Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Russia’s NATO is crumbling

May 10, 2023
Hello, Insiders! Spriha Srivastava, UK bureau chief, here. Today we take a deeper dive into Vladimir Putin’s version of the NATO military alliance, also known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, and how it’s crumbling since Russia invaded Ukraine.


Seen the group photo from the CSTO summit held in Yerevan last year? It’s awkward. This divide and lack of support from post-Soviet states is making Putin even more isolated.


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Russia’s NATO

KAREN MINASYAN / AFP via Getty Images; Insider
Russia’s version of NATO is crumbling, with even some of its closest allies frustrated by President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, is Putin’s equivalent of the NATO military alliance, made up of post-Soviet states. But unlike NATO, the organization has never been as powerful or cohesive as Russia would have liked.

And the organization has been increasingly creaking since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, experts told Insider.

Some of CSTO’s members have made unprecedented public snubs against Putin, including Tajikistan’s president demanding more respect in front of Putin in October and Armenia’s prime minister criticizing the effectiveness of the CSTO to Putin’s face and physically distancing himself from Putin in a group photo with alliance-member leaders.

Peter Frankopan, an expert on Russian and Balkans history at Oxford University, told Insider: “It is certainly true that Putin looks like his status has been downgraded.”


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This edition was curated by Spriha Srivastava, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Diamond Naga Siu, and J.R. Stacey. Get in touch:

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