Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another rumor by 'Kommersant" - hydroelectric saga goes on

One of the big failures of mostly respected Russian periodical Kommersant was a rumor (as it turned out later) that Russia is ready to offer Kyrgyzstan 2 bln USD (300 thousand as a grant/aid and 1.7 bln of investment into the construction of Kambar Ata hydroelectric station). The newspaper referred to an informed source in the Kyrgyz government.

This ambitious project, coupled with a similar one across the border, the Rogun HES in Tajikistan, might become a threat to Uzbekistan's water supply. If the said two stations are constructed on rivers flowing to Syrdarya, then Uzbek agriculture will be left without water in the busy season, while neighbors would be producing electricity to decrase their consumption of Uzbek gas.

The big decision maker in the issue, is, of course, the Russian Federation. Many thought that official Dushanbe stroke a deal with Moscow on Rogun. Therefore, a statement made by Medvedev in Tashkent came a surprise to many, especially the Tajiks. To remind (see my post in Russian on bilateral negotiations in Tashkent) Medvedev stated that such transnational issues should be decided together, and taking into the account the interests of, neighbors. He also added that in the absence of such a consensus Russia would restrain from financing investment projects.

Tajik Foreign Affairs Ministry sent a note to Russian colleagues on January 26, in which they expressed concern and confusion with the statement. The note was delivered to a Russian diplomat in Tajikistan.

On January 29 Kommersant reported that Tajik Ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and given a hard talk over the note. Specifically, Russians hinted that commenting statements of high level politicians was outside the diplomatic ethics. However, both the Tajik Foreign Ministry and Ambassador Dostiev deny that visit to Russian colleagues was delivered (Asia Plus,

It seems, Kommersant is going through hard times...

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