RUSSIA’S SECURITY AGENDA IN CENTRAL ASIA
Roger N. McDERMOTT
Roger N. McDermott, Political consultant at the Scottish Center for International Security, University of Aberdeen
The various attempts at achieving regional stability in Central Asia through cooperative security structures have often broken down due to differences existing between the regional powers. Russia has recently played a key diplomatic role in securing international cooperation in the region with the U.S. in its war on terrorism in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September, 2001. However, the capability of the Russian armed forces to cope with any military crisis is open to question. This is despite continued attempts to reform and modernize its military. Indeed the current debate on professionalizing the Russian military will have serious implications for the militaries of its Central Asian allies, who may be more inclined to consider a contract system as a means of improving the quality of recruits and the capabilities of their own armed forces. Economic weaknesses will, however, slow that process down considerably, though the political desire to carry out such reform may well solidify in the months ahead.
The Russian military leadership continues to have strong interests in Central Asia, due to the instability in the former Soviet Republics on Russia’s southern borders and the perception of regional security threats posed by Afghanistan. Its military presence within Central Asia is comparatively modest, limited to Tajikistan, primarily the 201st Motor Rifle Division (MRD) based in Central Asia since 1945. Russia’s obligations under the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Collective Security Treaty (CST) make clear the commitment to defend other CIS member states. This is an obligation that Russia takes very seriously. Indeed, Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, supervised a military exercise in April 2000 specifically involving the securing of CIS borders.
That military exercise itself involved the Urals and Volga Military Districts (MD). In September 2001, these were merged, in accordance with presidential decree 337s signed by Putin on 24 March, 2001, to form a single MD: the Trans Volga-Urals MD with its headquarters in Yekaterinburg. Its Commander, Colonel-General Alexander Baranov, has had recent combat experience in Chechnia. Significantly, the Trans Volga-Urals MD is in charge of the Central Asian sector. In early December 2001, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov met with Baranov in Samara to inspect the mobilization readiness of the 2nd Army, under the command of Major-General Alexei Verbitskiy. The new MD will play a vital part in any Russian military force assembled as part of the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF).1 Yet the combat readiness and morale of the 2nd Army is far from ideal. Ivanov also addressed problems concerning discipline, evidenced by the reported escape of around 20 soldiers from their barracks in August 2001, during his trip. Ivanov noted, “The soldiers’ protest was fair. The situation in the unit was safe only on paper. The soldiers told me that their plight has improved after the scandal. Previously, the unit lived in chaos. Officers who neglected their duties have been punished.”2 Ivanov placated the fears of disillusioned and underpaid soldiers by further promises of increases in salary and plans to provide housing for soldiers in 2002.
It is far from clear that the Trans Volga-Urals MD is combat effective, owing to its new command structure or the unresolved issues of discipline and low morale. It is however assigned to support CIS forces within Central Asia. Alexei Verbitskiy, Commander of the 2nd Army noted that serious problems were encountered in transferring jurisdictional authority. In the course of the first Military Council of the 2nd Army further problems were highlighted. The number of officers and warrant officers waiting for flats is put at around 60%. Although the crime rate within the MD has fallen over a two-year period, the recorded crimes have become more serious including instances of servicemen being charged with blackmail and extortion. Major-General Sergei Zemlianskiy, Deputy Commander, lamented the lack of success in preventing cruelty within the barracks and desertion. These factors suggest that the problems of low morale and ill-discipline, experienced elsewhere within the Russian military, are undermining the effectiveness of the newly formed MD.3
These reforms seem to suggest that the new role for the Russian army in the early 21st century will be aimed at transforming its capacity to adequately cope with regional crisis. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov believes that where Russia faces particular threats, the units stationed there must receive special attention in the military reform program; he singled out two such sensitive areas as the Caucasus and Volga-Urals MDs. Ivanov stressed that the main objective of military reform is, “the improvement of combat and mobilization readiness, primarily by [the] enlargement of units of permanent combat readiness.”4
By merging the Volga and Urals MDs the General staff are convinced that Russia’s hand in Central Asia has been markedly strengthened. The 27th and 81st MRDs have been deployed on the territory of the Orenburg Region. It also expected to be further supported by the 5th army of the Air Force and the Anti-Aircraft Force.5
The 201st MRD is undoubtedly the strongest military force based within Central Asia. Nonetheless, a close analysis of the 201st MRD does not inspire confidence in either its combat readiness or its capability to cope with a future regional crisis. Theoretically speaking, the 201st MRD should be well placed to face conflict, as it is fully professional. However, as commonly experienced in the modern Russian armed forces, the reality is quite different. Contract servicemen (contraktniki) within the division sign contracts varying in length from six-months to three years. Finding sufficient levels of contract personnel has proven elusive; it is currently manned at around 6,000-7,000 servicemen, less than half its full strength.
