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Cablegate: Russian Military Newspaper Asserts Moscow's Right

VZCZCXRO3706
PP RUEHAST
DE RUEHDBU #1440/01 2090929
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280929Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8224
INFO RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 9539
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1731
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1458
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1668
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 1715
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 1672
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1654
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1702
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1253

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 DUSHANBE 001440

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
STATE FOR P, S/P, SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS, INR
NSC FOR MILLARD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINR PROP ECON MARR RS ZK
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MILITARY NEWSPAPER ASSERTS MOSCOW'S RIGHT
EXCLUSIVELY TO DOMINATE CENTRAL ASIA


DUSHANBE 00001440 001.3 OF 005


1. SUMMARY: A seminal July 25 analytical article in Russia's
official military newspaper asserts Russia's right to dominate
Central Asia and to prevent the United States and NATO -
"[Russia's] traditional geopolitical rivals" - from any sort of
further military presence in the region. The article ignores
Turkmenistan, but states that Kazakhstan, though rich enough to
attempt an independent foreign policy, is reliably in the
Kremlin camp; Uzbekistan is now Russia's because of rigid U.S.
human rights ideology; Kyrgyzstan is coming to its senses and
knows who butters which side of its bread, especially because of
American spies from Embassy Bishkek working to undermine
President Bakiyev's government; and Tajikistan owes its
existence and its current leaders solely to Russia. This is not
"black propaganda," like usually appears in the Russian press:
it's a mostly sober political analysis and policy assertion.
END SUMMARY.

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2. From time to time, Post has reported examples of Russian
disinformation and "black propaganda" that floods the Central
Asian information space. This article (full text in para four
below) from the official Russian military newspaper, "Krasnaya
Zvezda" ["Red Star"], is qualitatively different from previous
examples because it is a relatively sober analysis that asserts,
country by country (except for Turkmenistan) how much Moscow
"owns" Central Asia, and what remains to be done to sew it up
for good. Embassy Dushanbe suggests it is important that U.S.
Posts in the former Soviet Union, Washington analysts, and other
addressees, be aware of this important article.

3. The article, with the byline Vladimir Mokhov interviewing
pundit Andrei Grozin and headlined "Asia is Subtle," was
published July 25. It asserts, "Central Asian states are still
within the orbit of Russia's political, military-political, and
economic influence. And Russia must not stop there; it needs to
continue building up its influence in all the areas of
activity." The author asserts the following:

KAZAKHASTAN: Because the country is rich and has $11 billion in
U.S. foreign investment, it can afford to attempt a balanced
foreign policy; but, in fact, Nazarbayev is reliably in the
Kremlin's camp.

TAJIKISTAN: President Emomali Rahmonov's attempt to pursue a
Tajjk version of multi-directional ["open-door"] foreign policy
isn't very far-sighted. In terms of its economic, demographic,
intellectual, defensive, and other resources, Tajikistan is
nowhere near equal to Kazakhstan. It's a much more vulnerable
and less self-sufficient state. In the final analysis,
Tajikistan owes its existence - within its current borders and
with its current political elites - entirely to Russia.
(COMMENT: Dushanbe, which closely monitors the Russian press,
will see this as an assertion that President Rahmonov serves at
the pleasure of the Kremlin. END COMMENT.)

UZBEKISTAN: [When] the West started portraying Karimov as some
sort of "mad dog," Russian companies and politicians gained a
window of opportunity for expanding cooperation with Uzbekistan.

KYRGYZSTAN: The Bishkek government's statement announcing the
expulsion of two U.S. diplomats says plainly this decision was
made on the basis of intelligence reports from the Kyrgyz
special services, which repeatedly caught the Americans
interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs. According to some
accounts, they were establishing a spy network in southern
Kyrgyzstan, where Kyrgyz intelligence predicts an outbreak of
radical activity at the end of this summer. Although the U.S.
Embassy in Kyrgyzstan has denied all allegations, there's
obviously no smoke without fire.

