Candidate of Economic Sciences
Tajikistan is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia with an extremely low standard of living and a high unemployment rate. Tajikistan's economy needs very significant investment injections and is still heavily dependent on foreign aid. Unlike its neighbors in the region, Tajikistan does not have any significant energy reserves that can attract foreign investors. However, Tajikistan has other advantages. The most serious of them is its geographical location. The republic shares borders with Afghanistan, China, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan and can be seen as a favorable springboard for powers interested in strengthening their influence in the region.
Tajikistan is a member of such regional associations as the EurAsEC, CSTO and SCO, which to some extent determines the scope of its economic and military-political priorities. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that the Tajik leadership has a clearly defined foreign policy course. It focuses on the economic factor rather than the political one, and therefore Tajikistan is interested in cooperation with all States that are ready to provide the republic with real financial and economic assistance.
Russia began to show serious economic interest in Tajikistan relatively recently. In 2004, during the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to this republic, a number of economic agreements were signed. Prior to that, the dominant area of Russian-Tajik cooperation was cooperation in the military sphere.
MILITARY COOPERATION AND ITS CHALLENGES
At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of Soviet military units and objects of strategic importance were located in Tajikistan. These are, first of all, units of the Gatchina 201st Motorized Rifle Division, stationed in Dushanbe, Kurgan-Tube and Kulyab; a helicopter repair plant in Ayni and the Nurek optical and electronic complex of the space forces ("Window"), which was under construction at that time.
For a long time, Russia did not have the opportunity to discuss the long-term prospects of these facilities due to the difficult military and political situation in Tajikistan, where a civil war was going on between 1992 and 1997.
However, some issues needed to be resolved even despite the very unstable situation in the republic. This concerned the status of the 201st Division, which required appropriate legal grounds for deployment on the territory of an independent state. In May 1993, an agreement was signed, according to which the division became part of the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force 1. These forces consisted of Russian troops, units from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. At the same time, an agreement was signed on the status of a group of Russian border troops in the republic, whose task was to protect the Tajik-Afghan border2. The term of this agreement was 5 years, with a possible extension for a further five-year period3.
The presence of Russian troops in Tajikistan during this most difficult period for the republic cannot be overestimated. Russia has provided Tajikistan with a variety of assistance - not only military, but also humanitarian in nature. Moscow has also promoted dialogue between the warring parties and the search for a political solution to the conflict. The final agreement on political settlement was signed in Moscow in December 1996.4
In 2004, the status of the 201st Motorized Rifle Division was changed. On its basis, a Russian military base was created, which became the first military base of the Russian ground forces in Central Asia.5
Currently, Russia, together with Tajikistan and India, 6 is equipping a new air base at Ayni airfield, 25 km from Dushanbe.7 For Russia, this will be the second air base in Central Asia after the air base in Kant (Kyrgyzstan). Aini was not chosen by chance. During the Soviet era, a helicopter repair plant was located here. It is planned to deploy an air group of the Russian military base in Ayni (6 Su-25 attack aircraft and 12 Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters), as well as Tajik and Indian aviation equipment 8. India will deploy 12 MiG-29 combat aircraft and one combat training aircraft designed to train Tajik pilots there.9
Throughout the years of independent Tajikistan's existence, the Russian military leadership has also paid close attention to the unique Nurek space control system, which is part of the Russian space forces ' system. The complex was laid back in 1979, but the collapse of the USSR prevented its construction and commissioning from being completed. In the combat duty mode, the complex has been operational only since March 2004. 10
The geographical location of the complex is unique (located at an altitude of 2200 m in the Sanglok Mountains, part of the Pamir mountain system 11). The sky here remains clear almost 365 days a year. This makes it possible to effectively observe space, namely, every spacecraft launched into orbit with an altitude of more than 2000 km from any polygon in the world, on the first turns of the orbit.-
it is placed in the visibility zone of the "Window" 12. According to external target designations, the complex is capable of servicing even low-orbit space objects with a flight altitude of 120-2000 km13. The complex is fully automated. It can function without operators in real time, transmitting information about all detected space objects 14.
The legal affiliation of Okna was settled during the visit of the Russian President to Tajikistan in 2004. The complex, estimated at $ 242.5 million, was transferred to the Russian side to pay off Tajikistan's debt to Russia15 amounting to $ 300 million. The remaining $ 58 million will be spent on the project. Tajikistan has pledged to invest in the Russian share of the Sangtuda HPP-1 under construction. Land and real estate located on the territory of the Nurek hub and the Russian military base were transferred to Russia free of charge 16.