Efforts to remedy the undermanning of the division have been singularly unsuccessful; financial inducements for personnel agreeing to serve in Tajikistan have failed to improve the quality of recruits. In 2000, for instance, almost 70% of 392 men discharged from the 201st MRD on disciplinary grounds had alcohol-related problems.6 In short, the social issues that are currently plaguing the Russian armed forces generally, namely low-morale and poor quality of recruits, are ever present within the division.
Considering that the 201st MRD has a supportive role to play in conjunction with the Russian Border Guard forces on the Tajik-Afghan border, it ought to be able to respond effectively in the context of repelling a regional threat. Yet it is neither at full strength, despite its much-vaunted contraktniki, nor is it maintaining a high state of combat readiness. It suffers from a host of problems related to underfinancing, including a chronic lack of new military equipment, difficulties in retaining its recruits, and no field training above that of battalion level. These factors taken together suggest that Russia presently has a limited capability to respond quickly to a regional crisis. In the event of a large-scale incursion, the combat readiness of the 201st MRD could be laid open to its weaknesses and found wanting.
Whilst the Russian military presence within the region is limited, and perhaps somewhat overestimated, political efforts to foment closer regional cooperation in security matters have fluctuated over the past decade. Putin has energetically focused on encouraging a regional cooperation dynamic, especially since the 11 September attacks on America. In the context of the CST, a tangible shift has taken place, raising the prospect of real progress on confronting the phenomenon of international terrorism.
The CIS Collective Security Treaty
The CIS Collective Security Treaty signed in May 1992 originally encompassed Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 1999 Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan effectively withdrew by refusing to sign a protocol extending the treaty.
The principal task of the CIS border guard services is that of countering drug trafficking, illegal migration, smuggling and terrorism. A draft concept of a common border guard policy by CIS members was agreed during the quarterly meeting of the Commanders of the CIS border guard forces held in Moscow in November 2001.7 Such regional agreements are largely a common occurrence, though achieving genuine stability within the region is far more elusive. Since its inception the CST has been less successful as a means of achieving regional cooperation, since it does not function as a solid and well-coordinated military alliance.
The CST has been boosted by the decision in October 2000 to lift trade barriers against the Russian arms industry, in return for low pricing. In fact, some have suggested the possibility that the organization may one day develop into a Eurasian version of NATO. This remains highly speculative, since other regional security arrangements together with diverse national interests tend to weaken the case for the CST becoming the dominant security apparatus. In August 2001 the CRRF became functional, with a command of around 70 staff based in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).8
According to Valery Nikolayenko, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Council, terrorist activity has declined within Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as a result of the CRRF. He believes that the struggle against international terrorism has become a key practical goal of the Treaty, “The extent and degree of coordination by international terrorists make it necessary for the Treaty members to join efforts with all the CIS states, foreign countries and international organizations.”9 This has also been rather slow in developing, despite the regional terrorist threats that predate 11 September, 2001. The Antiterrorist Center (ATC) established in Bishkek in December 2000, found that a lack of funding slowed its progression toward a fully functional status.10 Nikolayenko also stressed that non-signatories to the CST are not precluded from taking part in its functions, including meetings of steering bodies, military exercises or antiterrorist operations. Clearly the appeal of the CST is intended to expand especially in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America. Russia is interested in promoting the CST and its own agenda through it. However, the appeal of the antiterrorist dimension in particular is securing support further afield. Vardan Oskanian, Armenia’s foreign minister made clear his support after a meeting of CST foreign ministers in Moscow in November 2001. He commented, “I would like to remind people that the Collective Security Treaty is an organization which, even before 11 September, set itself the task of fighting international terrorism.”11
Russia has sought in numerous ways to bolster support for the CST amongst the CIS States. It has used the recent international terrorist crisis to further these aims. In so far as Moscow seeks a platform for regional security, it is hardly surprising to find that the CST is actively utilized in that manner. However, the States in Central Asia, subject to a level of dependency in security matters, find themselves especially susceptible to pressure from Moscow. This is apparent in the pursuit of bilateral relations, exposing individual states to the full weight of Russian foreign policy objectives. Recent developments in bilateral relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan illustrated this very tendency. In 2001, Kyrgyzstan’s exports to Russia grew by 6% whilst exports halved to neighboring Central Asian States. Russia has become its largest investor by allocating substantial credit levels; the repayment of $59 million from credit amounting to $150 million has been postponed for 15 years. The signing of the Declaration of Eternal Friendship, Alliance and Partnership in November 2001 sealed Russia’s economic interest in Kyrgyzstan. This is unique in Russia’s relations with other CIS States.12 The economic cooperation between these countries has been followed rapidly by closer military cooperation. Moscow is giving both military and technical assistance to Bishkek. Plans are being examined to secure $2.5 million worth of Russian military equipment for Kyrgyzstan. Parliamentarians are also studying proposals to create a Russian military base in the country.13
Putin has other mechanisms in mind for enhancing Russia’s security interests in Central Asia. Vladimir Rushaylo, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council has made a strong case for the creation of a joint structure involving the secretaries of the CIS Security Councils. It is hoped that such an organization, which Rushaylo has suggested be named as the Interstate Security Committee, would enhance cooperation on regional and universal security matters throughout the CIS. It would also assist in coordinating combined efforts against global terrorism.14 Rushaylo made early progress on this proposal by reaching an accord with Armenia. At a meeting in Minsk on 6 December, 2001, Rushaylo signed a cooperation plan with the Secretary of the Armenian National Security Council Serzh Sarkisian. Moscow intends promoting regional support for the CST as well as other CIS security structures through vigorous diplomacy conducted on several levels. However, the main obstacle to success in its current policies aimed at facilitating regional stability, will be in allaying fears within the CIS that Russia is pursuing its own agenda by other means.
The greatest threat to the security of the former Soviet republics within the region comes from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). In the summer of 1999 and 2000 both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan military forces repelled armed incursions by IMU groups. The spiritual head of the IMU is Tahir Yuldosh. Zubair ibn Abdulrahim, a key IMU leader, readily admits that the downfall of the Uzbek government is an important aim of the movement. However, the alleged wider aim of creating an Islamic State stretching from Western China to the Caspian Sea, remains more difficult to prove. In military terms the campaigns launched by the IMU have had little tangible success. Nonetheless, defense budgets within the region have been increased in order to combat the theoretical threat, which the movement continues to pose.
Russia and China have made use of the threat posed by the IMU to allege that the group has links with indigenous terrorist cells in their own countries; with the Chechen and the Uighur groups. Whether these links can be clearly established, it is certain that both powers will continue to pursue their own security agendas in Central Asia.
Combating regional terrorism raises important questions, especially in defining Russia’s perspective on counter-terrorist cooperation. For instance, what is the precise nature of the ATC in Russia’s view? Will regional powers accept Putin’s vision for an ATC based upon a Russian FSB model?
Uzbekistan is undoubtedly the strongest military power amongst the former Soviet republics. It has 50,000 in its Army, 9,100 in the Air Force, 18,000 in the Interior Ministry units and around 1,000 in the National Guard.15 Politically, it has sought to counterbalance the tendency toward Russian domination of the regional security structures. That process has been exacerbated by its cooperation with the U.S. in the War against Terrorism. Tashkent’s agreement to offer its military airbase at Khanabad for American search and rescue operations in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan’s accommodation of U.S. planes at Manas airport has undoubtedly impacted on Russia’s concerns in the region. Tashkent, as well as other capitals, is more inclined to question what Russia can offer their country in the area of security, that cannot be found by looking to the U.S. It may herald a more independent approach to security matters by the new States, as Russia’s influence wanes in the coming years.
Uzbekistan became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2001 (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), raising its regional profile. The SCO plans to create a counter-terrorist body based in Bishkek under the framework of the CST. Again, it remains unclear what form this will take.
