Bypassing the prankster, the Tajiks, who have very little of their gas and who have to import it, decided to buy gas from Turkmenistan by transit through Uzbekistan. However, 4 of April, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyayev, in an open message to the Prime Minister of Tajikistan Akil Akilov, published on the government portal gov.uz, said: friend, the transit of Turkmen gas through the territory of Uzbekistan is not possible ”("OilCapital.ru" with reference to the RIA "News").
"Lenta.ru" reports that between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan “there is a contract for the supply of 200 million cubic meters of gas in 2012 year. 45 million cubic meters are guaranteed deliveries, for Tajikistan to receive 155 millions more, the parties had to confirm their intentions. ” Deprived of gas, large enterprises stopped in Tajikistan: “Tajiktransgaz” and “Tajik Aluminum Plant”. The Tajik authorities accused the Uzbeks of destabilizing the situation in the country, attempting to provoke social discontent in the country along with a man-made organization of a humanitarian catastrophe.
This is the second overlap of the gas valve to Tajikistan in 2012; the first took place in January - and also without prior warning. In January, the issue was quickly resolved by a government delegation from Dushanbe traveling to Tashkent. It was there that they signed a document on the supply of 200 million cubic meters, including 45 million in the first quarter.
Tajik "Avesta"whose correspondent was unable to contact representatives of Tajiktransgaz, writes:
“According to the source (from the energy departments of Tajikistan. - O. Ch.), According to the agreements reached, natural gas imports in the second quarter of this year will be 80 million cubic meters. “This volume is due to the fact that, on behalf of the Government of Tajikistan, all industrial enterprises must operate in two shifts,” said the source.
He did not disclose the cost of imported natural gas, and only noted that "he (gas) is mainly intended for industrial enterprises." “In addition, it is not yet clear whether the previously signed documents (in January of the current year) for non-guaranteed gas supplies for the current year will be fulfilled in the amount of 200 million cubic meters. m ", - he said."
And here is the information from Reuters (“Uzbekistan resumes gas supplies to Tajikistan”, “Reuters”, Roman Kozhevnikov), appeared on the network April 16:
“The representative of the Tajik state company TajikTransGaz said that the contract guarantees the supply of 155 million cubic meters of Uzbek gas by the end of the year at an initial price of 264 dollars per thousand cubic meters.
He stated that the contract price may change taking into account market conditions during the year, without giving additional information. ”
Probably “can change” - here is the key phrase.
Tajiks could find a way out of a complex energy stalemate, and at the same time overcome their total dependence on Uzbekistan by building the Rogun hydropower station on the Vakhsh. Here is what Peter Bologov writes about this ("Lenta.ru"): “But even here the Uzbeks intervened - starting from 2009, the trains with cargoes for the construction of the station are constantly being detained on Uzbek territory. In Tashkent, they say that the construction of hydropower plants will lead to a decrease in the flow of the Amudarya and a decrease in the amount of water needed by the republic for agricultural needs. They are also threatening an environmental catastrophe, while ignoring the fact that, unlike Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan has forgotten to think about the fate of the Aral Sea, allowing its remnants to finally disappear into the desert. ”
Developing the environmental theme in the tense relations of Tashkent and Dushanbe, P. Bologov talks about the aluminum plant, the TALCO state unitary enterprise of Tajikistan. This largest manufacturer of primary aluminum provides 75% of the country's currency earnings, which already says a lot. His stoppage could trigger an economic catastrophe in Tajikistan.
Another source of friction is the Farhad hydroelectric station, built during the Soviet era. As P. Bologov points out, legally this frontier hydropower station belongs to Tajikistan, but the dam — as was established in the Soviet era — is under the control of Uzbekistan. “Unofficial sources in Dushanbe believe that it was the refusal of the Tajiks to transfer the dam to their northern neighbor is the real reason for the cessation of gas supplies,” writes Bologov.
On the border fields of Uzbekistan, mines were laid from 1999 on which Tajiks occasionally explode (according to some estimates, more than a hundred people died). In Tajikistan, “spy” hysteria is growing: from time to time one Uzbek spy of Tajik nationality is imprisoned on 13, then another on 18. Uzbeks, in response, also "sew" spy cases with 14 and 20 terms in years (for more, see P. Bologova).
The authorities of Tajikistan have seen enemies for some time around the world. As American professor Stephen Blank writes, “The administration of the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, has to deal with the revival of the activities of armed Islamists. Shortly before the fall of Mubarak’s regime in Egypt in February last year, Time magazine published a list of 10 “dictators in trouble” - autocrats who could soon lose their positions in power, in which Rahmon took 8’s place. In addition to building a gigantic state mosque, the head of Tajikistan initiated a number of radical measures, such as recalling students studying Islam from foreign educational institutions, including Al-Azhar University in Cairo ”("CentrAsia"). As for Uzbekistan, S. Blank is also predicting an “Arab spring” offensive there. However, in some ways the revelations of this professor at the Military College of the US Army resemble those of another American, John McCain, who predicted the Arab Spring in Russia in the winter.
