Putin May Seal Fate of Russian Base During Tajik Visit

MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the future of a Russian military base in Tajikistan during talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe on Friday, Putin’s aide Yury Ushakov said.

Putin arrived on an official visit to Tajikistan late on Thursday. The agenda of the visit focuses on bilateral cooperation in the economy, trade, industry, power, security and labor migration areas.

As part of the agenda, both presidents are expected to visit a garrison of Russia’s 201st military base near Dushanbe.

The base was opened in 2004 and hosts Russia’s largest military contingent deployed abroad.

Talks on the extension of the lease, which expires in 2014, came into a deadlock earlier this year as the sides could not agree on the length of the new lease and the payment terms.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in September that the sides were “very close” to signing the lease extension agreement, but the final decision has to be made by the presidents because “without their political will these issues can never be settled.”

A total of 7,000 Russian troops are stationed at three military garrisons collectively known as the 201st military base – in Dushanbe, the southwestern city of Qurgonteppa some 100 km from Dushanbe, and Kulob, about 200 km to the southwest of the capital.

Moscow planned to extend the lease of the base for 49 years, but Dushanbe proposed to cut the extension to 10 years. Tajik authorities also demanded that Russia pay at least $250 million a year for the lease.

Under the current agreements Russia does not pay Tajikistan for its military base, but renders the country military and technical assistance.

Leave a comment