CONCLUSION: Central Asian states are still within the orbit of
Russia's political, military-political, and economic influence.
And Russia must not stop there: it needs to continue building up
its influence in all areas of activity. One reason to do this

DUSHANBE 00001440 002.3 OF 005


is to minimize the possibility of any further American military
facilities being established in Central Asia, whatever they may
be called: training centers for local military personnel,
points for monitoring the Afghanistan drug-trafficking
situation, or anything else. One way or another, they would be
military facilities controlled by the United States or NATO -
our traditional geopolitical rivals.

4. BEGIN TEXT:

The United States has completely abandoned its plans for a
strategic partnership with Uzbekistan. Washington now describes
the regime there as unacceptable and "undemocratic." The White
House does not consider it necessary to engage in dialogue or
bridge-building with the Uzbek regime; moreover, it expects that
regime to be replaced as a result of socio-political upheavals.

Uzbekistan has not lived up to the expectations of the US State
Department and the Pentagon. But was it ever capable of doing so?

Andrei Grozin, head of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan
department at the CIS Countries Institute: "Clearly, after what
happened in Andijan in May of 2005, American strategists decided
that Uzbekistan was dependent on them, so it could be pressured
into agreeing to an 'international investigation' into the
tragic Andijan events - thus bringing the Uzbek administration
entirely under American control, or at least giving the United
States substantial leverage."

But President Islam Karimov refused to give in to pressure.
Instead, he learned some appropriate lessons from what had
happened. The Andijan events could hardly be described as
another "revolution" in the former Soviet Union. This was more
like an armed uprising in one particular city, with the prospect
of instability spreading to adjacent cities and the entire
Ferghana Valley. If the first and second phases of the Ferghana
Valley power-grab attempt had succeeded, the rebels could have
escalated the situation and overthrown the existing political
regime, or at least attempted to proclaim some sort of
independent state formation in the Ferghana Valley.

In contrast to the West, Moscow and Beijing understood this -
and in general, they did not condemn the resolute measures used
to crush the revolt. Russia, for example, behaved quite
rationally under the circumstances. By refraining from any
active involvement, and accepting the Tashkent government's
official account of events in Andijan, we not only maintained
good relations with Karimov, but actually strengthened that
relationship. What's more, while the West started portraying
Karimov as some sort of "mad dog," Russian companies and
politicians gained a window of opportunity for expanding
cooperation with Uzbekistan.

These opportunities have been developed successfully, as
confirmed by Uzbekistan's decision to renew its membership of
the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the
gradual change in Tashkent's foreign policy priorities as it has
re-entered Russia's sphere of influence. By the end of this
year, Uzbekistan will have joined the dozens of agreements
within the Euro-Asian Economic Community framework. Another
logical development has been Uzbekistan's official request for
Washington to withdraw its troops and hardware from the Khanabad
airbase.

But the United States was thrown out of Uzbekistan so fast that
American military experts and State Department officials had to
rewrite their Central Asia strategy on the fly. This strategy
cannot be implemented without some new allies in the region.

Washington is primarily focusing its attention on Kazakhstan and
Tajikistan.

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, has been visited by many

DUSHANBE 00001440 003.3 OF 005


American officials over the past six months - including
high-level officials like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
and Energy Secretary Sam Boden. Observers note that all of a
sudden, as if by command, Washington officials have started
expressing support for Kazakhstan's claims that it is a leader
in the region. American officials had not been known to support
such statements before. Over the years of Kazakhstan's
independence, the United States has invested just over $11
billion there - primarily in hydrocarbon production. American
transnational corporations hold very strong positions in
Kazakhstan, stronger than in any other post-Soviet state in
Central Asia.

Note that none of the above applied to Uzbekistan. Of course,
Taskhent was initially promised a great deal of investment, but
this never materialized. American business projects in
Uzbekistan weren't very large or substantial; they mostly
concerned gold-mining, uranium-mining, and some other raw
materials projects.

Andrei Grozin: "The situation is completely different in
Kazakhstan. In economic and investment terms, it is very
dependent on the United States - much more than Uzbekistan was.
After all, Kazakhstan's economy has been reformed to a far
greater extent, and is more liberal. Consequently, it has long
been tied to world energy markets, and that makes it far more
vulnerable."

