Global consequences of Central Asia’s peculiar problem: Trend News commentator

Viktoriya Zhavoronkova, commentator at the Trend European Desk

Central Asia has been facing problems related to water and electricity supply for a long period. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan suffer from a shortage of electricity and the remaining three countries - Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan - from a lack of water.

The point is that main water-bearing rivers in the region - Syr Darya and Amu Darya - first pass through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, then flowing into the other three countries with a significant lost of water. The main source of electricity in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are hydroelectric power plants. There is no other fuel, such as natural gas, in the countries. Given a lack of sufficient funds, buying electricity abroad is impractical because the water (used in hydroelectric power plants) is running via the country for free.

The produced electricity is insufficient to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. This winter residents of the countries used to receive electricity for several hours a day. There was a need to construct additional hydroelectric power plants, using a larger amount of water. And that would certainly concern regional neighbors.

Uzbekistan was in the most disadvantaged situation. Cotton-growing is one of country's main agricultural branches. Cotton is a hygrophilous plant. Dropping water level in rivers will reduce cotton harvest.

However, neither Tajikistan nor Kyrgyzstan has sufficient funds to independently build hydroelectric power plants. So, both countries are forced to seek assistance abroad. Mainly two countries - the U.S. and Russia - are interested in assisting the Central Asian countries. The two countries are struggling to strengthen their influence in the region. Russia allocated $1.7 billion to Kyrgyzstan for construction of power plants. Many people believe Russia demanded to shut down the Manas airbase in exchange for the assistance.

Russia had plans to exchange Tajikistan's TALKO aluminum plant for Russian investments in construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power station on the Vakhsh River in the Amudarya basin.

During his visit to Uzbekistan, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised President Islam Karimov not to build electric power station in the Central Asia without neighbor countries' consent. Tajikistan accepted Russian President's statement as a message targeted at him and Russia's refusal to help the country.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's visit to Russia ensued after which country's parliament decided to include aluminium plant to the list of strategic facilities of Tajikistan and refuse not yet signed agreement.
Russia ended up in a peculiar triangle - a wish to become regional leader on one side and two Central Asian states opposing each other on the other two.
Closure of American Manas military base in Kyrgyzstan played an important role in strengthening Russia's influence in the region. Though this was last U.S. base in the Central Asia, it has two alternatives at least. First one is the former U.S. Air Forces base Karshi-Khanabad in Uzbekistan. It is less likely to be returned to Americans until Russia maintains friendly relations with Uzbekistan. On the other hand, Russian military base in Tajikistan which will be Russian until Dushanbe maintains friendly relations with Moscow. What to do?
Pentagon needs base in the Central Asia for further operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. will take every advantage to deploy a base here which will mean Russia's defeat. However, water and energy confrontation between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan can undermine Russia's plans. It will either have to help Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with the construction of the hydroelectric power station and increase the likelihood of U.S. return to Karshi-Khanabad or it will have to think about Uzbekistan's cotton fields which will cause a threat of raising issue of Russia military presence in bases located in Tajikistan. None of these options is acceptable for Russia after "an important victory over Manas."
Losing one of these countries would mean a step back for Moscow which plays very important role in this geopolitical game. Maybe the sides must think about alterative way of energy supply besides water. The water supply problem of less developed Central Asian countries, which seems not to have global significance at first glance, plays an important role in the U.S.-Russia war over the world leadership.
Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]

