Tension and Possible Effects of Draft Security Agreements on the Russia-US/NATO Line

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Recognizing and gaining admission as a great power in the international system has a major place in Russia. The Moscow administration, as a great power, contemplates that it has significant interests and sphere of influence in the post-Soviet geography and defines this area as the “near abroad”. The Kremlin which had obliged be accepted as a great power by the United States of America (US) and other Western powers within the scope of recent developments. Soon enough of the US President Joe Biden depicting Russia as an economy that “has nothing but nuclear weapons and oil reserves” [1], Moscow has submitted the draft agreements demanding security guarantees from the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Washington on December 15, 2021, and put forward this agreement to the international societies opinion.

Even the embracing of the US, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to meet with Moscow within the framework of draft agreements has indicated that Russia is a great power. In fact, there is Moscow on one side, and, there is the US, the global hegemon power and NATO which is the world’s largest political and military alliance consisting of 30 allied countries on the other. Nevertheless, it must be pointed that for the great power position of Russia to be accepted by the West, Moscow had to build between 100,000 and 150,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border and had exerted political, military and psychological pressure. Furthermore, China, which is the closest partner of Russia in this multipolar world order that supported by Moscow through a sense of its great power policy, has a great share in the formation of this situation. Likewise, while Russia is putting pressure on the US on the Atlantic front; China is also pushing the Washington administration on the Pacific.

The military policy pursued by the Moscow administration since 1991 gives essential clues about Russia’s strategic orientation. Although Moscow has been failed in the 1990s, it fought militarily in Chechnya to ensure its territorial integrity. With the Second Russia-Chechnya War, which was started when Vladimir Putin became Prime Minister and turned into a counter-terrorism operation, control was assumed in Chechnya and the North Caucasus in general.

Moreover, Russia had waged a fight against Georgia for five days in August of the same year by the reason of Ukraine and Georgia agreed to become NATO members in the future at NATO’s Bucharest Summit in 2008 and Tbilisi adopted pro-Western policies. As a result of the war, Moscow abolished its control over Tbilisi’s separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and recognized the independence of these regions. However, the mentioned regions are de-facto integrated with Russia.

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea using hybrid warfare tactics and supported the separatist movements in eastern Ukraine as a result of the pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s removal from power following protests against his refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union (EU).

Also, Moscow intervened militarily against the West’s strategy to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria and formed the basis of the survival of the Damascus administration in 2015. In addition to the current peacekeeping operations carried out by Russia, Russian peacekeepers settled in the Karabakh ceasefire line and the Lachin Corridor within the context of the Tripartite Declaration, which gave an end the Second Karabakh War, in which Azerbaijan liberated most of the Armenian-occupied territory in 2020. It was seen that Moscow was involved in the latest events in Kazakhstan within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) upon the request of Kazakhstan.

As it can be seen, Russia has actively engaged and is engaging its military power in order to provide at first its internal security, then external security and, in connection with this, “near-abroad” security and to protect its interests. Recently, Moscow has seek to resolve all of its military security issues with the United States, which it sees as the source of these issues, and the US’s security apparatus, NATO. Moscow, so to speak, is no longer mosquito-hunting; He is after drying the swamp. When the draft agreement texts are examined, it is seen that Moscow has many open-ended and subjective demands, such as “the parties refrain from creating situations and conditions that will be perceived as a threat to each other’s national security.” Moscow, so to speak, is no longer mosquito-hunting; it is pursuing the swamp drying. When the draft agreement texts are examined, it is seen that Moscow has many open-ended and subjective demands, such as “the parties refrain from creating situations and conditions that will be perceived as a threat to each other’s national security”.

Within this context, it can be said that Putin knows what he does not desire rather than what he desires.[2] The Kremlin administration demands by NATO to not expand in the former Soviet geography, that the US and Western powers do not have any military presence in there that short and medium-range missiles, that may enter the Russian airspace in an average of five minutes on the European continent, are not deployed.

