Kyrgyzstan has agreed to allow Russia to create a unified military base in the country, combining all of the various facilities that the Russian armed forces now operate there. This is something that Russia has been seeking for some time -- two years ago they proposed paying for such an arrangement in weapons. (So, one wonders if this new announcement is connected to the recent agreement to supply Kyrgyzstan with over a billion dollars in weaponry.) The agreement was reached in September, though just formally signed (and announced) by President Almazbek Atambayev this week and will go into effect in 2017, reports RIA Novosti:
It will include the four military facilities Russia has in Kyrgyzstan at present.
The agreement was signed for a term of 15 years with an option to extend for five years.
Russia has a weapon test range in Karakol, a signals center in Kara-Balt, a radio-seismic laboratory in Mayly-Suu and a Collective Security Treaty Organization airbase in Kant.
So why was this sort of bureaucratic reorganization so important to Russia? It will make it harder for Kyrgyzstan to kick out any of the particular facilities, notes Vasily Kashin, an analyst at the Moscow defense think tank Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. He tells The Bug Pit:
The four original Russian military facilities in the Kyrgyz republic were functioning according to different agreements and had different statuses (Kant was in fact a Collective Security Treaty Organization base, not simply a Russian military base and originally some multilateral activities were planned there, on other facilities there were different agreements, some quite outdated). Such a situation made the Russian facilities politically vulnerable, giving the Kyrgyz side much space for various claims (in Kyrgyz situation that would be easy to start any kind of litigation against the Russian side). Currently all these facilities are belonging to one legal entity (the integrated military base) and the Russian interests are very well protected from any possible political developments in Kyrgyzstan.