Despite the active development of Russian-Tajik military and military-technical cooperation, there are also a number of serious problems. First of all, they are connected with the decision of Dushanbe to refuse Russian assistance in protecting the Tajik-Afghan border and to carry out this function independently. In 1998, when the 5-year agreement with Russia on this issue expired, Tajikistan decided not to renew it17.
Of course, each state has the right to independently protect its own borders, but taking into account the current situation in the republic, it seems that the decision of the Tajik leadership was somewhat premature. Tellingly, this opinion was shared not only by Moscow, but also by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Together, they tried to persuade President E. Rakhmonov to postpone the withdrawal of Russian border troops from the republic.18 However, little was achieved. Dushanbe agreed only to the gradual withdrawal during 1999-2005 and the presence in the republic of a small task force of the Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation numbering 300 people. 19 But, of course, the effectiveness of this group cannot be compared with the presence of 11 thousand Russian border guards who guarded the Panj border before.
The withdrawal of Russian border guards meant not only a reduction in Russia's geopolitical influence in the republic and the region as a whole, but also the danger of a sharp increase in drug trafficking across the Tajik-Afghan border and further into Russia, the penetration of international terrorists and Islamic extremists into its territory. And the reasons for such fears in Russia were serious.
Moscow understood that at the current stage, Dushanbe could hardly organize border security with Afghanistan professionally and effectively. This is also due to the lack of funding allocated for this purpose. Thus, according to the 1993 agreement on border protection, the Tajik side undertook to cover 50% of the costs of maintaining Russian border guards serving in the republic. In fact, this indicator has never risen above 5% 20. Naturally, the question arose from what sources Tajikistan would finance its own border guards.
In this regard, Dushanbe has pinned certain hopes on US financial assistance. In 2003-2005, the United States allocated $ 49 million (2003), $ 50.7 million (2004), and $ 59.9 million (2005)to Tajikistan, respectively .21 A significant portion of these funds was directed specifically to support the activities of the State Committee for State Border Protection (SCOG) and the Drug Control Agency. Thus, in 2005, $ 25 million was allocated for this purpose. In the same year, 2005, an OSCE-NATO training center was opened in Dushanbe, designed to retrain employees of the border services of Central Asian countries. By mid-2006, about 500 Tajik border guards had been trained there.22
However, despite the help of the United States and NATO, the border service of Tajikistan has not yet been able to establish a reliable barrier to drug smuggling from Afghanistan, which remains a serious problem. It should be borne in mind that Tajik-Afghan drug trafficking is closely linked to corruption in all levels of the Tajik government, including in the border service and customs authorities, which is largely due to the low standard of living of the population and the meager salaries of border service and customs officers.23
Realizing the complexity of the task of ensuring effective protection of the Tajik-Afghan border on their own, the leadership of the republic turned to Russia before the end of 2005 (the date of the final withdrawal of Russian border troops) with a request to assist Tajik border guards in particularly dangerous areas of the border. This function is performed today by special units of the 201st military base 24.
HYDROPOWER IS THE FOUNDATION OF RUSSIAN-TAJIK ECONOMIC COOPERATION
According to the general opinion, the most attractive investment sector in the economy of Tajikistan is the hydroelectric power industry. The share of hydropower in the total structure of the republic's energy resources is more than 95%25. Tajikistan's hydropower resources can undoubtedly be described as unique. According to some sources, Tajikistan accounts for about 4% of the world's hydroelectric potential.26
However, at present, this huge potential is used only by 10%, which, nevertheless, allows Tajikistan to export the generated electricity outside the republic (electricity ranks 3rd in the country's exports after aluminum and cotton).27.
Among the features of the water resource system of Tajikistan is its complex nature-hydroelectric and hydro-electric power.
irrigation. At the same time, Tajikistan's irrigation system is also used by neighboring countries - Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
The development of Tajikistan's water resources began in Soviet times. So, a cascade was built on the Vakhsh River, including five hydroelectric power stations: Nurek, Baipazinskaya, Perepadnaya, Golovaya and Tsentralnaya. Of these, the 2700 MW Nurek HPP stands out, which is one of the 30 most powerful hydroelectric power stations in the world. The height of the dam - 300 m-is still unique. In the late 1980s, two more hydroelectric power stations-Rogun and Sangtuda - were actively built on the Vakhsh River. However, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, construction was suspended.
Currently, Tajikistan considers the development of its own hydropower potential as one of the priority areas for economic development. However, these plans can only be implemented by attracting significant foreign investment. Potential investors interested in Tajikistan's energy resources include Iran, the United States, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Russia.
Russian-Tajik cooperation in the energy sector entered an active phase after the visit of the Russian President to the republic in October 2004. At that time, agreements were signed on the participation of Russian companies in the construction of hydroelectric power plants in Tajikistan. In particular, RAO UES of Russia continues construction of Sangtuda HPP-1, which was built in 1986. Construction is expected to be completed by 2009, and the total annual electricity generation at the HPP will amount to 2.7 billion kWh. The estimated cost of the project is $ 482 million. The share of the Russian side in this project is 75%, the Tajik side-25% 28. The second major project with the participation of the Russian company is to be the completion of the Rogun hydroelectric power station, where the main investor was to be the Russian Aluminum company (RUSAL). Russia planned to invest about $ 2 billion in Tajikistan's economy in 2006-2008.29 More than $ 1.5 billion. of this amount was accounted for by RUSAL, which intended to take part in hydroelectric projects, in the reconstruction of the Tajik Aluminum Plant (TadAZ) and in the construction of a new aluminum plant in the south of the country30. However, the implementation of these projects faced many difficulties, and not only of an economic nature, as we will discuss below. Cooperation with Russia in the energy sector is not limited to hydropower. Since 2006, the agreement on strategic cooperation in the gas industry, signed in May 2003, has been implemented. 31 The discovered oil and gas reserves in the republic are insignificant, but Gazprom believes that it is quite possible to detect significant oil and gas resources at depths of 5 kilometers or more.
RUSAL IS LEAVING?
RUSAL's participation in the completion of the Rogun hydroelectric power station seems strange at first glance. Why would a company that is one of the world's three largest aluminum producers invest in Tajikistan's hydropower industry? However, this project is a consequence of RUSAL's main interest in Tajikistan-participation in the privatization of the Tajik Aluminum Plant , the largest non-ferrous metallurgy enterprise in Central Asia.
Built in 1979, TadAZ was the third largest aluminum plant in the USSR in terms of production.32 Despite the fact that there are no bauxite deposits in the republic, Tajikistan, with its huge hydroelectric potential, could provide the extremely energy-intensive aluminum production with the necessary electricity. It is a common global practice to build such energy-intensive production facilities next to cheap energy sources, which reduces the cost of production.
Along the way, it was assumed that TadAZ would contribute to the industrialization of the agricultural economy of Tajikistan and the employment of excess labor, which has always been a serious problem for the republic.
Until 1991, raw materials for TadAZ were supplied from other republics of the USSR, primarily from Ukraine. After 1991, it had to be bought and transported at market prices. This has become a serious problem for Tajikistan, but the importance of TadAZ for the country's economy cannot be overestimated. Therefore, the state had to partially compensate the company's expenses and ensure its profitability by subsidizing electricity costs.
The design capacity of TadAZ is 517 thousand tons of aluminum per year, but the company has not reached the set parameters. In 1996 - 1998, the production volume was less than 200 thousand tons per year. Since 1998, production has gradually increased and in 2004 amounted to 368 thousand tons 33. However, without significant investments in modernization, the company will not be able to reach its design capacity.
RUSAL entered the Tajik market in 2003, replacing the former supplier of raw materials for TadAZ - Ansol Ltd, registered in the Virgin Islands. According to the agreements signed in 2004, RUSAL planned to put into operation by 2008 the following facilities:
TadASe has two new workshops, which should increase the company's productivity by 100 thousand tons of aluminum per year. RUSAL's plans also include the construction of a new aluminum plant in southern Tajikistan worth about $ 600 million and with a design capacity of 200 thousand tons of aluminum per year34.
The implementation of these plans provided for a significant increase in energy consumption, which resulted in RUSAL's decision to participate in the completion of the Rogun HPP 35. The first phase of this project, estimated at $ 560 million, was expected to be completed by 2010.36 However, to date, the parties (RUSAL and the Government of Tajikistan)have not yet completed the project. we could not agree on the technical parameters of the project, first of all, the height of the dam. RUSAL experts believe that its height should not exceed 285 m, which corresponds to the design capacity of 2400 MW37. The Tajik leadership, for its part, insists on the parameters laid down in the Soviet project, explaining this not only by the need to generate more electricity, but also by the possibility of constructing a larger reservoir to solve the irrigation problems of Tajikistan and neighboring states.
RUSAL categorically insists on a more economical option, since changing the project parameters automatically leads to an increase in its cost (estimated from $ 2 billion to $ 2.8 billion), an increase in the time of commissioning, which, in turn, delays the implementation of RUSAL's own projects in Tajikistan.38
Accepting the arguments of the Tajik leadership, RUSAL suggested that Tajikistan should bear the additional costs associated with the project change. Then President E. Rakhmonov said that he would not allow RUSAL to privatize TADAZ and appealed to Russia to terminate the agreement on the joint completion of the hydroelectric power station, explaining this with the intention to implement the project independently.39
Russia refused, as the proposal of Tajikistan is legally untenable - the unfinished Rogun hydroelectric power station belongs on a parity basis to Russia and Tajikistan. The application for independent completion of the hydroelectric power station seems economically ill-conceived, since the Tajik side does not have the funds for this. It is possible, however, that Tajikistan wants to withdraw from the project, counting on other investors-China, Pakistan or Iran.
The Russian leadership decided to intervene in the impasse and offered two options for further development of the project. The first one provides for its continuation with the participation of RUSAL. However, the insurmountable contradictions with the Tajik leadership, which have partly taken on a personal nature, make this option unlikely. In addition, the company's exclusion from participating in the privatization of TADAZ makes this project uninteresting for RUSAL itself.
Therefore, preference is still given to the second option, which provides for changing the technical parameters of the project in the direction of increasing them and allocating an additional $ 1 billion for it by Russia. government investment in exchange for a controlling stake in the Rogun HPP 40. This should legally protect Russia from unwanted surprises and whims of Dushanbe.
The funds that the Russian side is ready to allocate at the first stage will be sufficient for the construction of a 180-meter-high dam and the launch of the first stage of the hydroelectric power station. The remaining funds will be received from the sale of electricity and reinvested in the completion of the project. Russia is also considering replacing the operator of this project with RAO UES, which is already successfully operating in Tajikistan. It is expected that Moscow will officially send its proposals to the Tajik leadership in the near future. Nevertheless, it is possible that Russia will have to endure a serious struggle for the Rogun hydroelectric power station, since, according to some media reports, Dushanbe has already begun negotiations with Pakistan on this project.41
FOR THE CRANE IN THE SKY?
The relations that the Tajik leadership is building towards Russia are to some extent explicable. Dushanbe is seeking to ease its heavy dependence on Russia and diversify its foreign policy and economic ties.
Наиболее серьезную конкуренцию России в Таджикистане может составить Иран. Это объясняется как этноязыковой, исторической и культурной общностью таджиков и иранцев, традиционностью таджико-иранских связей, так и готовностью иранских компаний инвестировать в таджикские экономические проекты.
Thus, in December 2005, the Tajik-Iranian agreement on the construction of the Sangtuda HPP-2 worth $ 220 million was signed and ratified in January 2007.42 Tajikistan's financial contribution will amount to $ 40 million, with the rest coming from Iran. 43 Construction work is expected to start in 2007 and be completed by the end of 2009. The Iranian side plans to recoup its investment in the project within the first 10 years after the HPP is put into operation by selling electricity to the state-owned energy company of Tajikistan "Barki Tojik". After that, the hydroelectric power station will become the property of Tajikistan 44.
Most of the electricity generated at the Sangtuda HPP is electric-
Tajikistan plans to export hydroelectric power. Currently, the republic is ready to export only 1.5 billion kWh, but in 10 years it plans to increase this amount significantly. By 2020, Dushanbe plans to increase its hydropower generation to 60 billion kWh, with an estimated domestic demand of 28.3 billion kWh.45
However, a serious obstacle to these plans is the lack of high-voltage power lines. To solve this problem, Tajikistan offers foreign investors to finance the construction of 500 kW transmission lines from the south to the north of Tajikistan with subsequent transit to Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and further to Pakistan and Iran.46 Iran is already ready to discuss the construction of a power transmission line on the Tajikistan - Afghanistan - Iran route.
E. Rakhmonov's visit to China in January 2007, which resulted in the Tajik-Chinese agreement on Sinohydro's participation in the construction of the 150 MW Zerafshan hydroelectric power station, cannot be ignored 47. This is certainly not the most significant hydropower project in the country, but given the energy shortage in China, it may be the beginning of Chinese investment expansion in Tajikistan.
Another traditional geopolitical opponent of Russia in Central Asia is the United States. However, despite the activity of representatives of the US administration who regularly pay visits to Dushanbe, it seems that Russia should not be particularly concerned about this issue yet, since a possible "Tajik-American alliance" is likely to live for a short time. Especially if the United States continues to operate in the region using the same methods, trying to gain a foothold there by "exporting democracy". In the meantime, US methods have not changed significantly. Thus, a significant part of the funds allocated by the United States to Tajikistan go under such articles as "promoting democracy", "improving the level of security and law enforcement", "development of independent radio stations" 48.
As for large-scale economic projects, most American companies are currently not ready to invest significantly in the Central Asian states, since the risks of such projects are very high. In this regard, the statements of the American Ambassador in Dushanbe about the readiness of the United States to invest $ 8 billion in the development of Tajikistan's hydropower industry and to participate in the construction of the Dashtijum hydroelectric power station on the Panj River at a cost of $ 3.2 billion. they are more a political declaration than actual promises.49
At the same time, leading Russian companies are already showing a willingness to invest heavily in the Tajik economy.
Gusher A. 1 Tajikistan-war and Peace / / Asia and Africa Today, 1998, N 3, p. 10.
Orlov A. 2 Rossiiskoe-tadzhikskoe sotrudnichestvo [Russian-Tajik cooperation] / / Voenno-promyshlennyy kuryer, No. 5 (22), February 11-17, 2004.
Gusher A. 4 Tajikistan-War and Peace.., p. 11.
Lavrov S. 5 Russia-Tajikistan: a new stage of mutually beneficial cooperation// Parliamentary newspaper, 25.11.05.
6 Under the agreement on military cooperation with Tajikistan.
Myasnikov V. 7 Delhi is crowding Moscow // Independent Military Review, 25.04.06.
10 Nurek Optical and electronic node (Materials of the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Tajikistan) - www.rusembassy.tajnet.com
14 Ibid. A similar system exists in the United States (GEODSS deep space observation system), but it is inferior to Nurek in some parameters and is much more expensive, since it consists of four stations.
Abdulatipov R. 15 Tajikistan is getting closer / / Expovedomosti, N 4, 21.09.05.
Plugatarev I. 17 Dushanbe seeks control over drug trafficking // Independent Military Review, 04.06.04.
Plugatarev I. 19 Dushanbe does not have enough forces to protect the Panj border / / Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie, 02.12.05.
Mukhin V. 21 Interests of the USA and Russia collide in Tajikistan / / Independent Military Review, 12.08.03; Krasnov N. Tajikistan stands before the choice. Illusions will not replace real investments / / Parliamentary Newspaper, 21.07.06.
23 Officers of the State Border Guard Service of Tajikistan receive no more than 100 somani per month ($35) - Plugatarev I. Dushanbe seeks control over drug trafficking...
Plugatarev I. 24 Dushanbe does not have enough forces to protect the Panj border...
25 Energy Resources of Tajikistan (Materials of the exhibition Power Tajikistan 2006, September 19-21, 2006) - www.tajik-power.iteca.kz; Electric power industry of the Republic of Tajikistan / / Elektroinfo, 2005, N 3, pp. 32-39.
Pospelov, P. 28 the Time is right priorities (Interview Brazhnikova Yu, Director of the international Department of the EMERCOM of Russia) // Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 21.07.06.
Lavrov S. 29 Russia-Tajikistan: a new stage of mutually beneficial cooperation...
Nikolaeva A. 32 RUSAL goes to Tajikistan / / Vedomosti, 18.10.04.
33 Energy resources of Tajikistan...
Cherkasova M. 34 RUSAL did not take the Tajik height / / Kommersant, 30.10.06.
35 The history of the construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power station is dramatic. Its construction began in September 1976. It was supposed to become one of the most powerful in the world (with a design capacity of 3,600 MW) with a record dam height of 325 m. The first unit of the station was never launched. In 1992, funding for construction stopped, and in the spring of 1993, the 40-meter dam of the hydroelectric power station was destroyed and washed away as a result of floods and a sharp increase in water in Vakhsh-Dubrov I. Treacherous officials - they are everywhere... / / Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 26.05.06.
37 According to the project approved by RUSAL, the HPP capacity was reduced by one and a half times.
Dubrov I. 38 Treacherous officials - they are everywhere... / / Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 26.05.06.
Cherkasova M. 40 Rogun HPP will be given into new hands / / Kommersant, N 206 (3537), 02.11.06.
Gurkina E. 42 Chubais and Teheran will divide the "liberal empire" / / RBC daily, 13.01.05.
45 Electric power industry of the Republic of Tajikistan.., p. 38.
Nurmakhmatov D. 46 Power lines go to the mountains / / Elektroinfo, 2005, N 4 p. 26.
Panfilova V. / / Nezavisimaya gazeta, 15.01.07.
Hoagland R. 49 The current State and future of U.S.-Tajik relations (Speech by the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan on November 30, 2005, Dushanbe) - www.usinfo.state.gov
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