News / Europe

Russia Boosts Military, Economic Ties With Kyrgyzstan

Kokab Farshori
The U.S. Air Force base in Kyrgyzstan is packing up for closure after more than 12 years of flying troops and cargo in and out of Afghanistan, as Moscow boosts its military clout in the strategic region. Against the backdrop of the Russian actions in Ukraine, experts say Russia’s increasing economic and military influence in the impoverished former Soviet state can be a big strategic gain for Moscow.

Russian-Kyrgyz economic and defense relations are strengthening at a steady pace. Last month, Russia announced that Kyrgyzstan would receive modern Russian weaponry.

Kyrgyzstan is a mainly Muslim country with volatile politics. Leonid Bondarets, a defense analyst based in the Kyrgyz capital city, Bishkek, said good relations between Moscow and Bishkek may mean fewer worries for Moscow about religious extremism. He said when Russia has a friendly government next door, it will not have to worry about seeing the extremism being exported to its territory.

Modernizing the military

Russia is helping Kyrgyzstan modernize its armed forces and last year gave Bishkek a $1.2 billion military package. Russia also operates four military installations in Kyrgyzstan. They include the Kant Air Base near Bishkek and a naval test site in the Tien Shan mountains.

Bondarets, however, said Russia’s close military ties with Kyrgyzstan should not be seen as an attempt to bring the former Soviet state under the umbrella of the Russian security forces. He said the former Soviet states will have to maintain their independence and be responsible for their own security.

Bondarets said Russia is not the Soviet Union anymore in a military sense. That won’t happen anytime soon. He said, therefore, it is in Russia's interests that the Central Asian states take care of their own security.

Russia also provides substantial economic assistance to Kyrgyzstan by helping build its infrastructure. Alisher Yusupov is an expert on economic affairs based in Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. He said Russia is helping the country build hydropower stations, assisting it with gas supplies and helping develop its transportation and banking sectors.

Geopolitical maneuvering

Yusupov said Kyrgyzstan accepts Russia as a large economic, military and political partner. This also plays to Russia’s own geopolitical interest in the region, because Kyrgyzstan has a unique location. It is right in the center of Central Asia and it neighbors China.

As Kyrgyzstan seeks closer ties with Russia, the national parliament last year gave Washington until this coming July to close its base at Manas. Yusupov is among the regional experts who say Bishkek will look to fill a revenue gap after the Americans leave.

He said Kyrgyzstan annually earned $140 million from air base lease, taxes and other payments. Now as the U.S. leaves the base, Bishkek may be looking to receive similar compensation from Russia.

And, experts say, it's likely that Moscow may consider it for the sake of its national interests.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sergey from: NY
March 08, 2014 9:04 PM
It's true about oil, however we should remember that all these countries got scared of revolutions after Kaddafi, and SCO now have in their agreement "help" for such cases.

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
March 08, 2014 1:14 PM
Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan form the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO. They agreed to watch Afghanistan after the US and NATO leave in 2014. They have conducted joint police and military exercises to prepare. Russia fights muslim rebels in the Caucasus; China fights them in Xinjiang; and the Taliban wants a central Asian caliphate including all 7 "stans." Russia and China build infrastructure such as roads, railroads, and airports for better logistics than the costly nightmare the US and NATO have endured. They improve economies to gain better stability for the present and the future.

Russia and China fight the same islamic insurgents that the US and NATO have fought for nearly 13 years. The US and future NATO countries were military allies of Russia and China in WWII. The West did not adopt the dictatorial political systems of Russia and China during or after that war, and the West need not adopt the the East's political systems in the current conflict. However, the West could use the increase in manpower, the strategic locations of the SCO, the oil and gas of Russia, and the industrial production of China in the continuing conflict against islamic insurgents.

After bin Laden's death, al Zawahiri has moved al Qaeda within striking distance of the oil and gas of north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. He threatens the oil and gas that western mechanized economies and mechanized militaries need. Also, western economies develop, purchase, and support their militaries. His attacks raise the terror premium that increases revenues to Arab oil states, raises Arab donations for al Qaeda, damages the West's economies and militaries, and lets the West pay for both sides in the war. This is another major reason that the West needs the world's biggest oil and gas station in Russian Siberia on the side of the West in its current and continuing conflict.

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
March 08, 2014 11:49 AM
Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO. They agreed to watch Afghanistan after the US and NATO leave in December. They have held joint police and military exercises to prepare. Russia fights islamic rebels in the southern Caucasus; China fights them in Xinjiang; and the Taliban wants a central Asian caliphate that would include all 7 "stans." These countries live in the region and won't have the expensive logistics that the US and NATO have had with many supply columns going through the Taliban dominated tribal areas of western Pakistan. China has built roads, railroads, and airports in central Asia for logistical support and for economic development that reduces extremism.

Russia and China are de facto military allies of the US and NATO as they were in WWII. The US and future NATO countries did not adopt the dictatorial political systems of Russia and China in WWII, and the West need not adopt their allies' systems in the current world war. The West needs the East's manpower, the oil and gas of Russian Siberia, and the industrial production of China. The US and NATO have been losing the war for 13 years. They need new allies and better strategies and tactics.

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
March 08, 2014 1:54 AM
this is call a best and real friendship who spent billions of billion Dollar or Rouble for a real develop and civilized country for 200 years. I am sure it could keep the changes for 200 years in Kyrgyzstan if infrastructure could be a big point for Russia.
When I hear or read such news's it is really amazing for me.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs