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Former USSR: Proposed New Military Component of a Political Union

(June 11, 2009) It was reported that on June14, 2009, the heads of state of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, former Soviet republics that had formed a military-political alliance in 2002 named the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), intend to sign an agreement on the creation of the Collective Rapid-Response Force, an international military force to provide security for the member states and to conduct “special operations to fight international terrorism and extremism, transnational organized crime, and drug trafficking, and to limit the consequences of emergency situations.” Russian President Dmitri Medvedev stated that the main reason for the creation of such a force is the “conflict potential that exists in the region,” and he mentioned the need to respond to a foreign military invasion or a terrorist attack as possible reasons to use this force. (Uzbekistan Slows Down the Creation of Collective Force [in Russian], NEWSRU.COM, June 3, 2009, available at

The decision to create the Collective Rapid-Response Force was made by the heads of the CSTO Member States on February 4, 2009. It was decided that the Force will be permanently located on Russian territory, and two Russian special operations brigades with attached foreign components of other participating states will form its core. The Russian Ministry of Defense has already established unified standards for military contingents of the participating forces, including specifications for the uniform.

However, the agreement has not yet been concluded because of the special position taken by Uzbekistan. This country's leadership insists that all decisions regarding the use of the Force be passed by consensus, not just by a majority of votes; that forces cannot be sent to a state where their presence will contradict national legislation; that the Force will not participate in resolving conflicts among the CSTO Member States; and that the agreement on the creation of the Force must be ratified by the national legislatures. (Uzbekistan Makes Conditions for Joining the Collective Force [in Russian], NEWSRU.COM, June 4, 2009, available at