22/7 Tass 61
BISHKEK, July 22 (Itar-Tass) — State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Grigory Karasin will arrive in the capital of Kyrgyzstan on Friday for talks with the country’s leadership on the development of bilateral cooperation, Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister Asein Isayev told Itar-Tass in an interview.
“Kyrgyzstan and Russia have always maintained relations at the interstate level,” he said, “including in the economic and political spheres.” According to him, the current visit of Karasin is linked with the discussion of “future cooperation.”
In Bishkek, Karasin “will meet and discuss these issues with the republic’s President Roza Otunbayeva, as well as the Parliament speaker Akhmatbek Keldibekov,” Isayev said. He also recalled that last year Karasin visited Kyrgyzstan as a special envoy of the Russian Federation. “But now the situation in our country has normalised, and that status is no longer required,” he stressed.
In recent years, trade turnover between Kyrgyzstan and Russia almost doubled and in 2010 reached 1.4 billion US dollars. Over the first three months of the current year, the mutual export-import operations increased again by more than 10 percent, compared with last year’s figures and reached almost 290 million dollars. In the difficult for the Kyrgyz economy 2010, the volume of Russian investments in the republic increased 2.1 times and amounted to 95.9 million dollars.
In early 1995, Askar Akayev, the then President of Kyrgyzstan, attempted to sell Russian companies controlling shares in the republic’s twenty-nine largest industrial plants, an offer that Russia refused.
Akayev has been equally enthusiastic about more direct forms of reintegration, such as the Euro-Asian Union that the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed in June 1994. Because Kyrgyzstan presumably would receive much more from such a union than it would contribute, Akayev’s enthusiasm has met with little response from Russia and the other, larger states that would be involved in such an arrangement. Akayev’s invitation for Russian border guards to take charge of Kyrgyzstan’s Chinese border, a major revision of his policy of neutrality, was another move toward reintegration.
The Kyrgyzstan government also has felt compelled to request Russia’s economic protection. The harsh reality of Kyrgyzstan’s economic situation means that the nation is an inevitable international client state, at least for the foreseeable future. Despite concerted efforts to seek international “sponsors,” Akayev has not received much more than a great deal of international good will. Even if the president had not lived seventeen years in Russia himself and even if his advisers, family, and friends were not all Soviet-era intellectuals with a high degree of familiarity with Russia, economic necessity probably would push Kyrgyzstan further toward Russia.
On his February 1994 visit to Moscow, Akayev signed several economic agreements. Having promised the republic a 75 billion rouble line of credit (presumably for use in 1994) and some US$65 million in trade agreements, Russia also promised to extend to Kyrgyzstan most favoured nation status for the purchase of oil and other fuels. For its part, Kyrgyzstan agreed to the creation of a Kyrgyz-Russian investment company, which would purchase idle defence-related factories in the republic to provide employment for the increasingly dissatisfied Russian population of Kyrgyzstan.
For its part, Russia sees aid to Kyrgyzstan as a successful precedent in its new policy of gaining influence in its “near abroad,” the states that once were Soviet republics. Russia does not want a massive in-migration of Russians from the new republics; some 2 million ethnic Russians moved back to Russia between 1992 and 1995.
In February 2009 the Russian government pledged to write off Kyrgyzstan’s $180 million debt as well as promising to lend a further $2 billion, give $150 million in direct aid and subsidise the building of the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant at the Kambaratinsk Dam. Russia has an embassy in Bishkek and a consulate in Osh, and Kyrgyzstan has an embassy in Moscow, a consulate in Yekaterinburg, and a vice-consulate in Novosibirsk.
Since 2003, Russian Air Force units have been stationed at Kant Air Base east of Bishkek.