By the way, Nusrat Rakhmat, a writer from Samarkand, found an economic and political solution to the situation with the Rogun hydropower station, which could mitigate the unfriendly relations of Tashkent and Dushanbe. At the end of November 2011, he wrote an open letter to the presidents of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan; it was posted on the Internet. Quote out of him:
“And about the Rogun hydropower plant I have my own point of view. I propose to reduce the height of the dam by at least 50 meters. I think the savings will be enough for the construction of another small hydroelectric station. We have to admit that in Uzbekistan some “scientists” too exaggerate its inexpediency and danger. Even in regional and district newspapers, satirical journals they began to illiterately criticize the project of this hydropower station, although it was designed in Tashkent. I personally disagree with some authors who write that there is a huge supply of salts under the hydroelectric station, and they seem to dissolve, or that the earthquake source is just under Rogun ”.
Thus, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are quarreling over the “indivisible” Soviet past. "Gas" and "cargo" (with Rogun hydroelectric station) stories - these are just the latest energy episodes from the 20-year-old post-Soviet hostility of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which now has reached the geopolitical level.
Trend News Agency (Azerbaijan) writes:
“Which of the two neighboring countries is to blame in this situation is difficult to judge, because each of them has its own truth. Historically, in a certain sense, the parties have fallen into a situation dependent on each other and have not been able to distribute the resources of the region for almost 20 years. What is the threat of such an aggravation?
Some analysts predict a deterioration in relations between the two countries until the outbreak of military conflict. However, such a scenario is unlikely, because the two neighboring states are incommensurable in their power. Uzbekistan has been competing with Kazakhstan for regional leadership for a long time, and possibly to this day. Tajikistan, on the contrary, is considered, according to some reports, the poorest state in the region.
However, aggravation of relations with neighboring Uzbekistan may lead to instability in the region and serious problems in Tajikistan, and, perhaps, the negative outcome of the situation will not take long to wait ”(the translation source is "InoSMI").
For good reason on April 3, after Uzbekistan’s unexpected gas cut-off, Tajikistan (through the embassy in Moscow) made a statement not just anywhere, but to Russia.
“Tajikistan squeezed this statement mainly because the situation in the Khatlon region bordering Uzbekistan, and in the country as a whole, to put it mildly, has ceased to inspire at least some optimism. In this area, which remained virtually without gas supply and railways, the ration of 70% of the population consists of bread and tea. According to a recent study by the World Bank and the UN Children's Fund, more than a third of Tajik children up to 5 years die from the effects of hunger. Further blockade will work to deepen the socio-economic disaster that, ultimately, dramatically shake the position of the power of "His Majesty" in Dushanbe, if not already shaken. This is openly stated in the statement of the Tajik diplomatic mission in Moscow.
Experts in Tajikistan predicted the intensification of Russian policy with the advent of Putin. But even they did not expect that events would begin to develop in anticipatory mode. The fact is that Uzbekistan is not just temporarily blocking transit communications, putting economic pressure on a neighbor, he is building a full-fledged iron curtain that physically leaves Tajikistan outside the post-Soviet space and hopes to join the new integration projects on the ruins of the CIS. The railway understands, gas supplies are stopped, minefields instead of borders, killing and crippling dozens of local residents per year and visa regime without air traffic ”(IA "REGNUM", Vigen Hakobyan).
Further, political scientist Vigen Akopyan writes that the difficult economic and political situation in Tajikistan is taken into account by the United States of America, as well as by the “international financial circles”, which are currently lobbying “initiatives to lay communications from Tajikistan in the Afghan direction”. Akopyan concludes: Uzbekistan is squeezing Tajikistan out of the CIS, and the Americans, having seized the initiative, “attach it to Afghanistan.” At the same time, Americans can promise border security (meaning the border with Afghanistan), but they cannot do what Russia does (here the author means providing the hungry population of Tajikistan and providing jobs to a million Tajiks in Russia).
“The second direction of the work of the Americans,” Hakobyan notes, “is Tajik-Iranian relations. US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake 27 March in Dushanbe urged the countries of the region to refrain from relations with Iran. That is, the Americans would like to see Tajikistan as their logistical and resource base, perhaps, an operational center near Afghanistan or ... inside it - inside a new project of "regionalized" Afghanistan "(IA "REGNUM", Vigen Hakobyan).
Thus, the United States in one fell swoop at once of three birds with a kill: The America gains control over the border from two sides — Afghanistan and Tajikistan; strengthens its influence in another former Soviet region; gets an additional opportunity to pursue an anti-Iranian policy, separating Tajikistan from Iran.
And then - according to the well-known political formula "Divide and rule": "... According to the press service of the Tajik president, the American general, noting the" buffer role "of Tajikistan in preventing and spreading the threats of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, promised with 2014, after the withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan, to increase military aid to Dushanbe. US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake a week earlier clarified how and from where this assistance will come: some of the weapons exported from Afghanistan will be donated or sold to countries in the region. “Kill each other, allies of Western peacekeepers!” - sounds a dumb call ”(IA "REGNUM", Vigen Hakobyan).
