“Kazakhstan can replace Ukraine in Russian-American relations”
Russian-American consultations on security guarantees have started in Geneva. The central issue is the draft treaty that Russia sent to the United States and its allies in mid-December. It includes provisions on reducing the number of military exercises, mutual non-deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles in each other's reach and refusing to further expand NATO at the expense of the post-Soviet republics. The political scientist told how the events in Kazakhstan will affect the negotiation process.
The meeting of the Russian Federation and the United States in Geneva is held in a closed format. The Russian delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin, and the American delegation by the United States First Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The sides held preliminary talks in the format of a working dinner the day before. The deputy head of the Russian foreign policy department noted that the conversation was difficult, but businesslike.
Even before the start of the negotiation process, the United States emphasized that some of Russia's proposals were unacceptable to them. Moscow, in turn, stated that the project was not of an ultimatum nature, however, the country would not agree to unilateral concessions, especially under pressure. Nevertheless, Ryabkov did not rule out that consultations with the American side would be limited to one meeting and there would be no point in continuing them. However, according to him, this threatens a new round of confrontation.
As a reminder, the talks on security guarantees will be held in three stages: on January 12, two days after the meeting in Geneva, a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council will take place in Brussels, and the next day – consultations at the Vienna platform of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“Today we can say with complete confidence that the situation in Kazakhstan and, in particular, the introduction of Russian troops into the territory of this country, influenced the consultations between the Russian Federation and the United States on security guarantees in the most negative way,” the chief researcher of the Institute comments on MK. USA and Canada RAS Vladimir Vasiliev. – Although the American delegation does not directly link these factors, the shadow of Kazakhstani events will constantly hang over the negotiating table in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna.
The United States, judging by its preliminary reaction, has not yet reached far-reaching conclusions about this situation. And she is becoming more and more unpredictable every day. The Americans still need to figure out what is happening in Kazakhstan and understand what steps to take when the wave of violence subsides. ”
According to the expert, the Kazakh factor is of a double nature for Washington. On the one hand, even before the New Year, Russia declared that if it did not receive advising guarantees from the United States and NATO regarding its security, it would act quite decisively. And in the West, in this case, they understood, given the concentration of troops around the Ukrainian border, that the Russian Federation could use force at any moment.
“Unexpectedly, the situation in Kazakhstan showed that Moscow, in order to ensure its vital national interests, can in fact use forceful methods and that this, of course, must be reckoned with,” the political scientist continues. “Therefore, today Kazakhstan in Russian-American relations can, in a sense, replace Ukraine. The United States understands that it must be extremely careful and careful with Russia, and that its claims were not born out of nowhere.
On the other hand, the Russian side has long and consistently denied that it could use force against Ukraine. This, of course, was not believed in Washington. Many American analysts have repeatedly noted that such a step can only complicate the prospects for the conclusion of guarantees, the prospects for which have become rather dim in recent years.
Moreover, the West understands very well that the guarantees it can give are not a panacea for the fact that Russia will not use forceful methods, believing that in case of any changes in the situation on the world stage, it can rely on a legal document, and not on its own.
In any case, Kazakhstan has changed the prospects for the current round of negotiations, which began on January 10 and will end by the end of the week. And today the main discussion rests on yet another serious problem, which is related to the intentions and goals of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Until the end of the year, it was clear that the talks between Moscow and Washington would focus exclusively on security elements. That is to say, the form corresponded to the content, and the documents that were sent to the USA and NATO were self-contained. However, today in America they do not quite understand what exactly the Russian leader wants.
According to most Western analysts, the whole idea of these negotiations is connected with Putin's desire to leave a significant mark on history. Today, these agreements are his attempt to remain in the memory of Russians and the chronicles of the Russian Federation as a great political figure. This is the strategic plan of the Russian leader and determines the policy of 2014 in relation to Crimea, and now in relation to Kazakhstan.
And in this regard, the Western powers found themselves at a crossroads. They do not understand whether it is now necessary to meet Putin halfway, because this will only strengthen his prestige both inside the country and abroad.
And Kazakhstan has just shown that the Russian leader has strategic goals. It is about strengthening Russia's influence in the post-Soviet space. And the West, of course, would not like to help Putin in this.
Since the negotiations are partly linked to Putin's goals regarding his political future and place in history, the United States is in some kind of confusion. They do not know how to behave in these matters. Whether it is necessary to counteract or to turn a blind eye to it. In any case, this adds uncertainty to the situation. The West has not yet figured out the strategy of the Russian leader's behavior, which is undoubtedly a factor paralyzing the effectiveness of the Geneva talks. ”