Central Asian states are facing conflicts over water and land
The countries of Central Asia are reaping the fruits of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which has become the largest geopolitical catastrophe for the peoples of the Red Empire. Among them are interethnic conflicts and wars of varying intensity. And the states of Central Asia, which already have serious problems in the field of interethnic relations (one massacre in Osh), are threatened by wars for water and agricultural land.
The most difficult situation is in the south-west of Kyrgyzstan, on the border with Tajikistan. The situation is rather tense - there are allegations of excessive water use, plus there are Tajik enclaves in Kyrgyzstan. The fact that clashes between Tajiks and Kyrgyz can happen is for sure. Already there is an experience of clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Osh 1990 and 2010).
The essence of the problem
When, in the 19 century, the peoples of Central Asia (then West Turkestan) began to translate to the settled life of nomadic cattlemen, even then the problem of water arose. In Central Asia, agriculture is mainly based on artificial irrigation, with the help of irrigation facilities. Water in the region is diverted from the two largest rivers - the Amu-Darya and the Syr-Darya, their tributaries, through the canals. The river flow depends on the winter winters in the mountains.
In addition, the peoples of Central Asia had a population explosion in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. Prior to this, their numbers were regulated by numerous wars and internecine conflicts. Plus, both empires developed medicine, hygiene, etc., life expectancy grew, mortality fell. It is necessary to take into account a rather large influx of Russian population — Great Russians, Little Russians, and other peoples into the region of Central Asia, Germans, Crimean Tatars, etc. Over a century and a half since the entry of Western Turkestan under the power of Russia, the population of modern Tajikistan has grown about 10,2 times , Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - 6,5 times, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan - 7,2 times.
With the development of agriculture, the industry of these republics and increased water consumption. As a result, an increase in water intake from the Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya was one of the reasons for the desiccation of the Aral Sea, which became a catastrophe for a large region.
The collapse of the USSR only worsened the situation; it was not for nothing that the President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev suggested returning to the project of “turning the Siberian rivers” so that a part of their flow would be sent to Central Asia. The goal of the project is to direct part of the flow of Siberian rivers (the Irtysh, Ob and others) to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and, possibly, Turkmenistan. The former mayor of Moscow, Y. Luzhkov, also supported this plan. In addition, we must take into account the fact that the same Kazakhstan, on the issue of water, "squeezes" China. Beijing, despite the protests of Astana, is carrying out significant irrigation work near the border of Kazakhstan, which will eventually lead to a significant reduction in the drainage of a number of rivers. Kazakhstan is waiting for a shortage of water.
Since Moscow has ceased to be the control center of the Central Asian republics, the “arbitrator” has disappeared in Central Asia, which has settled controversial issues between regional elites. There was a financial and resource donor for the republics. As a result, the standard of living of the Central Asian republics, except Kazakhstan, fell to the level of the third world. There are disputes that no one has to settle, so in 2010, a dispute arose between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan over the construction of the Rogun hydropower station on the Vakhsh River. Tashkent fears a large drop in the water level in Amu-Darya, associated with Vakhsh, which will strike at Uzbekistan’s agriculture. The problem is that Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and partly Turkmenistan depend to a great extent on water flows from Kyrgyz and Tajik territories. And the problem of Tajikistan is that most of its territory is mountains, as a result, there is a big shortage of agricultural land. The launch of the Rogun hydropower plant allowed Tajikistan to solve a number of problems: the virtually unceasing energy crisis and the possibility of launching a whole series of mining ore processing enterprises. And the Tajik government planned to sell surplus energy, receiving currency from India, Iran, and Pakistan. As a result, the dispute between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reached the "rattling weapons".
And this is all in the conditions of population growth, although a significant part of the “non-indigenous people” left Central Asia, so Russian communities have declined very significantly, only in Kazakhstan there are still quite a lot of Russians. As a result, the region in the long term can wait for water and land disaster. Already at the moment little snowy winters in the mountains are already a problem of a national scale.
It is clear that interethnic conflicts, heated by disputes over water and land, will not remain outside the attention of the Anglo-Saxon special services. Already in the 2010 massacre of the year in Osh, “signals” about the presence of an “American footprint” were noted.
- Alexander Samsonov
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