, a joint position was signed by the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, the CIS Anti-Terrorist Center and the CSTO Secretariat on combating terrorism and extremism.

Countering drug trafficking

In order to achieve the objectives of countering this threat in the format of the Organization, in 2014, the Anti-Drug Strategy of the CSTO Member States for 2015–2020 was successfully implemented. In 2020, the Collective Security Council adopted a new Anti-Drug Strategy of the CSTO member States for 2021-2025..

Under the auspices of the Coordination Council of the Heads of the Competent Authorities for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking (CCBCD), since 2003 the CSTO has been running the Regional “Channel” anti-drug operation. During this time, more than 428 tons of drugs were seized during the operations, including more than 18 tons of heroin. 6,351 drug groups were identified and neutralized.

In order to carry out coordinated activities in the field of drug demand reduction, prevention of illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts in the member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, since 2013 the Coordination Meeting of the chief narcologists of the Organization’s member States has been operating on a systematic basis. 

Emergency response

In accordance with theapproved by the CSTO CSC in 2014 the Plan of Measures for the implementation of the Basic Guidelines for Developing a Critical Response System of the CSTO Member States to Emergencies within the Organization, work is underway to create Humanitarian Centers in the collective security regions; The development of a legal framework continues to ensure the deployment of state material reserves in the territory of the CSTO member States; the formation of a common information and software space for the exchange of operational information and the coordination of joint actions of the member States was completed; work continues on coordinating the activities of international organizations in order to use their potential in rendering assistance to victims in emergency situations.

Responsibility for the coordination of joint actions of the member States in the field of emergency response is assigned to established in 2007 the Emergency Coordination Council of the CSTO member States (ECC CSTO). 

Countering illegal migration and human trafficking

Since 2008, the Coordination Council of the Heads of the Competent Authorities of the CSTO Member States on Combating Illegal Migration (CIM) has been working effectively in the framework of the CSTO.

Since 2008, operational preventive measures in the CSTO format as part of operation “Illegal” have been conducted, aimed at identifying and preventing violations of migration legislation, including by citizens of third countries.

In the period since 2008 during the operation «Illegal» over 1,7 million violations of migration legislation were detected, fines were imposed for about 90 million US dollars, over 36 thousand criminal cases were opened for organizing illegal migration and 564 criminal cases for human trafficking, and over 135 thousand criminal cases for other types of crimes revealed during the activities. The law enforcement bodies detained about 6 thousand persons who were on the international wanted list.

Information space security

The Collective Security Strategy of the CSTO for the period up to 2025 noted that one of the main factors related to contemporary challenges and threats to the collective security of the CSTO was striving to achieve strategic goals using force, including information pressure, the use of information and communication technologies in order to provide a destructive impact on the socio-political and socio-economic situation, manipulating the public consciousness, the use of information and technology in the so-called «complex» or «hybrid» technology.

In the CSTO format, the formation of an information security system in the interests of the Organization’s member States began in 2006. During this time, at the level of the CSTO Collective Security Council, more than ten normative legal acts have been adopted that regulate the cooperation of the Organization’s member States in this area.

In order to coordinate joint actions under the CSTO Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils, a Working Group on Information Policy and Information Security has been formed.

The Protocol on the interaction of the CSTO member States in combating criminal activities in the information sphere entered into force.

Practical measures in the format of Operation PROXY (from the full name “Counteraction to crime in the field of information”)are being implemented on an ongoing basis to counter crime in the field of information technology. The main purpose of the operation is to identify and suppress information resources in the national segments of the Internet, the content of which damages or may damage the national and collective security of the Organization’s member States. In total, during the operation PROXI from 2008 to 2021, operation «PROXY» was carried out 13 times. During these years more than 377 thousand information resources and more than 1.9 million information links aimed at inciting national and religious discord, causing political damage to national and allied interests, spreading ideas of terrorist and extremist orientation in the interests of criminal groups, committing various crimes in the field of information technology were revealed. The activity of 148,000 information resources and more than 1.5 million information links was suspended and 295,000 criminal cases were initiated.

In December 2014, the CSTO Collective Security Council decided to establish a Collective Security Treaty Organization Coordinating Center for Computer Emergency Response (CCC). As part of its activities, the list of the most important objects of the national information infrastructure is being finalized, the security of which requires joint monitoring. The exchange of information about cyber attacks has been established.