So President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has consistently pursued
a multi-directional foreign policy, finds it absolutely
essential to maintain good relations with all of his large and
influential neighbors, especially China and Russia, as well as
with the West, especially the United States. Thus, on the one
hand, Kazakhstan has recently decided to participate in the
overtly anti-Russian Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project.
On the other hand, when Nazarbayev attended the G8 summit in his
capacity as CIS chairman, Kazakhstan agreed to sign a number of
major energy project deals with Russia. The CIS Countries
Institute maintains that Kazakhstan has always balanced on the
boundary of the interests of various other countries, and seems
likely to continue this policy.

That applies to defense as well. Kazakhstan can probably be
described as Russia's most consistent Central Asian ally in
defense cooperation, participating actively in all CSTO measures
- just as actively as it participates in NATO's Partnership for
Peace.

Astana doesn't reject Western aid either. The United States, for
example, is spending substantial sums on infrastructure for
Kazakhstan's marines on the shore of the Caspian Sea. The very
same Kazakhstan battalion, now a brigade, has been equipped by
the Americans and uses the Hummers they donated. Only the
artillery is still Soviet- or Russian-made.

Tajikistan was the main target of US Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld's visit to the region. The Americans make no secret of
their vital interest in air corridors over Tajikistan and
refuelling rights there. So there was some discussion of a
substantial increase in NATO flights over Tajik territory, and
allocating another airfield for NATO there.

The Tajik government in Dushanbe is interested in additional
revenues for its scanty budget - in the form of plentiful
American dollars. Tajikistan is willing to take full advantage
of its key geostrategic location in Central Asia. Moreover,
Tajikistan fully approves of everything the Americans are doing
in Afghanistan. The American presence there reduces the danger
of terrorism from the south, allowing Tajikistan to get on with
fortifying the Tajik-Afghan border. So Dushanbe's readiness to
respond to Washington's requests has more to do with simply
wanting to make money, rather than adopting a multi-directional
foreign policy course. Tajikistan hasn't found any other

DUSHANBE 00001440 004.3 OF 005


money-making opportunities so far. This seems to be the sole
explanation for current American-Tajik cooperation.

Some experts maintain that Tajikistan is talking of a
multi-directional foreign policy partly because its hopes of
attracting substantial investment from Russia haven't yet been
fulfilled. So this is a way of putting pressure on Russian
companies which have discussed plans for a number of major
projects in Tajikistan. Chief among these companies is RAO
Unified Energy Systems (RAO UES).

Andrei Grozin: "But Anatoly Chubais's company has some equally
large projects in Kyrgyzstan. Thus, in my view, there's
obviously some bargaining going on here - these two post-Soviet
republics have a monopoly on water resources in Central Asia,
and it's a question of deciding which one of them will be the
priority partner."

It's no secret that some of America's intellectual elite have
been floating the idea of a "Greater Central Asia" project over
the past six months. When Rumsfeld visited Dushanbe, he noted
once again that there is a great deal of scope for energy
projects in American-Tajik cooperation. American corporations
could invest $1.5-2 billion in these projects over the next few
years. RAO UES CEO Anatoly Chubais was mentioning similar
figures for potential Russian investment in Tajikistan. But the
Tajiks seem more inclined to believe the Americans, rather than
Chubais.

Russian border guards have left Tajikistan; Russia's 201st
Division, which recently became a military base, has been asked
to relocate from central Dushanbe to the outskirts. According to
some observers, these developments indicate that Tajikistan is
trying to distance itself from Russia, or at least show Russia
its place, to some extent.

Andrei Grozin: "President Emomali Rakhmonov's attempt to pursue
a Tajik version of multi-directional policy isn't very
far-sighted, in my view. In terms of its economic, demographic,
intellectual, defensive, and other resources, Tajikistan is
nowhere near equal to Kazakhstan. It's a much more vulnerable
and less self-sufficient state. In the final analysis,
Tajikistan owes its existence - within its current borders and
with its current political elites - entirely to Russia."