A meeting of the foreign ministers of the SCO held in Beijing in January 2002 revealed clear differences with the U.S. agenda for prosecuting the global war on terrorism. The meeting stressed support for the measures laid down in the U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1377, 1383 and 1386. A joint statement issued after the meeting emphasized the importance to the SCO States of adherence to the U.N. Charter in the conflict against terrorism: “The SCO countries unanimously believe that the United Nations and the Security Council should play the leading role in the international struggle against terrorism. All anti-terrorism operations must be compatible with the purpose and principles of the ‘U.N. Charter’ and other acknowledged forms of international law; their scope cannot be arbitrarily expanded, and there must be no interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.”16
The SCO signatories have prioritized the need for closer cooperation in the regional struggle against terrorism. However this has occurred within the context of the clear initiative taken in the area by the U.S. in the aftermath of 11 September, 2001. Moscow and Beijing certainly wish to see U.S. power curbed in its capacity to intervene in the affairs of “sovereign states.”
Moscow will continue to find resistance to its own regional security agenda from Tashkent, complicated by the entry of the U.S. into the regional dynamics. It will attempt to promote its interests through the CST and SCO, seeking closer regional cooperation to offset the potential for States to rely on the assistance of the U.S. in resolving security problems. Kazakhstan has often proven a reliable regional partner, and though aspects of the security concerns of both States are shared, yet Astana has recently revealed its own aspiration toward greater freedom from Russia’s sphere of influence.
In response to the regional threat from the IMU Kazakhstan has fortified its borders with its neighbors, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It has also taken further steps toward responding to any crisis that might arise by strengthening its military forces.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev has acquired the political power to send Kazakhstan’s armed forces abroad to combat Islamic fundamentalism. The Kazakh parliament gave him these powers on 9 November, 2000 to assist in the regional cooperation between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in their conflict against terrorism and organized crime. Of course, this was passed as a direct consequence of the IMU attacks during the summer of 2000, and at a political level Nazarbaev had to be seen to address the problem in a resolute manner. However, his critics soon pointed out that the military forces of Kazakhstan suffer from poor training, low morale and may be incapable of carrying out effective foreign engagements.17
Nazarbaev sought to address these apparent weaknesses by increasing defense spending and raising the numbers of contract soldiers. Defense spending in 2001 was increased from 17 billion Tenge to 25 billion Tenge ($175 million), including plans to raise the numbers of contract soldiers to between 10,000 to 12,000.18
General Malik Saparov, Chief of the Kazakh’ General Staff, has recognized the need for serious and sustained military reform. This includes the construction of a military infrastructure in western Kazakhstan. New MDs have been formed in the southern and eastern sectors of the country.
Kazakhstan is also taking steps to form a Navy. Despite assurances from president Nazarbaev concerning his commitment to the demilitarization of the Caspian Sea, the Kazakh’ Navy will be developed within the next few years, with support from Russia as well as Turkey and the U.S. The State Border Protection Forces (SBPF) have combined border troops with coastguard patrols. Since 1997 the Navy has formed a part of the SBPF, consisting of around 3,000 personnel, 10 coastguard launches and 2 hydrographic launches, 3 MI-8 helicopters and 6 MI-2 helicopters. Based at Aktau and Atyrau, these defenses have received support from Russia in Kazakhstan’s efforts to curb drug trafficking and protect its oil platforms in the Caspian.19
Military reform has indeed made some practical progress in 2001. There is now at least an agreed concept for further reform as well as a set of military doctrine. Military infrastructure has been prioritized and improved, particularly in southern Kazakhstan, whilst the 5th Separate Brigade has been formed. Additionally, a more cooperative stance on security matters was adopted even before the Collective Security Council met in May 2001 in Erevan. However, Kazakhstan agreed to contribute only one battalion to the CRRF, a step seen by some as more political than military. According to Saidmurat Tanirbergen, Chief of the International Cooperation Department of the Defense Ministry, more forces could be made available if required. Financial constraints are ever present in the internal debate on the future shape of the Kazakh armed forces. The state of military equipment and the issue of soldiers’ salaries cannot be adequately dealt with on current levels of defense spending. It is also questionable whether Kazakhstan could repel armed aggression without outside assistance.
