Russia will not put stumbling blocks for CIS counties trying to join NATO, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in his exclusive interview with the Itogi magazine.
"Trying to affect [their joining NATO] has no future," Ivanov stressed. "Joining or not is up to every independent state and only to it."
At the same time, according to the Russian defense minister, none of the CIS countries will join NATO in the near future, because "they are just not prepared for that" and NATO, in its turn, is not ready to accept them. Still, Ivanov does not rule out that this will take place one day, and then a certain readjustment of Russia's policies towards those countries will be unavoidable. At the same time, those countries' policies towards Russia will change too.
"However, the issue is sure not to emerge in the coming five to seven years," the minister opined.
He also said that while supporting the democratization in the CIS countries whole-heartedly, Russia can update its military planning principles in case of internal instability and attempts to roll back the democratic reforms in those countries.
"However, speaking of the current situation in the former Soviet Union, I see no such threats," Ivanov said.
As far as a possible CIS dissolution and ensuing strategic security threats to post-Soviet states are concerned, he said: "Firstly, the CIS was aimed at a "peaceful divorce", rather than integration. And it has done its job in this sense."
Secondly, the CIS has never been a military-political organization and has never claimed to be one.
"Therefore, I would not say we have to take some purely defensive measures," the Russian defense minister said.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23