Eurasian security: current issues and ways of ensuring security in the region

Abstract. The article analyzes current security issues on the Eurasian continent; the performance of the UN and other international organizations as factors in regional stability; and the role and influence of the latter in the area of conflict resolution. Taking into account Kazakhstan's initiatives, recommendations have been made for improving security mechanisms on the continent.


In the context of globalization, which has radically changed the world economy and politics in recent decades, security on the Eurasian continent is undermined not only by the military, but also by other economic, social, humanitarian and environmental sources of instability. Intensification of international terrorism, illegal migration, drug trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction present serious threats to Eurasian security. The emergence of new focal points of instability in various regions of both Europe and Asia is promoted by aggressive nationalism and ethnic and religious intolerance. At the same time, the most serious challenges for pan-Eurasian security arise from the rivalry of major powers and regional conflicts.

In the context of the escalation of the militarypolitical situation in a number of regions of the Eurasian continent, the urgent task is to find ways to reduce interstate confrontation, as well as to improve mechanisms for strengthening stability in the Eurasian space.

Research methods

During the research the following various research methods were applied: system analysis; logical methods (analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, analogies, generalization); methods of establishing the cause-and-effect relation of the processes studied; formalization methods; and the methods of modern political science, military science and a number of other related sciences.

  1. Current issues of Eurasian security

The events of the last decade show that most of the problems of global security arose due to the clash of strategic interests of the leading world powers in various regions of the Eurasian continent. In fact, the system of international security in the Eurasian space was created in the interests of a separate group of countries, which is disputed by other states, since their legitimate interests are most often ignored and impaired. And in this regard, the intensifying confrontation between different centers of power, groups of countries and individual states due to different perceptions and interpretations of the same events [1] has become the dominant trend both in Europe and in Asia.

During this period, about 80% of all international conflicts and local wars arose in Eurasia. At the same time, most of them were provoked or introduced from the outside in order to redraw the continental geopolitical map. To this end, measures are being taken to neutralize the geopolitical potential of the leading regional powers. Trade, economic, financial and information wars are being actively pursued against countries considered undesirable.

The strategic situation on the continent has therefore changed significantly. The rigid bipolarity and unipolarity of the cold war has been replaced by multipolarity, with the involvement of several independent centers of power and great powers. Consequently, most of the problems of Eurasian and global security have arisen due to the clash of their strategic interests in the various regions of the continent.

The escalation of the current international situation is associated with a number of trends that favor the emergence of or raise the likelihood of new and existing threats.

First, unilateral action on the part of individual countries and their coalitions in different regions, as well as their desire to use force in international relations have had a negative impact on the stability and predictability of the international situation on the Eurasian continent. Strengthening this trend contributes to reducing the credibility of existing international organizations; and their real ability to influence the development of the geopolitical situation.

Second, in conditions of the insufficient regulatory influence of the United Nations and the reduction of the effectiveness of mechanisms of other international organizations, individual countries make attempts to secure a dominant role in the system of international relations and create the conditions for promoting their own national interests at the expense of the interests of other states, artificially destabilizing and making unpredictable the situation for these purposes in a number of countries and regions in Europe and Asia.

Third, along with the traditional complex of challenges and threats to national security, the role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals is increasing, which in some cases greatly outperform military means in their effectiveness. Targeted support for terrorist organizations; encouraging illegal migration; inciting ethnic and religious conflicts; drug trafficking; and transnational organized crime are all widely used to undermine the national security of states and destabilize the situation in various regions of the continent.

Fourth, in the context of the intensification of the struggle for resources and sales markets, the practice of imposing economic sanctions to bypass the UN Security Council and provoking financial and economic crises has become widespread, which in aggregate damage is comparable to the large-scale use of military force.

Fifth, the information and psychological struggle has widened its scope in order to weaken those countries that are or may become competitors in terms of achieving the stated strategic, political and economic goals. The tools used in such a struggle can change the main geopolitical potential of the state - the national mentality, culture, moral and psychological state of the population. For this, the most modern technologies, forms of illegal activity in cyberspace and high technology are being improved. In order to manipulate the public mind and revitalize protest sentiment, the practice of publishing materials in the controlled media with extremely tendentious coverage of the activities of the authorities of objectionable states is widely used.

Sixth, in recent decades, qualitatively new threats to international security have appeared on the Eurasian continent. At the same time, previously existing threats, resulting from direct rivalry between the most powerful military states and their unions, have moved into the background.

Today, such threats are international terrorism, the illicit proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, the drug business and illegal migration, as well as internal armed conflicts.