For Russia, it is thought that the occupation of Ukraine will not be preferred as a priority, as it will deepen the conflict and polarization in addition to the existing problems with the West, and impute the solution of the problem to the soldiers because Moscow makes the current problem politically a bargaining chip. Moreover, according to the Kremlin, the issue is not only Ukraine; It is all former Soviet territory except the Baltic states. It is therefore much more effective when security demands are not met, to use the threat of military force as a powerful bargaining chip than to use direct military force for Moscow.

On the other side, considering that large military forces started to accumulate on the Ukrainian border by Russia in 2021 and the draft agreement texts were given to the US on December 15, 2021, it is considered that the demands and requests are new and all hopes for a solution have not been exhausted for Moscow yet. However, when world history is analyzed, it is seen that military conflicts and wars have arisen, even if it is unwanted.

Any reason can be effective in the occurrence of wars. Therefore, in an atmosphere where political and military tensions are eminent between Moscow and the West, it would not be an proper approach to completely exclude military conflict. Whereas; The main reason for the recent wars and military conflicts between Russia, Georgia and Ukraine is NATO. However, even if the possibility of war arises in the current situation, it is evaluated that the military conflict originating from Ukraine will not be on the territory of the states/alliance in question, since both the US-NATO and Russia have the deterrence provided by nuclear weapons, and the conflict will continue on the territory of Ukraine with proxy and hybrid war tactics.

The fact that the US and other Western states stated that Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine will be responded to with large-scale economic sanctions, as never seen in the past, and that Ukraine’s self-defence capability will be increased by supporting it, pointing out that the possible conflict would not remain at a limited level.

As a result, to predict the future of diplomatic talks and the military situation in the field, which started in Geneva on January 10, 2022, and will continue within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on January 12, 2022, and the Russia-OSCE meetings held in Vienna on January 13, 2022, is difficult. However, in the current situation, it does not seem possible for the US and NATO to make concessions from their mostly unearned interests, including written guarantees for the future.

Also, it is out of the question for Moscow to abandon its policy of keeping both a spatial and temporal buffer zone between the US and NATO, which it sees as vital. In this case, the most likely scenario to emerge is that the US and NATO postpone their political and military plans for the former Soviet geography for 10-20 years and the parties have tacitly agreed on this issue.

[1] “Remarks by President Biden at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence”, The White House,, (Date of Accession: 10.01.2022).

[2] Maxım A. Suchkov, “What is Russia’s Logic for the Current Crisis?”, War on The Rocks,, (Date of Accession: 10.01.2022).

Dr. Ahmet SAPMAZ
Dr. Ahmet SAPMAZ
Dr. Ahmet Sapmaz, 2000 yılında Kara Harp Okulu’ndan mezun olmuştur. 2006 senesinde de Harp Akademileri Stratejik Araştırmalar Enstitüsü Ulusal ve Uluslararası Güvenlik Stratejileri yüksek lisans programını “Rusya Federasyonu’nun Transkafkasya’ya Yönelik Dış Politikasının Türkiye’ye Etkileri” başlıklı teziyle tamamlamıştır. Sapmaz, 2016 yılında da Kara Harp Okulu Uluslararası Güvenlik ve Terörizm doktora programında “Rusya Federasyonu'nun Askeri Güvenlik Refleksindeki Dönüşüm” başlıklı tezini savunarak doktor unvanını kazanmıştır. Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri’nde 21 yıl görev yapan Sapmaz, 2015 yılında Harp Akademileri Komutanlık ve Karargâh Subaylığı eğitimini ve 2020 yılında da Milli Savunma Üniversitesi Karargâh Subaylığı eğitimini tamamlamıştır. Mesleği gereği Afganistan ve Azerbaycan’da da geçici görevlerde bulunan Sapmaz’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Rus dış politikası ve Kafkasya’dır. Bu bölgelere ilişkin yayınlanmış çeşitli makaleleri, kitap bölümleri ve kitapları bulunan Sapmaz, ileri derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Rusça bilmektedir.