Author: D. A. FAYZULLAEV
With the arrival of the new US administration headed by President Barack Obama in 2009, the leitmotif of Russian-American cooperation was the slogan of "resetting" relations between the two countries, which had significantly deteriorated under the previous leadership of the White House.
The use of the term "reset" in the sphere of foreign policy most likely implies not only the mutual desire of the Russian and American sides to discuss topical foreign policy issues, smiles and friendly personal relations between the leaders of the two countries, but also a willingness to negotiate, i.e., first of all, to compromise and concede something to each other. their own geopolitical interests. And this is not an easy task: both Washington and Moscow creak to make concessions to each other in areas of their overlapping interests.
D. A. FAYZULLAEV
Doctor of Economics
The first statement about the" reset " was made on February 7, 2009 by US Vice President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference.1 He, speaking in Bucharest on October 21, 2009, stressed that, despite the "reset", " ... we have disagreements with Russia on basic fundamental issues.
..The United States opposes the nineteenth-century notion of"spheres of influence." We will not tolerate this approach..."2.
One of the traditional areas of Russian-American geopolitical rivalry is the Central Asian region. The development of the situation in this region in late 2008-2009 indicates that the" reset " of relations is taking place in parallel with the process of significant expansion and strengthening of the US military presence in Central Asia.
However, the war between the US-led NATO coalition forces and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan is heating up even more. But we cannot discount the more ambitious plans of some Washington circles, although such plans are relegated to the background after the removal from power of extreme neoconservatives, which was embodied in the Bush administration.
WHAT IS GREATER CENTRAL ASIA?
One of the obsessions of the previous administration was the reconstruction of the world in order to delineate new borders of familiar regions.
This idea was implemented, among other things, in the project on the creation of the Partnership for Cooperation and Development of Greater Central Asia (PCA). Such a project was developed in 2005 at the Institute for Central Asia and the Caucasus at the P. Nitze Graduate School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington with the direct participation of the Institute's director, Professor Frederick Starr.
The essence of this project is to approach Central Asia and Afghanistan as a single military-strategic and geopolitical whole, and then connect this plan to the American project for the reform of the Greater Middle East (BBB)3.
The concept of the Greater Middle East (in 2006, US Secretary of State K. V. Abramovich). Rice renamed it the New Middle East) provided for the reconstruction, in accordance with Washington's understanding of progress and civilization, of a vast region that includes all the Arab states, as well as Israel, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some analysts, such as Ariel Cohen, a leading researcher at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, included post-Soviet Central Asia in this project.5
The Greater Middle East Project aimed to fight "Islamic" terrorism and promote democracy with military and financial assistance from Western countries, primarily the United States and its NATO allies.
Bush even managed as host to include the Greater Middle East issue on the agenda of the G8 summit in Washington. Sea Island in 2004.6 But, as academician E. M. Primakov noted in a commentary to the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al Awsat: "The attempt to legalize President Bush's plan to impose democracy on the Greater Middle East, that is, the Muslim world from Afghanistan, through the G8 summit, failed to Morocco. The point of view of those who did not support the American plan was expressed by French President Jacques Chirac, saying,
that Middle Eastern countries should decide for themselves whether they need "missionaries from democracy". I must say that they have already solved this problem for themselves. Egypt and Saudi Arabia rejected Bush's plan without accepting invitations to attend the summit"7.At the same time, this idea was supported by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that "the Greater Middle East initiative proposed by the United States provides for economic and political reforms in the countries of the Middle East region in exchange for substantial financial assistance from Western countries. "8
However, in the end, grandiose reconstruction plans for the Muslim countries of West Asia and North Africa, as well as Central Asia, were left gathering dust on the shelves. Moreover, ironically, in the mid-2000s, the Greater Central Asia project was somewhat damaged by the fact that Washington, having succumbed to euphoria in connection with some external signs of stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan, hastened to conclude that it was possible to cope with the threat of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan, as well as " strengthen and modernize government institutions, creating a favorable environment for civil society and the realization of civil rights " 9.
