Senior Kremlin Official Accuses NATO of Plotting ‘Color Revolutions’ in Russia’s Neighborhood

Dimitri Simes | July 5, 2019 | 2:14am EDT
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Rashid Nurgaliyev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Moscow ( – A senior Russian official has accused NATO of plotting “color revolutions” in neighboring countries and trying to “sow discord” among Russia’s allies in former Soviet Union constituent states.

Rashid Nurgaliyev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told Rossiskaya Gazeta on Tuesday that, “the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries, relying on NATO, continue to heighten tensions in the world.”

“Unjustified accusations and distortion of the actual situation along with the expansion of economic sanctions are used by Western countries as a means of direct pressure and blackmail,” he added.

Nurgilyev asserted that NATO sought to overthrow the governments of Russia’s partners in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance between Russia and five other post-Soviet states in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

“It is not a secret for us that NATO members are preparing the conditions for bringing to power in certain CSTO countries regimes controlled by the West, including through provoking ‘color revolutions’,” he said.

Russia’s CSTO partners are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

The term “color revolutions” refers to a wave of political uprisings in then-Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan during the early to mid-2000s, which saw leaders friendly to the Kremlin replaced by more pro-Western ones.

Nurgaliyev did not rule out the possibility of “fruitful cooperation with the NATO bloc,” citing counterterrorism and controlling mass illegal migration as areas where Russia and NATO have shared interests.

But he warned of NATO’s “anti-Russian character” and claimed that the Western military alliance aimed “to sow discord with our allies” in the CSTO.

The remarks come at a time of heightened tensions between NATO and Russia. President Trump’s decision last month to transfer 1,000 U.S. troops from Germany to Poland sparked an outcry in Moscow. The foreign ministry called the move “destabilizing and escalating.”

On Monday, two Russian warships conducted maneuvers in the Norwegian Sea ahead of a planned NATO naval exercise there.

NATO is a longstanding area of anxiety for Russia. Since the 1990s Moscow has vocally opposed the alliance’s expansion eastward.

In a speech shortly after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin argued that the step was a necessary response to the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO. Such an outcome, according to Putin, would have created, “not an illusory but a perfectly real threat to the whole of southern Russia.”

Nurgaliyev, an Army general has served as deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council since 2012. Before that, he was Russia’s Minister of Interior for eight years.

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