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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: March 10, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Suspends Work With Treaty on Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
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The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was signed in the closing days of the Soviet Union, and it played a significant role in negotiating troop reductions in the last 20+ years.

Today, Russia has announced that it has ended all cooperation with the treaty. The Kremlin-operated propaganda network Sputnik reports:

"Russia took a decision to halt its participation in meetings of the consulting group from March 11, 2015. Thus, suspencion of actions in the CFE declared by Russia in 2007 becomes full," the statement reads.

The Russian Foreign Ministry added that "NATO countries actually prefer to bypass the provisions of the CFE Treaty by expanding the alliance."

An “adapted” version of the CFE treaty was signed in 1999, but NATO members refused to ratify it until Russia withdrew troops from Georgia and the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdnestria, a criterion Russia regards as an “artificial linkage.” In December 2007, Russia imposed a unilateral moratorium on the CFE treaty, citing it’s “irrelevance” over NATO's plans to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe and the alliance's refusal to ratify the adapted version. In November 2011, NATO member states said they would no longer exchange information on conventional weapons and troops with Russia. In November 2014, Russia suspended the implementation of the CFE Treaty.

Another English-language propaganda network, RT, adds that Russia had already basically stopped cooperating with the treaty years ago, and stresses the Kremlin line that NATO is to blame, not Russia:

1999 saw an “adapted” version of the treaty signed. However NATO members refused to ratify it until Russia withdrew troops from Georgia and the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdnestria. Russia slammed the condition as an “artificial linkage.”

In December 2007 this led to Moscow imposing a moratorium on the CFE treaty. Moscow also said the treaty was “irrelevant” since NATO planned to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe.

Four years later, the North Atlantic bloc stated exchange of information on conventional weapons and troops with Russia would be stopped. In November 2014, Moscow suspended the implementation of the CFE Treaty.

One key component of this treaty, and several others including the Helsinki Accords and the Budapest Memorandum, provide for all signatories to respect international borders and sovereignty, refrain from the use of force, and engage in other co-operative measures, including mutually informing of military drills and significant troop movements. Though Russia believes that its actions in Moldova and Georgia (and now Ukraine) are unrelated to the treaty, the fact is that Russia's actions in all of those countries are viewed by all or nearly all of the signatories as violations that these treaties were specifically designed to prevent.

It's also worth noting that the treaty was initially signed by the countries which were then in the NATO alliance and the Warsaw Pact. Some of the signatories who were then part of the Warsaw Pact are now part of NATO, including Poland, Romania, and Hungary, as well as multiple nations which were part of the Soviet Union. In other words, Russia stands nearly alone now, and it's revisionist history to blame NATO for that.

-- James Miller