But soon the situation in Afghanistan sharply worsened due to the increased military operations of the Taliban. Under these circumstances, the idea that Afghanistan and its Central Asian neighbors, which are "equally agrarian, isolated, and not industrially developed countries,"10 has also stalled. It is advisable to join the PCA project to develop regional trade and new trade routes from Central Asia to Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the Afghans have succeeded in something, it is in such a "specific" product as drugs, whose production in the country in 2004 - 2007 reached an unprecedented scale and exceeded the record level of 1999.11 The main flow of drugs goes to Central Asia, Russia, Western Europe, the United States, Iran, and China.
Regardless of the defunct projects of the Bush administration and its supporters, developments in Afghanistan and the long-term interests of the United States have led to the fact that the stated goals of the BBB and BCAP plans are also present in the current administration's policies. However, the new US president has so far managed not to step on the Central Asian "rake" of his predecessor in the sense that he is more pragmatic in promoting democracy and market reforms in post-Soviet Central Asia.
But the US military presence in this region continues and even expands due to the intensification of the NATO anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and Washington's interest in cargo transit for the significantly increased American military contingent. In turn, the Central Asian states, especially in the context of the global crisis, are interested in paying for the transport services they provide and fulfilling Washington's promises about the possible participation of American companies in investment projects that are essential for these states.
An important role is played by the desire of the leaders of the post-Soviet Central Asian countries to diversify and balance their foreign policy, maneuvering between Russia, China and the West.
US AIRBASE IN KYRGYZSTAN CHANGES ITS STATUS
Outwardly, the decision to denounce the 2001 agreement on the deployment of an American air base on the territory of the Manas Airport in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) was the motive for a significant increase in the efforts of the American authorities to expand the presence of US troops in the Central Asian region. This decision was made by the President of the Republic, K. Bakiyev, in February 2009. 12
The need to close the database was discussed quite a long time ago. First of all, this idea was supported by the Russian leadership, arguing that the active phase of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan was considered over. Consequently, the presence of the American Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan to support the NATO operation in Afghanistan has ceased to be relevant. In addition, there was a contradiction between the presence of the North Atlantic Alliance base in Kyrgyzstan and the commitments made by the republic to the Organization.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
The financial factor also played an important role. Almost simultaneously with the statement of the President of Kyrgyzstan on the closure of the base, agreements were signed between the governments of the Russian Federation and Kyrgyzstan on granting Kyrgyzstan a state loan and on paying off part of the state debt in property form and writing off the remaining debt of Kyrgyzstan, as well as an agreement between the Ministries of Finance of the two countries on providing gratuitous financial assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic by the Russian Federation .13 These are, respectively, a $300 million loan, a $180 million debt write-off, and a $150 million gratuitous grant.
The United States had to completely evacuate the Manas base by August 18, 2009, i.e. six months after the decision to close it was made. However, despite the fact that the decision of the Kyrgyz authorities was announced by Bishkek as final, the Americans were in no hurry to prepare for the disbandment of the base.
And at the end of June 2009, an agreement was reached to create a transit center for the transportation of civilian cargo on the basis of the liquidated American base. At the same time, all legal formalities regarding previously adopted decisions were observed. The American air base "Manas" is indeed closed, and the created center is a completely " new " entity. Although experts say that there are practically no significant differences between a military base and a transit center.
The center, as well as the base, functions independently outside the civil zone of the Manas Airport. It took over the entire infrastructure of the base. The signed agreement does not provide for any customs clearance of goods. Thus, the Kyrgyz authorities cannot control which cargo - civilian or military-is transported through Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan.14
Formally, the transit center staff lost their diplomatic immunity and received administrative and technical status. At the same time, it is planned to form a separate list of employees of the center who will receive diplomatic status. This list should be approved with the participation of the Kyrgyz side. In addition, despite the formal absence of diplomatic immunity, the personnel of the American center cannot be extradited to any international court, any other organization, or any other state without the consent of the United States, which in fact implies diplomatic status. The transit center is guarded by US military personnel. The center's staff was granted the right to carry weapons.
So, the Kyrgyz side provided the United States with many legal opportunities to preserve the functioning of the "liquidated" military base in full, in fact changing only the name.
The only significant change was the price that the US now pays for its military presence in Kyrgyzstan. Previously, it was $42.4 million a year, of which $17.4 million was paid for renting an airbase , and $25 million was gratuitous financial assistance to Kyrgyzstan. According to the newly concluded agreement, this amount increased to $168.1 million ($60 million-rent of a transit center, $41.5 million-gratuitous financial assistance, $30 million-modernization of the navigation system, $36.6 million - construction of platforms for American aircraft). However, the agreement is concluded for a period of 1 year, and next year the payment amount may be increased 15.
Moscow, in turn, has asked Bishkek to significantly strengthen its military presence in the country.
As a result, at the informal CSTO summit held in August 2009 in Kyrgyzstan, an agreement was signed on the deployment of an additional Russian military contingent on the territory of the republic, which will include a military formation of up to a battalion and a training center for training Kyrgyz and Russian servicemen.16 In addition, the possibility of opening a second Russian military base in Osh in southwestern Kyrgyzstan in addition to the existing air base in Kant is currently being discussed. It is assumed that but-
The fifth air base will be formed under the auspices of the newly created Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF) of the CSTO and will host Russian troops, in particular, aviation and airborne units.
AMERICANS RETURN TO UZBEKISTAN
After the significant cooling of Uzbek-American relations in 2005-2006, caused by the US authorities ' condemnation of the actions of the Uzbek leadership in Andijan, where anti-government protests were forcibly suppressed, representatives of the White House had to make a lot of efforts to resume cooperation.
The movement of the parties towards each other began in the military sphere, since in 2005, due to the complication of relations between Uzbekistan and the United States, the American military base in Karshi-Khanabad was closed.
In April 2008, at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Uzbek President Islam Karimov stated: "Uzbekistan is ready to discuss and sign an agreement with NATO on providing a corridor and transit through its territory for the delivery of non-military goods through the Termez-Hairaton border junction, which is practically the only railway connection with Afghanistan... The future Agreement could be based on the agreement signed by Uzbekistan and the German side on March 4 this year on the railway transit of Bundeswehr cargo through the territory of Uzbekistan"17. Relevant agreements were reached on this issue.
American non-military cargo was also delivered via Navoi International Airport, located in Navoi in southern Uzbekistan.18 Negotiations are underway to open Uzbekistan's airspace for the transit of US military cargo and military personnel through this airport. The deployment of a US military base at Navoi Airport would allow NATO to implement its plans to create an air transit bridge in Navoi, Uzbekistan - Mazar-I-Sharif (Afghanistan).
At the same time, Tashkent even expressed dissatisfaction with the plans to open a new Russian military base in Osh in Kyrgyzstan. On the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, an information message from the Jakhon agency appeared as follows: "The Uzbek side does not see any need or expediency in implementing plans to deploy an additional contingent of Russian armed forces in the south of Kyrgyzstan, which are stated in the Memorandum of Intent of the Russian Federation and the Kyrgyz Republic on further Cooperation development and improvement of the bilateral legal framework governing the presence of Russian military formations in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the deployment of an additional Russian military contingent in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic " 19.
FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE NATO SUMMIT
The most important steps taken by the United States to expand its military presence in Central Asia include cooperation with Turkmenistan. Ashgabat has always emphasized its neutral status, not actually participating in the work of any regional associations of an economic or military-political nature. In 2005, Turkmenistan withdrew from the CIS, retaining the status of an associate member, i.e. a State participating in certain types of activities of the organization, under the conditions determined by the agreement on associate membership.
Turkmen-American relations under former Turkmen leader S. Niyazov were not easy. This was due to the categorical rejection of the idea of exporting democracy, which the United States persistently tried to implement in the former Soviet republics, including in Central Asia. This idea threatens the authoritarian style of government that prevails in this region, and President S. Niyazov was clearly aware of this.
It cannot be said that the new leader of Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is an active supporter of the democratization of society, although he has taken a number of steps towards liberalization and greater openness of the country. Its focus on expanding cooperation with the United States, in particular in the military sphere, which was difficult to imagine a few years ago, is due to the difficult economic situation in the country during the global financial and economic crisis and the constant desire of post-Soviet Turkmenistan to diversify the export routes of Turkmen gas.
Ashgabat has opened its airspace for the transit of non-military cargo for the US contingent in Afghanistan, and also allowed American transport aircraft bound for Afghanistan to refuel at the Ashgabat airport. A small detachment of US military specialists is stationed in the Turkmen capital to service these aircraft.20
In April 2008, the President of Turkmenistan participated for the first time in the NATO summit in Bucharest. He stated his readiness to open training camps for NATO peacekeepers on Turkmen territory, as well as to place warehouses and rear bases for supplying the alliance's troops.21
It is possible that the military base of Mary, which was once the largest military and strategic object of the USSR armed forces in this region, will also be used to refuel American aircraft.22
In return, Ashgabat would like to receive financial support in the implementation of the gas processing plant construction project, as well as financial assistance in the development of oil and gas reserves on the Caspian shelf.
Tajikistan has also not been left out of the way of other Central Asian states, which seek to attract financial revenues from both the Russian and American sides.
In April 2009, during a visit to Dushanbe, US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Boucher announced that an agreement had been reached with Tajikistan on the transportation of non-military cargo through this country to Afghanistan.23
In February 2009, following the President of Kyrgyzstan, who managed to receive significant financial assistance and soft loans in response to the decision to close the US military base, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon paid a working visit to Moscow. The purpose of this visit was to try to revise a number of interstate agreements defining Russian-Tajik relations. We are talking, in particular, about the conditions of stay of Russian troops in the republic.
In 2004. Tajikistan and Russia signed an agreement under which the 201st Motorized rifle division stationed in the republic was transformed into a military base. In addition, Dushanbe handed over to Moscow the optical-electronic node of the Okno (Nurek) space monitoring system, estimated at $242.5 million, against Tajikistan's external debt to Russia, amounting to $300 million. All land and real estate on the territory of the optoelectronic hub, as well as the 201st military base, were transferred to Russia free of charge. In turn, Russia was supposed to invest about $2 billion. In 2006-2008, more than $1.5 billion of them were invested in the economy of Tajikistan. The Russian company RUSAL invested in the republic's energy projects, namely, the modernization of the Tajik Aluminum Plant (TadAZ), subject to participation in its privatization, as well as the related completion of the Rogun hydroelectric power station, which would contribute to ensuring the republic's energy security and, among other things, would supply electricity to TadAZ 24.
However, due to various reasons unrelated to the Russian company RUSAL, these projects were not implemented. The parties did not agree on the feasibility study of the Rogun HPP project, on the basis of which RUSAL was denied participation in the privatization of TadAZ.
Using this fact, Dushanbe began to seek a review of military agreements in order to obtain rent for the deployment of Russian military facilities on Tajik territory.
However, it should be borne in mind that the Russian Federation has fully implemented one of the two planned projects in the field of Tajik energy - on July 31, 2009, during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Tajikistan, the Sangtuda HPP-1, built by Russian specialists, was put into operation.
As for military and military-technical cooperation, Dushanbe receives weapons and spare parts from Russia at domestic Russian prices as a member of the CSTO. And the Tajik army's armament consists almost entirely of Soviet and Russian-made equipment. In addition, hundreds of Tajik officers are currently studying at Russian military universities for free.
The organization of the second Russian military base "Aini" in 20 km from Dushanbe remains in question. The agreement on the use of the Aini military airfield by Russia was signed in July 2008, but has not yet been ratified by the parties due to disagreements, mainly over financial issues. Meanwhile, during the visit of US Undersecretary of State for South and Central Asia R. Blake to Dushanbe in July 2009, when discussing the use of air and land transit corridors of Tajikistan for the transfer of goods to Afghanistan, the Tajik side suggested that the Americans use the Aini airfield for this purpose. Located in close proximity to the Tajik-Afghan border, it can be used for air and land transit of goods to Afghanistan. However, so far the matter has not progressed beyond negotiations.
During the state visit of the President of Tajikistan to Russia in October 2009.
Dmitry Medvedev and Emomali Rahmon discussed a large and complex set of relations between the two countries. In their joint statement, they noted the priority importance of further cooperation in the hydropower sector in the interests of the entire Central Asian region, a vivid example of which was the implementation of a joint large-scale project for the construction of Sangtuda HPP-1. They reaffirmed their mutual interest in implementing other hydropower projects in the Republic of Tajikistan, taking into account the unconditional fulfillment of their obligations, and the importance of implementing mutually beneficial projects in the region. in the fuel and energy sector, including geological exploration, development and exploitation of natural gas fields in Tajikistan in cooperation with open Joint Stock Company Gazprom. The parties confirmed their readiness to strengthen cooperation in the military and military-technical fields.25
In an interview with the Kommersant newspaper, Russian Defense Minister Alexander Serdyukov said:: "The topic of payment for the database is not discussed at all. Currently, we are talking about the conditions of stay of the 201st base in Tajikistan after 2014. And here there are two points - either the database will work in the same mode, or on a paid basis. But it is still unclear how we will count (money. - "Kommersant") and whether we will be at all " 26.
