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Russian Federation, Tajikistan: Military Cooperation Treaty Ratified

(Oct. 30, 2013) On October 1, 2013, members of the lower house of the Tajik legislature ratified a treaty with the Russian Federation on extension of the term of the maintenance in Tajikstan of a Russian military base. (Lower House of the Tajik Parliament Approved Placement of the Russian Base for Another 30 Years [in Russian], NEWSRU.COM (Oct. 1, 2013).) The base was established in 2004 and initially was to be in place for ten years, with the original agreement set to expire by the end of 2013. During this decade, the base has become the largest Russian military installation outside the Russian Federation, with about 7,500 military personnel serving there. The base is located in three of the largest Tajikistan cities. (Tajik Legislators Ratified the Treaty on Russian Base [in Russian], BFM.RU (Oct. 1, 2013).) The original agreement stated that the base was established with the purpose of defending Tajik independence, supporting the Government of Tajikistan, and protecting Russian national interests in Central Asia. (Id.)


As Tajik Minister of Defense Sherali Khairulloyev said in the Parliament, the agreement will provide for regional stability, and the presence of a large army unit on the territory of Tajikistan will help to eliminate potential outside threats, including on the Tajik-Afghan border, especially after the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014. (Lower House of the Tajik Parliament Approved Placement of the Russian Base for Another 30 Years, supra.). According to the Treaty, the Russian military base will remain in Tajikistan through 2042, and Russia will provide assistance to the armed forces of Tajikistan by training its military, modernizing Tajik armed forces, and supplying arms. Since 2005, the amount of this assistance has exceeded US$411 million (id.); an additional US$200 million might be provided before 2025. (Tajik Legislators Ratified The Treaty on Russian Base, supra.)


Another bilateral Tajik-Russian agreement was submitted for ratification simultaneously with the military base treaty and also ratified on October 1. This agreement regulates the presence of Tajik citizens on Russian territory and provides for some privileges for the Tajiks in Russia, including simplified procedures for migration registration and easier receipt of work permits than can be expected by other foreign nationals. The Tajik government insisted on the simultaneous adoption of both agreements because it is extremely interested in creating more favorable conditions for Tajik nationals living and working in Russia. (Government Approved an Agreement of Presence of Tadjiks in Russia, BUSINESS FM (Oct. 16, 2013).)


At present, more than one million of Tajikistan’s 7.9 million population have moved to Russia as migrant workers. (Tajikistan, THE WORLD FACT BOOK (last visited Oct. 10, 2013).) The Tajikistan economy heavily depends on remittances received from Tajiks working abroad because, according to data from the World Bank, their contributions constitute between 40-50% of the country’s GDP, and 90% of this amount comes from the Tajik migrant workers in Russia. (Stefan Staschen, Remittances in Russia and Tajikistan, THE WORLD BANK, CGAP (THE CONSULTATIVE GROUP TO ASSIST THE POOR) (Apr. 3, 2012).)