Russian Control of Central Asian Dams “Risks Full Conflict With Uzbekistan”

Via Ooska News, a look at Central Asian water tensions:

Russia’s support for upstream Kyrgyzstan in its dispute with downstream Uzbekistan over water resources in Central Asia will strain Russian-Uzbek relations, according to an Uzbek expert.

During a visit to the region last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered support to Kyrgyzstan in its conflict with downstream Uzbekistan. Almost $500 million USD in debt will be excused in exchange for a package of deals that will extend Moscow’s water, energy and military influence in the region.

Russia also signed an agreement to build five hydroelectric plants.

But in a new analysis published by, Bakhtiyor Ergashev,a political expert at the Tashkent-based Center for Economic Research, describing the agreements, said: “The spiral of mistakes, a mutual misunderstanding and real and imaginary slights is twisting tighter and tighter.”

He said that, having failed in its attempts to play the role of external arbitrator in water disputes in the region, Russia has decided it must take the side of one of the participants.

However, Russia will not control the “water tap” in the region even after completion of the Kambarata-1 plant, he said.

“For having full control, the Rogun [hydroelectric plant on the trans-boundary Vakhsh River in Tajikistan] is needed,” Ergashev said. This would bring Russia “into full conflict with Uzbekistan.”

“And Uzbekistan’s position on this issue will be tough …. This means that the spiral of conflict between the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan will only uncoil,” he warned.

During his visit, Putin proposed “involving” downstream Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the projects.

Earlier this month, Uzbek President Islam Karimov reproached Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for their plans to dam trans-boundary waterways for hydropower projects, and predicted future water wars in the region.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 28th, 2012 at 9:56 am and is filed under Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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