These threats have existed before, but not on such a scale. A significant increase in their importance in recent years is explained by the development of internal potential and the danger of each of these threats and their combination.

Thus, in recent years, the creation of a new quality of terrorism has been observed. From a local phenomenon, known previously in individual countries, it has turned into the refusal to recognise state borders and global transnational movement, both in the list of participants and in the geography of the terrorist acts. As an ideological base, it uses radical religious teachings. The new quality of international terrorism is complemented by the coalescence of its national manifestations with the systems of the global movement. The organizational structure of this movement is also developing, based on the network principle of the interaction of autonomous and initiative cells. Having received an initial impetus from Al-Qaida, the international terrorism movement has acquired the dynamics of self-development and adaptation to local conditions in different parts of the world.

Another threat at the forefront of this situation and acquiring a new quality is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The sharply increased relevance of this threat is largely related to the potential possibility of linking it with the threat of international terrorism.

Seventh, a serious destabilizing effect on international security is exerted by conflicts in the Middle East, in a number of countries in South Asia, and also in Ukraine.

Individual states are taking action aimed at supporting nationalist sentiments, xenophobia, separatism and violent extremism in these areas. At the same time, external intervention in domestic conflicts most often becomes the main destabilizing factor. It has a negative impact on the course of internal political processes and the socio-economic development of states, destroys established cultural traditions, and undermines the legitimacy of not only the authorities, but also the opposition. As a result, chronic instability occurs, which often turns into an acute conflict situation.

As a result of large-scale anti-government speeches, state coups were carried out in a number of countries in order to bring pro-western forces to power. The civil wars whihc were unleashed became the cause of economic collapse in the states that had previously had a fairly high level of socio-economic development. Ethnicconfessional discrimination, radicalization and terrorism led to widespread violence in these countries.

Inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts which were unleashed became a kind of catalyst for the emergence of international terrorist and extremist groups, which not only destabilized the situation in individual countries, but also became a real threat to the security of neighboring regions and the entire continent.

Thus, the civil war in Syria plunged a whole region into crisis and called into question the existing state borders in the Middle East. It entailed the aggravation of terrorist activity not only in the countries of the region, but also far beyond its borders. It became the main cause of the most large-scale exodus of refugees and the onset of the migration crisis in Europe since the Second World War [2]. Thus, as a result of this, one saw the growth of the popularity of right-wing and nationalist ideology in a number of European countries, the exit of Great Britain from the EU, the restoration of borders and the appearance of fences on them, as a result of which considerable problems were created for the continued existence of the Schengen zone.

Eighth, in recent decades, the escalating crisis of international law has been becoming increasingly obvious, which has had a significant impact on the behavior of various states and their coalitions in the field of international security.

The erosion of international law against the background of the weakening of the role of the UN, OSCE and other international organizations in preventing and resolving crisis situations in various regions of Europe and Asia is becoming a dangerous challenge to global security.

The adoption of decisions on armed interventions in Yugoslavia in 1999 and Iraq in 2003 bypassing the UN Security Council significantly reduced the effectiveness of this Organization and the principles governing the sphere of international security.

The Syrian and then the Ukrainian crises significantly undermined global security and revealed differences in perceptions of its fundamental foundations. Against the background of existing contradictions between countries that support various parties in these conflicts, the basic norms and principles of international law, established in the UN Charter, are interpreted differently.

Another major cause of the crisis of the modern system of international law and the UN is the desire of a number of countries to act outside the legal field, including on issues of international security. This is evidenced by cases of deliberate circumvention of the UN Security Council during a number of major international armed intervention actions; and refusal to accede to such important instruments of international law as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [3] and the International Criminal Court, etc.

Thus, at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, radical qualitative changes are taking place in the security sphere on the Eurasian continent. The potential for conflict in Europe and in Asia continues and has increased due to the confrontation of leading powers and world centers of power. Trust between the various parties has been completely destroyed: they are not ready for coordinated actions to neutralize contemporary challenges and threats. This creates a security vacuum and is the basis for instability in the Eurasian space, since there is no certainty and predictability in a number of areas of international relations.

On improving security mechanisms on the continent

The modern situation on the continent with new challenges and threats, as well as their increasing complexity, makes real the issue of the formation of a unified Eurasian security system. Only a system of this kind is able to keep the rest of the world from the danger of unleashing large- scale military conflicts.

Ensuring stability both in Europe and in Asia is possible only if existing security mechanisms are improved, as well applying established methods of problem solving in terms of international relations.

The task of improving the UN legal mechanism in the interests of modernizing the global security system is of particular relevance.

