Late last year, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia massed troops on its border with Ukraine and issued draft agreements with the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) spelling out demands for changes to the European security order including no further expansion of NATO. With the United States and its European allies and partners embarking on a series of pivotal negotiations with Moscow beginning January 9 in Geneva, mass protests erupted in Kazakhstan in the first week of 2022 and the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) intervened militarily at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. What are Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions? How should the U.S. and its allies respond to Russia’s moves? What are the implications of the Kazakhstan uprising? Below, Brookings experts reflect on recent developments in the former Soviet Union and offer policy recommendations.
Thirty years have passed since the end of the Cold War. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the armed standoff between East and West in Europe, and the collapse of the Soviet Union brought high hopes. The new post-Cold War political and security order envisioned a Euro-Atlantic community whole and free, from Vancouver to Vladivostok. Russia, the United States, and the major European powers would all be part of an integrated order with shared values.