One of the few post-Soviet states to resist American dominance
is Kyrgyzstan. Washington has been somewhat annoyed by President
Kurmanbek Bakiyev independent stance in deciding his foreign
policy direction. This annoyance peaked when Bakiyev made a
much-publicized statement about the presence of America's
[former Uzbekistan] Khansi airbase being unwelcome in
Kyrgyzstan. Some experts maintain that the statement was
political: Kyrgyzstan's new administration wants to restrict
Washington's influence on its domestic policy-making.

Observers link the same factor to Kyrgyzstan's recent expulsion
of two American diplomats, declared personae non grata. The
Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry's statement says plainly that this
decision was made on the basis of intelligence reports from the
Kyrgyz special services, which repeatedly caught the Americans
interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs. According to some
accounts, they were establishing a spy network in southern
Kyrgyzstan, where Kyrgyz intelligence predicts an outbreak of
radical activity at the end of this summer. Although the US
Embassy in Kyrgyzstan has denied all allegations, there's
obviously no smoke without fire.

This diplomatic scandal had a negative impact on American-Kyrgyz
negotiations regarding terms for the Pentagon's lease on an
airbase at the Manas International Airport. These talks have
been under way for several months. The Americans will have to
pay up - unless they want to lose their strategic bridgehead in
Kyrgyzstan like they lost the one in Uzbekistan. Most likely,

DUSHANBE 00001440 005.3 OF 005


they'll also have to restrain their zeal in imposing the Western
model of democracy on Kyrgyz society.

Andrei Grozin: "Kyrgyzstan's 'willfulness' is due to a
combination of various factors. I get the impression that
Kurmanbek Bakiyev is gradually bringing the situation in
Kyrgyzstan under control. At any rate, the unrestrained
lawlessness observed only six months ago - the bacchanalia that
continued for a few months after the revolution - is now gone.
The central authorities are gradually establishing control over
unruly regions. Life is slowly returning to normal, more or
less. The economy is doing relatively well, for a country which
has experienced such cataclysms."

Kurmanbek Bakiyev's initial demand was $200 million a year for
use of the airbase. Obviously, the United States could easily
afford that. It could afford much more. In principle, the
Pentagon's budget would cover it. According to recent reports,
the two sides seem to have agreed on $150 million. One way or
another, this is a lot of money for Kyrgyzstan, which is a
fairly poor country, lacking minerals or other resources; it
would amount to about a third of Kyrgyzstan's annual budget
revenues. So the Kyrgyz government does have something to fight
for.

Over the past 12-18 months, Russia has gone on the offensive in
Central Asia. Compared to the preceding five years, the heights
reached there by Gazprom, LUKoil, RAO UES, some defense
enterprises, mobile communications operators, and even large
retail networks show that our country is making a comeback to
the region. But it's coming back as a reliable economic partner,
not a politically dominant forces. As the economists put it:
banks are better than tanks.

Andrei Grozin: "Central Asia is still dependent on Russia to a
considerable extent. For this region our country means trade
routes, a market for surplus labor, and a market for a
substantial proportion of the raw materials that come from
Central Asia, including exports across Russian territory."

But the "tanks" should not be overlooked either. Russia remains
the leading supplier of arms and military hardware to Central
Asian countries (some of it at concessional prices for members
of the CSTO). The overwhelming majority of future officers are
trained in Russia. For example, Kazakhstan has over 700
officer cadets studying at Russian military education
institutions, while only about a hundred are studying in Western
Europe and the United States. This is an obvious example of how
closely Kazakhstan cooperates with the Russian Federation. In
principle, the same can be said for other Central Asian states.

Moreover, there are the CSTO and the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization. There are associations within these influential
international organizations: the Regional Anti-Terrorism Center
(within the SCO) and the CSTO Regional Coalition Group in
Central Asia. In other words, Central Asian states are still
within the orbit of Russia's political, military-political, and
economic influence. And Russia must not stop there; it needs to
continue building up its influence in all the areas of activity.

One reason to do this is in order to minimize the possibility of
any further American military facilities being established in
Central Asia, whatver they may be called: training centers for
local military personnel, points for monitoring the Afghanistan
drug-trafficking sitation, or anything else. One way or another,
they would be military facilities controlled by the United
States or NATO - our traditional geopolitical rivals.

END TEXT.
Hoagland

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