Another extremely humiliating lesson was presented to Russia by its "strategic partner" Emomali Rakhmon. February 18, the head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov was to arrive in Dushanbe in order to finalize this “strategic partnership” - at least in the military sphere. By this time, the Tajik parliament, in theory, was supposed to ratify an agreement to extend the stay of the 201 Russian base in the country - by the way, our largest foreign military base.
But none of this happened: at the last moment Gerasimov’s visit was postponed indefinitely. But in the Tajik capital today, February 20, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake appeared. As for the ratification of the agreement on the extension of the stay of the 201 base, then, as it became known to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, this issue will not appear on the agenda of the Tajik parliament in the near future. And on condition of anonymity, one of the deputies explained to the publication: “There has not yet been a command from above.”
The failure of our diplomatic strategy regarding the regime of Emomali Rakhmon is all the more obvious that for the upcoming visit of Gerasimov to Dushanbe, Russia made such concessions to Tajikistan, which it has never made to any of its other Central Asian "partners". In early February, fulfilling the preliminary conditions put forward by Dushanbe, Moscow signed agreements with the Tajik party on duty-free supplies of fuel and lubricants to Tajikistan and the introduction of an unprecedentedly facilitated stay of Tajik migrants in the territory of the Russian Federation. And “teams from above” did not follow the Tajik parliament from Rakhmon.
The only thing that Moscow has probably upset Dushanbe recently is the distribution of its military assistance between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. During his visit to Dushanbe in October last year, Vladimir Putin agreed with Emomali Rahmon that the rent for the territory under the 201 Russian base will not be charged, but in return, Moscow will help in re-equipping the Tajik army.
And recently, the leadership of Russia decided to allocate one and a half billion dollars for the modernization of the armies of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. But at the same time, Dushanbe received only $ 200 million for the modernization of air defense and the repair of military equipment, and Russia agreed to supply the same amount of fuel to Tajikistan annually on favorable terms. The lion’s share of Russian aid, $ 1,1 billion, was allocated to Kyrgyzstan. And the first batch of Russian weaponsAs expected, they will be sent there this summer: Bishkek expects to receive not only small arms, but also combat vehicles, helicopters, field and inpatient hospitals, motorcycles, portable mortars, satellite equipment.
Rakhmon, apparently offended by such an unjust arrangement of Moscow priorities, embittered and decided to take revenge. In this regard, not only the level of reception awaiting Robert Blake arriving in Dushanbe (only the assistant secretary of state will be received at the highest level, his visit will last two days) is indicative in this regard, but also the Tajik-American talks themselves. Of course, the parties do not allow official leaks, but experts' estimates suggest the most sad predictions for Russia. Blake's visit to Dushanbe is aimed at the final decision on the deployment of US and NATO military facilities in Tajikistan, since the redeployment of troops from Afghanistan has already begun and the US side urgently needs firm guarantees, said Alexander Knyazev, regional programs coordinator at the Institute of Oriental Studies, told REGNUM.
According to the expert, “it is not too late for the Russian side to stop this process; otherwise, another could be initiated before the end of the year, according to the withdrawal of the Russian military base from the republic. It is obvious that the United States made a bet on Rakhmon according to the principle "son of a bitch, but our son of a bitch." It is clear that they are absolutely indifferent to the nature of this regime when it comes to strategic plans to deploy part of the troops withdrawn from Afghanistan in the countries of the region. ”
“The fact that the US will not have any financial and economic preferences affecting the socio-economic situation in the republic is also obvious. Everything will cost the support of "civil society" and security forces, to bribe key officials. But the population of Tajikistan is not limited to the Dushanbe stratum of Westernized youth and part of the intelligentsia, as a rule, nationalist-minded and seeing the “lesser evil” in the West ... This stratum is now being activated by numerous Western NGOs in the “color” scenarios, as a lever of pressure on Rakhmon, for completeness of guarantees, ”said Knyazev.
“Russia in this situation would have to freeze all working relations with Rakhmon, intensifying work with real and prospective political forces of Tajikistan, really reflecting the interests of not just one family, but society as a whole ... There are such forces in Tajikistan, including located in Russia. There are dissatisfied Rakhmon even within the ruling Dangarine clan itself, ”notes Knyazev.
In the meantime, the expert continues, “with regard to Russian policy in Tajikistan, it is difficult to say anything positive: the same preferential quota for fuel and lubricants is perceived in Tajikistan only as another support for Rakhmon himself and his family. In this situation, it is difficult to achieve some of their goals, and this does not contribute to the positive atmosphere around the Russian military base. ” “Not only are promises not fulfilled under an agreement with Russia: having achieved a preferential quota for supplies of fuel and lubricants from the Russian Federation, the Rakhmon regime has maintained the same retail price level for these fuel and lubricants for the population, which increases the level of the already not weak protest moods in society. In my opinion, the leadership of Tajikistan plays a very dangerous game for itself, trying to continue an excessively multi-vector policy at a time when it would be necessary to decide. I would venture to suggest that the process of the final foreign policy reorientation of Tajikistan (and not only it) towards the West reaches a critical point, when it will be too late to talk about any Russian influence and any Russian interests in the region, especially considering the distancing from Uzbekistan of Russia and the shaky positions in Kyrgyzstan and even in Kazakhstan, ”states the specialist.
“The Tajik regime is a pimple on the body of Russia a long time ago,” well-known political scientist Mikhail Leontyev said in an interview with Arguments and Facts. - Rakhmon is a man who, as a compromise figure, was dragged out, sorry, from shit, washed and taught for a long time “not to vomit compote”. Who bought his supporters and a significant part of the opponents, agreeing with them about the world. Whom Russia, if it had at least some kind of will, would easily have pulled the long-suffering Tajik people from the neck ... But we prefer to bargain. We are spoiled, the situation is brought to the limit, and at that moment when we are ready to boil, they get everything that is possible from the USA. After that, they turn to face us, and then betray us again ... Because of Tajikistan, we have spoiled relations with Uzbeks, with Islam Karimov, a politician of a completely different kind.
It would be enough for Russia once to “turn around awkwardly” in order to save the Tajik people from suffering, Leontyev is convinced. - But for some reason we turn very cleverly. The Tajiks themselves have repeatedly made attempts to resist such power, but Rahmon succeeded at the right time to convince them that Russia was on his side. And we did nothing to prevent him. For some reason, we support the existence of a regime whose main political specialty is drug trafficking. Bargaining with such - do not respect yourself. You can not bargain with the blackmailers. Imagine if the jerboa blackmailed the lion and he would systematically negotiate with him. This is exactly what is happening in Russia's relations with some “partners” in the CIS, ”states Mikhail Leontyev.