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Russian-Kyrgyz relations are deteriorating rapidly

Russian-Kyrgyz relations have deteriorated sharply

MOSCOW, March 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian-Kyrgyz relations have deteriorated sharply. Russia is dissatisfied with Kyrgyz plans to shut down a Russian military base, and Bishkek demands to replace the general secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The new apple of discord became the Dastan torpedo producing plant, which Moscow is seeking to control.

Russia is very dissatisfied with the policy of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev elected last October, the Vedomosti cited a high-ranking Russian official as saying to reporters on Wednesday. In February Atambayev stated about a probable shutdown of the Russian military base in Kant, though the agreement about the deployment of the military base in 2009 was extended for 49 years. “The military base did not bring much benefit,” Atambayev said. Last February the president demanded from Russia to pay off the debt for the military base at 15 million dollars and the Defence Ministry repaid the debt.

Atambayev’s statement sounded like the thunder in the sky creates new problems not only for bilateral relations, but also for the CSTO activities. “If earlier the CSTO brought together six allied countries and one country with the special position that is Uzbekistan, after the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan we received a president, who does not realize always what he is saying,” the Russian official said. He is also not convinced that Atambayev will keep his promise to shutdown the US military base Manas by 2014.

As a reciprocal claim Kyrgyzstan noted that CSTO General Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha does not act properly at his post. At the CSTO summit in December his replacement was raised, a Kyrgyz governmental official told the Vedomosti. Bordyuzha interferes in domestic affairs of the countries, Atambayev said in late December.

Until recently the authorities of the two countries failed to agree on the merger of Russian military facilities in Kyrgyzstan (the airbase in Kant, sea-based weapon testing ground on the Issyk-Kul Lake, a military seismic station and a naval telecommunications hub) in a common structure.

No active measures will be taken to influence on Kyrgyzstan, the Russian official pledged. However, his statement coincided with a statement of the head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) Konstantin Romodanovsky to change the procedure to grant Russian citizenship to Kyrgyz citizens. The agreement for an easier procedure to grant Russian citizenship was denounced, he stated.

Russian-Kyrgyz relations are deteriorating rapidly, the Kommersant daily noted. The new apple of discord became the Dastan torpedo producing plant, which Moscow is seeking to control. The newspaper noted that Russia insists on the revision of the previously coordinated scheme and demands 75% of assets instead of 48% in a swap for writing off 180 million dollars of debt. The Kyrgyz authorities oppose this initiative strongly. The standoff between the two countries spread on the CSTO. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev is dissatisfied with the activities of CSTO General Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha.

Atambayev told the Kommersant that the countries agreed on a scheme three years ago that Kyrgyzstan hands over 48% of stock of the plant and the building of the Russian trading mission in Bishkek in exchange for writing off 180 million dollars of Kyrgyz debt. However, this deal remained on paper. “Three years passed. Who is to blame that the issue remained unsettled?” the Kyrgyz leader said with indignation.

The newspaper explained that the negotiations over the deal do not advance, because Russia does not agree on the previous scheme any longer. Since 2009 the Dastan property depreciated over the wear of equipment, therefore, Russia is not ready to write off 180 million dollars of debts, a Kommersant source in the Russian government said. Kyrgyzstan is now offered to write off a smaller sum of debt in exchange for the same amount of Kyrgyz assets or write off 180 million dollars, but to increase a stake of the Dastan stock for Russia. Kyrgyzstan insists on the previous scheme.