An important task of the CSTO is the training and retraining of specialists in all areas of its activities. Every year, about 1,500 people from the member States of the Organization study on preferential terms or free of charge at universities of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. On similar conditions, students from the CSTO countries are trained in specialized universities of the Republics of Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In addition, in educational institutions of higher professional education of the Russian Federation, about 200 representatives of the Organization’s member States annually study in various civil specialties.

Parliamentary cooperation

On November 16, 2006, a meeting of the members of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS member States, members of the CSTO, was held in St. Petersburg, at which it was decided to create a CSTO Parliamentary Assembly. 

In December 2010, by the Decision of the CSTO CSC, the Parliamentary Assembly was included in the CSTO Charter as an inter-parliamentary cooperation body. The main form of work of the Parliamentary Assembly is plenary meetings, which are held, as a rule, at least once a year. Extraordinary plenary sessions may be convened by the PA Council of the CSTO.

The activities of the Parliamentary Assembly are organized by its Chairman and the Council, consisting of the heads of parliaments (heads of chambers of parliaments). At present, the Council is headed by the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation V.V. Volodin.

Council meetings are held both in St. Petersburg and in the capitals of the CSTO member States. Under the Council of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Coordination Meeting of the Chairmen of Defense and Security Committees (Commissions) on the Parliaments of the CSTO Member States and the Expert Advisory Council are functioning.

The working bodies of the Assembly are the three Permanent Commissions: on political issues and international cooperation, on issues of defense and security, on socio-economic and legal issues, and the Information and Analytical Legal Center, which meet twice a year. The permanent working body is the Secretariat of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly.

Information work

In the information sphere, the work of the CSTO focuses on the formation of a mechanism for information and analytical interaction within the Organization, coordinating approaches in information policy in the interests of collective security. Information and media support for CSTO activities is seen as an important area of work for the Organization and aims to inform target audiences in the member States and other countries about CSTO efforts to strengthen peace and security in its area of responsibility.

The principles and priorities of CSTO work in the information sphere are defined by the fundamental documents of the Organization, including the CSTO Charter, the CSTO Collective Security Strategy for the period until 2025, and the Action Plan for the development of a coordinated information policy in the interests of the CSTO member States.

Since the Organization’s inception, its leadership has made efforts to actively pursue an information policy. Press conferences and interviews with representatives of the leadership of the CSTO working bodies have traditionally been one of the main ways of disseminating relevant information. The CSTO was one of the first international organizations to organize media events by videoconferencing, involving studios in all member States of the Organization.

The information divisions of the Organization’s working bodies work closely with the media to provide as much detailed coverage as possible of issues related to the development of its power component.

One of the priorities is interaction between the CSTO working bodies and the press services of the authorities of the Organization’s member States.

Active work with the political science communities of the Organization’s member States. Discussions on international security issues are held in the format of the CSTO Academic and Expert Council and the CSTO Analytical Association. Reports and final recommendations are sent to the member States of the Organization and are used in the work of the Secretariat and the Joint Staff. In organizing and conducting such events, the CSTO Secretariat cooperates with the Gorchakov Foundation for the Support of Public Diplomacy and the strategic research centers of the Organization’s member States.

Traditionally, important attention has been given to interaction with student associations and to strengthening ties among the youth of the Organization’s countries. To this end, the CSTO University League was established, which includes higher educational institutions of the Organization’s member States that specialize in political science, journalism, and a number of other humanities disciplines.

Sports competitions are held under the auspices of the CSTO, in which representatives of both CSTO member States and third countries participate. Among the disciplines are sambo, comprehensive martial arts and practical shooting.

At the request of the Secretariat, on the occasion of the CSTO anniversary dates, the leading television companies make documentaries on the activities of the Organization. In particular, for the 15th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty, the Interstate Television and Radio Company «Mir» has produced documentaries «Challenges of Time», for the 20th anniversary «CSTO is 20 Years. Together We Are Strong!» and «From Treaty to Organization, 25 Years of Collective Security» on the 25th anniversary. The RT TV channel is currently preparing a new documentary — on the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Collective Security Treaty, in which through interviews with heads of state, foreign and defense ministers, diplomats, servicemen of the units of the Collective Security Treaty presents the history of the creation, development and strengthening of the CSTO as an international multifunctional regional security structure.

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