Guidelines and the principles of security are set within UN by forming modern international law and standards of foreign policy behavior of states. On the basis of international conventions and treaties adopted within the framework of the UN, regional agreements and arrangements are being developed, as well as mechanisms for implementing international conventions, treaties and resolutions of the Security Council. The UN legal mechanism is therefore the most effective and promising mechanism for maintaining international peace and security.

In this regard, the construction and effective operation of the Eurasian security system is possible only on the basis of the rule of international law.

  1. Solutions to the most pressing problems of international security should not be under the jurisdiction of individual states, their coalitions or military alliances. Collective security issues should only be solved using UN mechanisms.

In particular, the use of military force against sovereign states should be carried out only by the UN forces, with the widest possible participation of various states. Forced actions without the sanction of the Security Council contradict the very essence of the collective security system based on the UN Charter. Only this document is a generally accepted legal basis for the use of force.

The provisions of the UN Charter on measures to resolve conflicts and combat aggression are therefore of particular importance. Today, the UN is the only organization that, in the person of the Security Council, has the authority to use coercive measures using military force in the event of a violation of international peace and security.

  1. In the face of growing confrontation between world powers, the UN’s role in ensuring global security is significantly increasing. At the same time, in order to increase the efficiency of the UN, a serious reform of the organization itself, especially its main body, the Security Council, is necessary. It is necessary to expand its composition, so that it more truly reflects the balance of power in the world and the representation of states in solving world problems. This will enhance the role and authority of the UN in the eyes of the entire international community.
  2. In the interest of modernizing the global security system, along with the UN reform, it is necessary to strengthen the role of regional organizations, transferring to them some of the UN powers.

At the same time, within the framework of regional bodies (organizations), mutual security or mutual-assistance agreements based on Article 51 of the UN Charter should not turn the relevant regional organizations into military-political alliances or blocks, which is fundamentally contrary to the global collective security system.

In accordance with Article 53 of the UN Charter, no coercive action is permitted by regional organizations without the authority of the Security Council [4].

Current trends in the development of the Eurasian continent convincingly demonstrate that a comprehensive approach to security and cooperation requires the practical and gradual application of confidence-building measures. The solution of the accumulated problems in the field of security in Europe and in Asia is closely connected with the adoption and implementation of the concept of a comprehensive system of international security.

In this regard, the promotion of the Kazakhstan initiative, proposed by N.A. Nazarbayev at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, on building a conflict-free world based on the concept of “New Future”, as well as the “Plan of the Global Strategic Initiative-2045”, has great significance [5].

Kazakhstan’s proposals are aimed at solving an urgent task - the creation of a comprehensive international security system. On the one hand, they are based on the UN Charter and the basic principles of international law, and on the other hand, they are designed to contribute to the creation of a better mechanism for ensuring peace and maintaining the international legal order than is provided for in this document.

The concept of “New Future” covers a variety of aspects of relations between states which can ensure international security: military, political, economic, humanitarian and environmental, etc.

This will require the creation of new international legal norms, as well as the adaptation of already existing norms to new conditions. In this regard, it seems appropriate to develop within the UN a long-term plan of action for the development of all branches of international law.

Within the UN Secretariat, the Kazakhstani side could initiate the compilation of a list of areas and problems for which new international legal norms should be created. In the future, this list should be sent for approval to all UN member states and then finalized according to their comments and suggestions.

It is necessary to intensify work within the framework of various UN structures and institutions in order to engage them in the discussion of Kazakhstan proposals. This will make it possible to develop common approaches, assessments and criteria for joint efforts to achieve stability and security at the global level.

In modern conditions, the implementation of Kazakhstan’s initiative to create a security community and transform the OSCE region into a place where the relations of the member states among themselves are governed by agreed rules becomes extremely relevant. The specific challenges set forth in the Astana Declaration have currently been gaining particular relevance [6]. The need for greater efforts to contain, prevent, resolve conflicts and implement post-conflict settlement is more urgent than ever.

As OSCE member states try to cope with the consequences of the Ukrainian crisis, the continuing instability in Afghanistan and the migration crisis in Europe, Kazakhstan’s position has become even more relevant, based on the belief that security in the OSCE region is inextricably linked to the security of neighboring regions.

In the light of existing challenges, the important task of Kazakhstan’s diplomacy is painstaking work with OSCE member states aimed at finding a way out of crisis situations, adhering to the common values and principles underlying the Helsinki Final Act, the Astana Declaration and other landmark documents. Despite the existing differences in the positions and views of the member states, the OSCE has a large set of tools that can contribute to progress on all three security changes in its area of responsibility.

