Once upon a time in a post-perestroika film, Countess Prizorova from the Russian Empire had a dream that she was living in Moscow in the 1990s. The dream is by no means joyful, with all that it implies. To the psychologist’s question: “What is the name of this country?”, she answers: “CIS”. And to the question: “What is it?”, the Countess says: “But no one knows.”
When international cooperation is in the hands of the “oligarch”
No one knew what the Union of Independent States was in the new Russia either. At least Russian citizens. We were neither shaky nor rolled from this. We only found out when an influx of migrants from the Muslim Central Asian republics began to come to us. The last, of course, this name was relish. There was work, an attempt to gain a foothold in Russia. Although their mentality still did not change, no matter where they settled: in Moscow or Yekaterinburg.
The CIS and local new presidents, former party functionaries from the times of the USSR, rejoiced. It is clear that with such an ever-increasing Muslim population in the same Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan, presidents would change as a result of “revolutions” several times a year. But Russia saved them and is saving them, absorbing the “rebels” who, as life shows, for some reason, are often embedded in our country by radical Islamists, preferring to make a “revolution” here, and not in their own village.
The republics of the former USSR, which decided after 1991 to stick together, especially the “southerners”, as life has shown, were guided, first of all, by Moscow’s economic and military assistance. And if you also remember that once our “native” nouveau riche Boris Berezovsky was appointed to the post of executive secretary of the CIS – one could only guess about the bright future of the new state formation.
It is also worth remembering, speaking of Moscow’s assistance, that some republics had no experience of existence as a sovereign state at all. But time passed, we were engaged in “economic reforms”, and our allies began to rush from us to other patrons, flirting with China, NATO countries. Giving concessions to some minerals, others – military bases on the territory of their republics.
The latter were then taken away, keeping the Russian landmark at gunpoint and, at the same time, not forgetting to throw out the Russian-speaking population not only from command posts, but even from enterprises, which often supported the economy of the Central Asian republics. For some reason, the latter preferred to keep the surplus population in Russia. And we put up all sorts of obstacles for the return of the Russian population to the Fatherland, preferring migrants.
Allies remained on paper
In recent years, the relatively regular bloodshed between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan during border incidents, in which hundreds of people died, should have alerted our leadership. In the CIS, not everything is so blissful. But not to introduce the CSTO army there. And the Karabakh events now do not allow us to sleep peacefully. And then there is our military assistance in keeping the Nazarbayev regime in Kazakhstan.
The current President Tokayev, who took the post of “eternal” first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, instead of gratitude, immediately took an openly anti-Russian position, transferring trade with Russia under US sanctions. Although, back in the summer, in an interview, he said that the continuity of friendship, alliance between the two countries “is preserved in full.”
According to him, Kazakhstan “in no case renounces its allied obligations”, because it would be wrong and “unjustified from the point of view of the future,” but “the truth is more precious.” So they use the open borders between the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, roaming back and forth, and our deserters and, perhaps, “their” spies. One does not interfere. But it’s military time.
We omit the economic pros and cons of the thirty-year history of the CIS, although the citizens of the Russian Federation from the CIS have not received a penny for the last quarter of a century. But, speaking about today’s realities, when Russia has embarked on a military footing, there are many questions for some of our friends in the CIS. If not more. And the theme of the “necessity and usefulness” of this union for Russia was already called into question by many even in the years of its foundation.
During the Second World War, Moscow boldly used both the agricultural and human potential of Central Asia, including by evacuating the population there and building industrial enterprises. Today, this is not to be expected. And getting an unexpected stab in the back is not the time for us.