Monday was a day of red lines for Vladimir Putin: Russia will not allow “color revolutions” in its neighborhood, he said, and will stand by its demands that NATO pull back from its borders and keep Ukraine out — even as Washington insists those are “non-starters.”
Driving the news: Putin said that by dispatching troops to Kazakhstan, the Moscow-led alliance had shown it “will not allow the situation to be rocked at home and will not allow so-called ‘color revolutions,'” a reference to the uprisings that toppled pro-Moscow governments in Georgia and Ukraine.
- Putin described at a virtual gathering of leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization the events in neighboring Kazakhstan as a foreign-backed terrorist operation, a claim for which there is little evidence.
- He said Russian troops would remain in Kazakhstan until order is restored and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev deems them no longer necessary.
- By inviting Russia in, Tokayev underscored Moscow’s position as security guarantor for regimes in the region. He may also have compromised his country’s sovereignty.
- Even if Russia doesn’t leave troops in the country, “it’s hard to imagine that Moscow wouldn’t try to secure something in exchange for this activation,” says Alexander Cooley, a Central Asia expert at Columbia University.