SOCHI, February 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and Tajikistan on Thursday signed a protocol on exchanging instruments of ratification for an agreement on the presence of the Russian military base in Tajikistan.
The Russian and Tajik foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Sirodzhidin Aslov, put their signatures under the agreement after talks signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon.
The 201st military base quartered in Tajikistan is Russia’s biggest foreign military base. It opened in 2004 with an aim “to maintain peace and order in Tajikistan and assist the border troops and the Tajik Defense Ministry in implementing their functions.”
The Gatchinskaya 201st motor-rifled division formed in 1943 forms the bulk of the Russian military base’s combat force.
The Russian military took part in peacekeeping operations during the civil war in Tajikistan in 1991-1997. At present, up to 7,000 servicemen are stationed in the Tajik capital Dushanbe and towns of Kulyab and Kurgan-tyube.
On October 5, 2012, the Russian and Tajik presidents signed an agreement on conditions of presence of the 201st Russian military base in Dushanbe that will replace a similar agreement expiring before 2014.
The new agreement will prolong the Russian military base presence for 49 years since the moment the first agreement came in force on May 25, 1993, in short until 2042.
The Russian parliament ratified the Russian-Tajik agreement in May 2013. The lower house of Tajik parliament unanimously voted for the agreement’s ratification in October 2013.