Personnel changes at AccessBank
Personnel changes at AccessBank
EY Azerbaijan invites small and medium sized companies to take part in ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ 2020-2021 competition
EY Azerbaijan invites small and medium sized companies to take part in ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ 2020-2021 competition
"Together we are POWER": ENGINET supports injured children in Ganja city (FOTO)
"Together we are POWER": ENGINET supports injured children in Ganja city (FOTO)
Loading Bars
Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas forecasts annual oil output decrease
More migrants relocated from Malta to EU countries
U.S. grants ByteDance new seven-day extension of TikTok sale order
82 bandits killed in Nigerian airstrikes
China, Kyrgyzstan to boost pragmatic cooperation
AzerGold CJSC talks plans for extraction of precious metals
Kazakhstan’s Almaty Power Stations JSC opens tender to buy compressors
Volume of funds allocated to fixed capital increases in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan
Retail trade turnover of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic drops
Azerbaijani MoD unveils footage depicting advancement of Azerbaijani armyuits to liberated Kalbajar region (VIDEO/PHOTO)
Resolution of France's Senate nothing more than piece of paper for Azerbaijan - top official
Resolution adopted by France's Senate has no legal force - MFA
IKEA investment arm in talks to buy city-centre retail property in big European cities
Kazinform and IRNA news agencies hold joint online conference
Iran to compensate for Ukraine plane crash according to int'l norms
Oil tanker hit by blast at Saudi terminal, Saudi Arabia confirms
National Bank of Georgia sells funds at foreign exchange auction to stabilize lari
First Turkish Trade House to open in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president signs law renaming Tsakuri village in Khojavend district
Azerbaijani president signs law renaming Gushchubaba village of Khojaly district into Baharli village
Azerbaijan to monitor fields in Kalbajar - Head of National Geological Exploration Service (Exclusive)
EU allocates macro-financial assistance to Georgia to tackle COVID-19
Turkmen FM gives speech at 13th Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum
Turkmenistan advocates cooperation in resolving regional and global environmental problems
Azerbaijan confirms 1,229 more COVID-19 recoveries
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 28
Austria provides Uzbekistan with railway equipment
U.S. weekly jobless claims increase again
Produce in Georgia agency selects business ideas for micro and small entrepreneurship grant program
Kazakhstan eyes to fully put up produced LPG on electronic trading platforms in 2021
Uzbekistan’s food production to grow by end of 2020
Fergana region becomes main textile producer in Uzbekistan
More countries allow import of Uzbek-grown products
Volume of lending in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan in annual circulation greatly increases
Lari depreciation among possible reasons for fuel price increase in Georgia
Azerbaijan prepares projects to restore road infrastructure in liberated territories
Production of Iran’s Sefid Dasht Steel Company increases
Kazakhstan's Kuryk port boosts cargo handling, launches direct link to Iran
Turkmenistan has sufficient reserves to mitigate effects of pandemic - IMF
Volume of cargo transportation of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic drops
Kazakhstan to localize production of German agricultural machinery's popular models
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Georgian-produced ski equipment to be exported to Europe
Kazakhstan decreases exports to Italy year-on-year
Volume of goods released from Iran’s customs checkpoints announced
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of instrumentation
Investments in Iran’s Kerman Province increase
Azerbaijani refugees from Kalbajar visit Martyrs Alley (PHOTO)
FM talks on possible Azerbaijan-Armenia peace treaty to French Le Point
Azerbaijan shows new footage of Azerbaijani army units entering Kalbajar (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Armenia must answer for war crimes - Azerbaijani FM
Iran’s South Pars Gas Company opens tender to buy equipment
Uzbekistan eyes to maintain macroeconomic stability in 2021
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks down in Georgia
Cable TV operators ready for full deployment in liberated Azerbaijani territories
Activities of private sector in Iran can put end to economic problems - analyst
Georgia increases export of precious metal ores and concentrates
During Karabakh hostilities, Turkey responded to political pressure exerted on Azerbaijan - ambassador
Oil shrugs off U.S. inventory gain helped by vaccine hopes
Total volume of non-bank deposits in Georgian banking sector down
Return of Kalbajar region to Azerbaijan has not only important political but also economic significance - Georgian expert
Number of bank accounts registered in Nakhchivan over 10M2020 unveiled
Azerbaijan's gold company reveals profits
Two facilities in Iran’s oil sector to be put into operation
Baku residents hold rally celebrating Kalbajar's liberation (PHOTOS)
Georgia reveals data on persimmons and caraway seeds exports
Turkmenistan’s growth model relies on large-scale public investments - IMF
Four dead as migrant boat capsizes off Canary Islands, more missing
Kazakhstan’s joining UPOV could help improve lives, provide for economic dev't
SOCAR reveals volume of transshipment through Kulevi terminal
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva congratulates Azerbaijani people on liberation of Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Cargo handling at Kazakhstan's Aktau seaport decreases over 10M2020
Foreign trade turnover of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic increases
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 25
Life insurance in Azerbaijan occupies about half of all insurance fees - association
SOCAR and LUKOIL eye expanding co-op
Baku Stock Exchange hosts auction for CBA's short-term notes
Concerns of some OSCE MG co-chairing countries don't matter - Erdogan
Kazakhstan boosts passenger cars manufacturing within 10M2020
Turkmen IT company to create first online platform of Union of Industrialists, Entrepreneurs
Azerbaijan to export medical masks to Russia and Germany
UNESCO to take part in protection of cultural, religious heritage in Karabakh
Iran says ready to return to Jan 20, 2017
Iran talks banking obstacles
Azerbaijan disclose data on investments in local renewable energy projects
Iran prevented release of German home appliances from customs
Kazakhstan’s oil producing company opens tender to buy spare equipment parts
Turkmen company provides domestic market with products made of polyethylene
Production of agricultural products increases in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
Azerbaijani soldiers created conditions for Armenian population to leave village in Aghdam - president
Iran reveals data on new enterprises in free trade zones
Pashinyan, where did you sign the act of capitulation? - President Aliyev
When Pashinyan put forward seven conditions to us, I said: I have only one condition: get out of our land - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan reveals data on GDP
Amount of loans issued for agricultural machinery in Iran spikes
Those who want to accuse us of something should first of all look in mirror - President Aliyev
When we drove enemy out of Shusha, it destroyed water line feeding city - President Aliyev
Global LNG prices expected to strengthen in 2021
Armenians had made maps of “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, where are those maps? - President Aliyev
Kazakhstan's 10M2020 import of Turkish leather products declines
All news