Uzbekistan in Central Asia Akopyan compares with Georgia in Transcaucasia. According to Hakobyan, Tashkent, a member of the CSTO, pursues a policy of "surreptitiously" and, as a political scientist, "deliberately undermines the security of one of the members of the alliance."
As the "CentrAsia" (17 April), at the opening of the branch of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS, the leading educational and scientific center of Russia for the training of specialists in the field of metallurgy and materials science, President Rakhmon "said that Tajikistan is the only state in the world where the most important strategic objects of Russia are located most such as the 201 military base, the space tracking center "Window" in Nurek, and others. " Rakhmon also expressed confidence that the Russian leadership was being informed about the wrong information about Tajikistan. Quote: “Emomali Rakhmon called Russia the only strategic partner of Tajikistan and said that the strategic partner then deserves respect if he in turn shows respect for Tajikistan as his strategic partner.”
"Avesta" He also said: "The President stressed that" Tajikistan is always side by side with its strategic partner, and hopes for support from him in difficult times, "the head of state concluded."
Support? .. 201 base? .. “There are also Russian military bases that are located on the territory of other countries on a grant basis. This, in particular, 201-I military base in Tajikistan - the largest military unit outside Russia. Russia still pays nothing for its military presence, although this issue has been raised repeatedly in recent years. The appetites of the allies are constantly growing: if last year the figure was 125 million dollars annually or military aid for the same amount, today we are talking about 300 million, which is more than three and a half times the entire military budget of Tajikistan. For the time being, requests are in the nature of wishes and ignored by Russia ”("FLB").
But still not signed by President Rakhmon on the extension of the agreement on the deployment of the base in the territory of Tajikistan.
But the point is that against the background of economic and political difficulties with a neighbor Uzbekistan, Tajikistan manages to receive military assistance from the United States. We are talking about the notorious "security in the region."
As the "Avesta", March 31 hosted the meeting of the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon with the commander of the Central Command of the US Army, James Mattis.
“Noting the“ buffer ”role of Tajikistan in preventing and spreading threats of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, Mattis stressed that the United States will continue to provide technical assistance to border troops and other law enforcement and law enforcement agencies in Tajikistan.
According to the presidential press service, the interlocutors stated that of particular importance, the buildup of such assistance will be from the 2014 year, after the withdrawal of the coalition troops from Afghanistan. ”
For the 2013 year, by the way, the States plan to allocate Tajikistan 1,5 million dollars for military aid. This as indicated "Avesta", "Almost twice the amount of the appropriations already allocated for this purpose for the current 2012 year." Where will this money go? For the creation of armed forces prepared for cooperation with the forces of NATO and the USA - in peacekeeping and other operations.
So, America really places some hopes on Tajikistan. And the president of the latter, probably, should apply with statements not only to Moscow, but also to Washington. Indeed, the alignment is convenient: Moscow employs Tajiks, and Washington gives money to reform the army and promises "security." From Washington, therefore, Tajikistan is satisfied with 1,5 million dollars, but let Moscow lay out all 300.
Why, only: “No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or one will be zealous, and about another will not be stolen ”(from one famous book).
Uzbekistan has also noticeably stepped up lately all-round cooperation with the United States. Not only Emomali Rakhmon met with Mattis, but also Islam Karimov. If Rakhmonov Mattis arrived on March 31, then Karimov got 29.
The Uzbek and American sides talked about the economy, politics, about countering the "new challenges and threats", about ensuring "regional security and stability." Reports about it "Fergana.news". The named edition also notes that “recently a number of high-ranking US officials have visited Uzbekistan. So, in October, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mark Grossman and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Tashkent on 2011. In November Uzbekistan was visited by the Commander of the Central Command (CENTCOM) of the US Land Forces Lieutenant General Vincent Brooks, in December by the Commander of the Transport Command (TRANSCOM) William M. Frazer ”.
In early February, the US State Department 2012 lifted the restrictions on military assistance to Uzbekistan, introduced in 2004, for the reason that Uzbekistan did not care about “human rights”. “At the same time, Washington did not conceal that they want to strengthen relations with Uzbekistan due to the fact that one of the routes for supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan runs through this republic. As US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake noted, the United States is interested in assisting Uzbekistan, since the American side thereby provides support for its troops ”("Lenta.ru"). In 2012, America plans to finance Uzbekistan with 11,8 million. The United States is planning to supply Tashkent with night vision devices, navigation systems, body armor, communications and tracking devices (New Eastern Outlook, Sergey Rasov).
In general, Robert Blake helps Tashkent with one hand, and Dushanbe with the other. Moreover, the hand that helps Uzbekistan is much more generous than the hand endowing Tajikistan. The second hand acts as if formally, almost according to the Nietzschean principle: “Falling - push”. This is understandable: if Tajikistan is viewed by the States as a poor border area, then Uzbekistan with its gas (and oil) and claims for regional leadership cannot be bought for a half million.
Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru