Russia will help Tajikistan construct power stations

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 30 / Trend , V.Zhavoronkova, T.Zhukov/

Despite Tajikistan's fears, Russia does not intend to waive its obligations on construction of hydroelectric power stations in Tajikistan. Russia may only postpone the projects in connection with the global financial crisis, experts believe.

"Construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power station and the other in the territory of Tajikistan will not be wrapped up. Time of construction will be seriously shifted. I think there is a lack of money to continue such projects," Russian expert on the CIS Vladimir Zharikhin told Trend in a telephone conversation from Moscow.

Leading publications in Tajikistan have criticized the Russian leadership after President Dmitry Medvedev's statement made during his recent visit to Uzbekistan, CA-News reported.

In the statement, Medvedev said that construction of power stations in Asia should be coordinated with neighboring states. Tajik public perceived the statement as Russia's refusal to participate in completing construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power station, as well as three more hydropower plants on the inland rivers of Tajikistan.

However, experts believe such conclusions are premature and Russia has no plans to violate the agreements with Tajikistan.

Tajikistan incorrectly interpreted Medvedev's statement, said independent Uzbek political analyst Sergei Ezhkov.

"Medvedev understands the position of Uzbekistan who insists that such projects, globally affecting nations' interests, should be coordinated at least with neighbors," Ezhkov told Trend in a telephone conversation from Tashkent.

Relations between the Central Asian countries were strained due to water problem.

Almost of the used water is taken from two key rivers, including Syr Darya and Amu Darya. Syr Darya runs from Kyrgyzstan via Tajikistan to Uzbekistan (through densely populated Fergana valley) and Kazakhstan, while Amu Darya - from Tajikistan to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Therefore, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan fall under water dependence on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Constructing new Hydro Power Station (HPS) in Tajikistan which is necessary for the country due to lack of electricity may cut running water to Uzbekistan more.

Relations between these countries are currently much more strained, Zharikhin said.

"Therefore, if Russia partakes in constructing the HPS, it should find a definite compromise and persuade the Tajik and Uzbek governments," he said.

This water flow is too important for the Uzbek agriculture, Deputy Director of the CIS Institution Zharikhin said.

"For instance, if the Rogun HPS is commissioned, two Uzbek districts will be in hunger ration," famous Uzbek Ecologist Tulkin Mirzabekov told Trend .

"The matter is about Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya and deficit will concern Navoi, Syr Darya and Samarkand regions," Political Scientist Mirzabekov said.

However, despite this, Russia's all obligations on constructing the HPS will be fully fulfilled, Ezhkov said.

Fulfillment of the obligations may be postponed due to the world financial crisis, because Russia does not have additional means, Zharikhin said.

"Construction periods are expanded not only for hydroelectric power stations. We are facing a crisis, whatever is the discontent of Tajikistan," he said.

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