Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One Bishkek Follow-Up

Today's Nezavisimaia Gazeta has an article by Aleksandr Zhelenin on Moscow's follow-up offer to Kyrgyzstan in the aftermath of the Bishkek summit.

I had noted in an earlier post that Chinese experts saw the Shanghai grouping as a way to expand China's global role. Some of their Russian counterparts agree; Adzhar Kurtov, an analyst with the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, concluded that the recent steps taken with regard to the Shanghai grouping are "one of the elements in the resurrection of Russia as a powerful actor in the global arena."

And Russian president Vladimir Putin is demonstrating that he is willing to commit resources to back up his rhetoric. Kyrgyzstan, the last country in Central Asia where the United States has any strategic leverage, is now being wooed by Moscow. Putin promised his Kyrgyz counterpart, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, increased Russian investment-both in upgrading military facilities as well as in promoting new economic projects. At the Bishkek summit, the Russian president said, "We are prepared not simply to make declarations, but to realistically formulate an economic situation under which conditions we could guarantee the influx of $2 billion into the Kyrgyz economy." NG described this as "an offer [Bakiyev] he can’t refuse."

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