Moscow is trying to play the role of arbiter that it

Moscow is trying to play the role of arbiter that it


In an editorial, the publication La Monde analyzes Russia’s influence in the violence between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and between Armenia and Azerbaijan, thus Moscow is trying to play the role of referee it claims. A sign that testifies to the weakening of the Russian president on the international stage.

But geopolitics is ruthless as soon as signs of weakness appear. Vladimir Putin can see this now that his troops have just suffered a bitter setback in Ukraine, forced to retreat to the Kharkiv region under pressure from forces in Kyiv. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan certainly gave him an opportunity to take a family photo, with Chinese President Xi Jinping in particular, but his counterparts were not eager to support him.

Specifically, the Kremlin master admitted that he has to take into account Chinese “concerns” about a conflict that indirectly affects the economy of the Asian giant. The “unlimited” partnership struck in Beijing by the two countries on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine is clearly being tested. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was even more direct with the Russian president, assuring that “no [era] time for war”. Vladimir Putin hesitated as much as he could, telling his interlocutor that he wanted this war to end “as quickly as possible”, before saying otherwise to the Russian media a little later, according to lemonde.fr

The bad pass that Moscow is going through does not escape anyone

At the moment, even if the fate of the weapons is far from being decided in Ukraine, this bad pass that Moscow is going through does not escape anyone. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian verified this for himself when he unsuccessfully sought the application of Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that binds his country to Russia, as well as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, following the fighting with the armed forces of Azerbaijan. Vladimir Putin was content to ask the belligerents to respect the ceasefire.

In comparison, the Russian president has done it again in recent days to try to end equally deadly clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, advocating for diplomacy that he has erased from his vocabulary on Ukraine. His calls for settling disputes “exclusively by peaceful means” only underscored the limits of the CSTO, which nevertheless aims to make Moscow the guarantor of security in post-Soviet Eurasia.

And as an irony of fate, this organization’s pact, based on the model of NATO, was applied for the first time in Kazakhstan, at the beginning of the year. The intervention of Russian troops under this flag to suppress the demonstrations triggered by a sudden increase in the price of gas did not prevent the country’s new strongman, President Kasim-Iomart Tokaev, from distancing himself from Moscow in the Ukrainian business and getting closer to Beijing. Incidentally, Xi Jinping also honored him with his first visit abroad since the pandemic, on September 14.

In the nearly fifteen years since Russia intervened in the separatist provinces of Georgia, Vladimir Putin has ramped up his military strikes, from Syria to Libya, while Russian influence has grown in Africa. This activism, too long underestimated, brought the Kremlin master some prestigious successes. The failures suffered in Ukraine, the involuntary strengthening of NATO that this aggression triggered, the even more accentuated asymmetry in favor of China of the alliance between the great “revisionist” powers or even the lasting decoupling with Europe accelerated by sanctions, are painful returns to reality.