According to experts from the New York-based Open Society Institute, the October visit defused tensions between the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.27
A STRANGE SYMBIOSIS
Thus, it can be argued that in 2008 - 2009 there was a certain expansion of the US military presence in the region, which is especially noticeable against the background of a more modest Russian presence. Just look at the map of the deployment of military facilities of the Russian Federation and the United States in Central Asia.
The reason for this, in our opinion, is not related to a radical change in the foreign policy course of the states of the region, but is determined by the difficult economic situation of the Central Asian states during the current crisis. In other words, these States decided to take advantage of their geographical position and benefit materially from the use of their territory, airspace and military facilities by the NATO coalition countries for cargo transit to Afghanistan.
Given the fact that all the post-Soviet Central Asian states, except Turkmenistan, are members of the CSTO, one cannot help but wonder to what extent cooperation in actively expanding the US military presence and some of its other steps are consistent with the commitments they have made within this organization. Especially as NATO continues to ignore the CSTO.
1 Office of the Vice President. The White House. Remarks by Vice President Biden at 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy, February 7, 2009.
2 Office of the Vice President. The White House. Remarks by Vice President Biden on America Central Europe and a Partnership for the 21st Century. Central University Library, Bucharest, Romania. October 22, 2009.
Starr F. 3 Partnerstvo dlya Tsentral'noi Azii [Partnership for Central Asia]. 2005, No. 4 (July-August).
4 Al-Hayat, 13.02.2004 - http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/international/gmep2004.htm; Perthes V. America's "Greater Middle East" and Europe: Key Issues for Dialogue. Middle East Policy, vol. XI, No. 3, Fall 2004, p. 85 - 97 - http://www.meps.org/journal_vol11/0409_perthes.asp; Ottaway Marina, Brown Nathan, Hamzawy Amr, Sadjadpour Karim, Salem Paul. The New Middle East. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carnegie Endowment Report, February 2008 -http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publicatios/ index.cmf?fa=view&id=19928
5 http://www.washprofile.org/ru/node/886 30.06.04
6 Partnership for Progress and a Common Future with the Region of the Broader Middle East and North Africa. Sea Island, June 9, 2004. G8 Information Centre - http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2004seaisland/partnership.html
Erdogan Recep Tayyip. 8 Shirokiy vzglyad na Bolshoy Near East [A broad view of the Greater Middle East]. 2004, No. 4 (July-August).
Starr F. 9 Edict. op.
11 World Drug Report 2008 (Executive Summary) - www.unodc.org.
12 Website of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. 20.02.2009 - http://www.president.kg/ru/press/laws/3431/
13 Website of the Russian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. Legal framework of Russian-Kyrgyz relations - http://www.kyrgyz.mid.ru/dog.html
14 U.S., Kyrgyzstan Agree on Airbase Deal // USA Today, 23.06.2009.
16 Memorandum of Intent of the Russian Federation and the Kyrgyz Republic on Further Development and Improvement of the bilateral legal framework governing the Presence of Russian Military Formations in the Kyrgyz Republic and the Deployment of Additional Russian military contingent in the Kyrgyz Republic, 01.08.09. Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan - www.kremlin.ru.
17 Press service of the President of Uzbekistan. Speech of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the NATO/EAPC summit. 03.04.2008 - http://old.press-service.uz/ru/gsection. scm?groupId=439228&contentId=38285
Tynan Deirdre. 18 Turkmenistan for US Logistics. 1.11.2009 - http://www.res.ethr.ch/news/sw/details.cmf?v35=123330&/ng=en&id=103128
19 Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan - http://mfa.uz/pressa_i_media_servis/030809r_6.mgr
Tynan Deirdre. 20 Op. cit.
23 US, Tajikistan Reach Afghan Transit Deal // Xinhua, 22.04.2009.
Fayzullaev D. 24 Tajikistan. In geopolitical labyrinths / / Asia and Africa Today, 2007, N 8.
25 Joint statement of the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. October 22, 2009 - http://news.kremlin/ref_notes/351
26 Kommersant, 23.10.2009.