The dynamically developing geopolitical and geo-economic processes in Asia pose new challenges for the countries of the region. Their solution is possible only with a joint approach. Finding the right solutions that ensure the stability and sustainable development of all states is hardly possible in modern conditions without active interaction, together with frank and open dialogue.

N.A. Nazarbayev’s idea of multilateral promotion of the concept of collective security in the region, implemented as a CICA process, is thus of great international importance.

In his speech at the CICA Summit in Shanghai in May 2014, the President of Kazakhstan, N.A. Nazarbayev, proposed, by analogy with the OSCE, the idea of creating an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Asia [7].

The implementation of this Kazakhstan’s initiative has the capacity to contribute to the synchronization of security processes in Asia and Europe as the first stage, and subsequently to the creation of a unified Eurasian security system.

Thus, the current situation in Afghanistan, in the Middle East, in a number of other regions requires forming a unified Eurasian security area to prevent the danger of large-scale military conflicts.


Currently, the world community has entered a qualitatively new period of development. The hopes of the peoples of the world that the conflicts caused by global antagonism between the West and the East will cease after the end of the Cold War have not come to fruition. Tensions and instabilities on the Eurasian continent not only persist but are in fact steadily escalating. At the same time, new threats have emerged, primarily related to domestic armed conflicts, international terrorism, cross-border crime, arms and drug trafficking, and illegal migration.

New threats and challenges are transboundary in nature, demonstrating that security in the modern world is not only a national but an international problem. The nature of the new threats to international peace and security is such that they can only be successfully fought together; and only on the basis of respect for each other’s interests and wider international cooperation.

Existing threats to international peace and security in both Europe and Asia can only be resolved through international cooperation and the maintenance of international law and order.

The path to ensuring the national security of each individual state of the continent lies through the all-round strengthening of the global and common Eurasian security system. In modern conditions, the task of improving the UN legal mechanism in the interests of modernizing the global security system is of particular relevance.

At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the legitimate interests of all states, without exception, since it is impossible to ensure their national security at the expense of the security of other countries: security should be equal for all.

Thus, addressing security concerns requires a comprehensive and integrated approach. Now the urgent task is to form, under the auspices of the UN and with the participation of other international and regional organizations, a global system for responding to the threats and challenges of the 21st century.

The ongoing crises in various regions of Europe and Asia show that conflicts of all types and at all levels not only threaten the security of millions of people, but also undermine the global economy with far-reaching consequences. Therefore, the response and approaches to the solution of key security issues should be systematic and complex.

In this regard, the promotion of the Kazakhstan initiative proposed by N.A. Nazarbayev at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, on building a conflict-free world based on the concept of “New Future”, as well as the “Plan of the Global Strategic Initiative-2045”, has great significance.

It is necessary to synchronize Kazakhstan's efforts within the framework of various structures and institutions of the UN, OSCE, CICA and SCO in order to engage them in the discussion of these proposals. This will make it possible to develop common approaches, assessments and criteria for joint efforts to achieve stability and security at the regional and global level.

Kazakhstan, being an active and initiative member of the OSCE, the CICA and the SCO, can become a link in creating a common Eurasian security system. The mediation efforts undertaken by our country in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, creating a platform for dialogue around the Iranian nuclear issue and organizing negotiations on the Syrian crisis demonstrate the potential of Kazakhstan as an important link in Eurasian security.

Currently, the countries of the Eurasian continent face the task of creating a common security space in the interests of successful implementation of a number of projects and programs aimed at strengthening their socioeconomic potential. In this regard, the initiative to create an international organization for security and cooperation in Asia on the basis of the CICA, first proposed by the President of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev during the Shanghai CICA Summit in 2014, is very relevant.

Such an integration, acting almost throughout Asia and possessing enormous political, economic, scientific, technical and cultural potential, will have all the necessary tools to prevent and resolve crises.

Kazakhstan as the initiating country should intensify the discussion of this issue among the CICA participants. This task should be one of the priorities of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy.

High dynamics and instability of the geopolitical situation require Kazakhstan to work on vartious levels with its partners in the UN, other international organizations and regional associations, in the interests of creating a common Asian security system. Active and purposeful work on the implementation of initiatives of Kazakhstan aimed at improving the efficiency and improvement of the activities of the UN, OSCE and other regional organizations; and the development and introduction into international practice of various security regimes will help overcome problems in international relations which have accumulated over time.



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  3. Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) - https://
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  5. Speech of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev at the General Debate of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly // Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, September 29, 2015.
  6. The Astana Commemorative Declaration - Towards a Security Community // Second day of the Summit in Astana, December 3, 2010 - ru/cio/74990?download=true
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Year: 2018
City: Almaty