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24.06.03 17:18
On gas, people and rating
Tribuna daily on methods of protection of Russian citizens outside Russia

Agreements between Russia and Turkmenistan signed April 10 this year, in energy sphere as well, have the following interpretation: In Kremlin people are exchange for gas. At least this was comment of one of politicians at the TV program dedicated to relations of Russia with Middle Asian neighbors. He characterized this fact as "formation of slave-owning system".
Before April meeting between the leaders of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov and Russia Vladimir Putin the main question was: whether Russia should protect the citizens no matter where they lived outside Russia, including Turkmenistan, which is the only state among CIS which had an institute of dual citizenship. During the April visit of the leaders under a joint decision such position was rejected that first did not cause special reaction neither of the public, nor citizens and deputies.
One aspect was not considered by the parties: upcoming parliamentary elections in Russia. This is the very period when every candidate is doing his best to be on the screen, radio, and press as often as possible to attract attention of electorate. Otherwise one can loose pre-election campaign and seats in government, mayoralty or in State Duma.In this regard the recent visit of the Turkmen delegation to Moscow was recollected and obvious impatience of Ashkhabad to remove institute of dual citizenship by June 22 according to the presidential decree was focused on.
These terms were not accepted by the Russian side. However, the only possible solution to this issue - direct negotiations of the sides - was eliminated. One of PR experts considers that Russia managed to negotiate decrease of prices for Turkmen fuel thanks to linking this aspect with the dual citizenship agreement. Therefore, the agreement is called "Gas in exchange to people", i.e. to Russian people, who become hostages of the policy in Turkmenistan.
Under the April protocol Turkmenistan is supplying gas to Russian within 25 years. This agreement also foresees reconstruction of gas transporting capacities of Turkmenistan. Nobody doubts that the Russian authorities and the State Duma doing their best to protect interests of the Russian citizens in foreign countries, in Central Asia in particular. The matter is what means and methods are used for reaching these goals. In this regards, Georgia-Russia relations can be stressed. Georgia was trying hard to appear under the NATO wings and which is now connected with Russia only by gas pipeline.
These ties became stronger than the political agreements. Of course it may be presumed that the US forces are stationed in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan only for controlling the Afghan terrorists. We can neglect the fact that it is not West, which is making decision on the results of forthcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan. Who has a right to provide power energy to Southern Caucasus.
We can presume that there is no problem in joint protection of Tajik-Afghan borders... In fact, Russian politicians are guided only by private ambitions in their aspiration to draw the Central Asian map. It is obvious that Ashkhabad showed disrespect to Moscow, without waiting for ratification of the protocol on termination of the agreement on Dual Citizenship by the State Duma. However, it does not mean that political barricades must be erected instead of displaying negotiating tolerance, the one Moscow demonstrates in its work with Minsk and Kiev.

Tribuna daily (Russia)

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By Victor Berdiyev

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