Moscow, most likely, convinces Dushanbe of importance of Russia's base in Tajikistan: expert

Moscow, most likely, convinces Dushanbe of importance of Russia's base in Tajikistan: expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 23 / Trend E.Ostapenko /

Russia has probably found arguments to persuade Tajik President Emomali Rahmon of the importance of Russia's base in the Central Asian republics for its security, European expert on Russia's interests in the Central Asia Igor Torbakov believes.

"Given the situation of Tajikistan, Russia, probably, found the arguments to explain to Rahmon that in the sense of obtaining security for the country, Tajikistan gets more than it would have received if Russia would have paid money," leading analyst of the Finnish Institute of International Relations Torbakov told Trend over the telephone.

There are no difficulties with Russia's base in Tajikistan and the sides are discussing the possibility of payment for it only after 2014, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Oct.22.

"We think at present there is no complexity in existence of the base," Serdyukov told journalists after the talks of the presidents of Russia and Tajikistan held on Oct.22.

Serdyukov noted that the issue of compensated use of the base until the expiry of the current contract was not discussed.

"We have considered two issues, including continuation of the base in the mode in which it currently exists, either on a paid basis. It is too early to talk about cost. We still do not understand how to calculate the cost," he said.

Prior to Rahmon's Moscow visit, the media reported that Dushanbe would demand Moscow to pay for the Russian military base in Tajikistan.

The CIS countries and Moscow has a constant haggling, Torbakov believes.

"Of course, Tajikistan knows Russia's interest in maintaining this base in Tajikistan and understands that Russia can pay any money, which Tajikistan needs, for a right to keep its military in this country," the expert added.

According to Torbakov, Russia would militarize its spending because the payment for base would total approximately $300 million per year.

The situation in Afghanistan is so complex that the security of Tajikistan, of course, is under threat. Russia can use this situation with a view to influencing Rahmon, the expert believes.

Negotiations between the two presidents in Moscow, of course, were not simple, Torbakov added.

"I see two possible options that Tajikistan and Russia have agreed to use the base 201 without any fees until 2014," he said.

The first one is the connection between presence of the Russian troops in Tajikistan and situation in Afghanistan and usage of Afghanistan as Russia's leverage of influence on Tajikistan.

The Russian base which is based on the 201st division is the most powerful military presence of Russia in the Central Asia: it has about 5,000soldiers, tanks and aircraft.

"This is much more powerful formation than Russia's small contingent in Kant in Kyrgyzstan," the expert said.

It could provide a barrier to the possible penetration of the mujahids from Afghanistan, as Tajikistan does not have an efficient army.

"The Russians have an opportunity to show Tajikistan the direction of Afghanistan and say "what is important to you, we [Russia] are also spending some money to supply these troops," the expert said.

These troops, of course, protect the southern borders of Russia, the expert believes.

The second possible version of the Russia-Tajikistan agreement on the base is possible replacement of cash (as a fee for basis) by the supply of arms, the expert believes.

"Russia could offer weapons instead of money and thus satisfies the interests of Tajikistan," the expert said.

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