Russian to maintain dominant influence in Central Asia

Politics Materials 1 March 2012 17:35 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 1 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova/

Russia will maintain dominant influence in the Central Asia, the U.S. expert on Central Asia Bruce Pannier said.

"Russia will maintain its dominant influence in Central Asia for years to come," Pannier, expert of Radio Liberty, wrote Trend via e-mail.

Dushanbe insisted on collection of rental payment from Russia for their stay at Tajik military base. Russian 201-st military base present in Tajikistan since 2004 and the lease agreement between the two countries is expected to be re-signed in 2012.

Tajikistan followed Kyrgyz President's demands for Russia to pay Moscow's debts for lease of several military objects in the country.

The Tajik authorities have recently raised the issue of rent several times, Pannier said.

"Seeing Kyrgyzstan succeeded in getting at least a promise of payment, Tajik officials probably thought it would be worth mentioning the rent issue again," he added.

The expert thinks that Russian objects in Tajikistan an Kyrgyzstan have importance for the security of the Central Asia, including these two countries.

"If Tajik officials push the issue too much, they risk retaliation in the form of higher tariffs and fees for Russian gasoline, which caused chaos in Tajikistan last year, " Pannier said.

The other risk for the countries is forced return by Russia of tens of thousands labor immigrant to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan which would add to the number of unemployed in the countries and risk causing a social explosion, he added.

"We saw a little of that last October-November when Russian did so on a small scale after Tajikistan put two Russian pilots on trial," Pannier mentioned.