Kazakhstan has also experienced problems with the call-up, triggering a debate similar to the current proposals to professionalize the Russian military. Nikolai Kuatov, Kazakh Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Mobilization, has expressed anxiety about the poor state of health amongst recruits. Many recruits are sent home each year due to bad health. Almaty, Kzyl-Orda, North Kazakh and South Kazakh regions are worst affected. It is estimated that around 9% of recruits have no secondary education and as many as 73% receive occupational deferment.20 Against that background the Defense Ministry is considering increasing the role of contract servicemen within the Kazakh armed forces. Kuatov advocates offering inducements to soldiers who want to enter higher educational institutions after completing military service.
Problems surrounding the call-up have instigated a debate on military reform that mirrors the process already underway within Russia. The Defense Ministry plans to completely professionalize one unit in the near future as an experiment. In the long term these reforms, if successful, would help the Kazakh armed forces play a more active role in regional peacekeeping and cooperative security ventures such as the CST or SCO. These are long-term developments that are unlikely to alter the immediate security arrangements in the region.
Kazakhstan is ready to play a more cooperative role in the context of both the CST and SCO. In December 2001 a joint statement issued after bilateral talks in Astana held out the promise of closer cooperation between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Nazarbaev and the Kyrgyz president Askar Akaev both supported the establishment of an antiterrorist body within the framework of the SCO. They also agreed to strengthen bilateral coordination against possible invasion and countering separatism and terrorism.21 However, the American influence in the region has added complications. During a meeting between Nazarbaev and Bush in the U.S. in December 2001, it was reported that American assistance was sought in resolving Kazakhstan’s continued status as a non-nuclear state: during a crisis Russia could deploy nuclear weapons on Kazakh soil. As the U.S. becomes more involved within Central Asia, countries such as Kazakhstan could be tempted to withdraw from the CST.22
Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, readily admits that the combat readiness of the Russian army has deteriorated considerably over the past decade.23 Russia has been able to deter large-scale aggression against itself through its nuclear deterrent whilst its conventional forces have decayed. That situation is undergoing sustained transformation, as the General Staff recognizes that the nuclear deterrent could prove ineffectual against the threats of insurgency or international terrorism conducted against Russia. Resolving this will entail prioritizing highly mobile and combat ready armed forces, capable of reacting rapidly to any crisis. At meetings of the Russian Security Council in August and November 2000, decisions were taken that effectively shifted toward conventional forces being regarded as the most important component in the security system. In March 2001 Kvashnin said that Russia’s armed forces would differ radically from their present structure.
These views predated the dreadful events of 11 September, 2001. Russia has set itself on a course of military reform that will take many years to achieve. The realistic goal of military reform is essentially prophylactic: seeking to prevent the further deterioration of Russia’s armed forces. Structural and personnel reforms will be combined with a renewed emphasis upon military hardware and weapon systems to furnish combat troops with adequate equipment in the field. To aid these trends, education, combat training and better-targeted defense spending will be a major priority of the Putin government. Professionalizing the army, like the other plans to reform the military will take longer than the current public debate would suggest. Meanwhile, Russia has serious security concerns that it cannot address by being self-reliant. Thus, the cooperative dynamic in Russian foreign and security policy will run parallel with its military reform.
Moscow has long-term vested interests in the stability of Central Asia, regarded by many military analysts as the “soft underbelly” of the Russian State, and it will seek cooperative models to further stabilize the region. At a superficial level these seemed to recede into temporary abeyance after the attacks on America. Nevertheless, for a considerable time before 11 September, 2001, Putin and Ivanov demonstrated a shift in Russia’s reliance on its nuclear deterrent toward a heightened role for its conventional forces. Only in so far as temporarily meeting the internal and regional threats to Russia’s territorial integrity were concerned, where even the use of tactical nuclear devices would do nothing to counter insurgent movements or terrorist groups, has this policy succeeded. Conventional forces must be modernized in order to meet the threats from sub-state groups and regional instability. Moscow’s pursuit of cooperative security structures within Central Asia is therefore, predicated upon the changing nature of modern warfare and Russia’s risk assessment, principally threatened by international terrorism and internal secessionist groups. Kvashnin has emphasized the importance of ground forces, by putting his full weight behind measures to improve the condition and combat readiness of the armed forces. Nonetheless, Russia will take some time to resolve its on-going systemic problems within the context of its military reform, whilst its main problem will be in financing such reform. Equally, Moscow cannot afford the financial burden that would result from sustained military action, especially if this were fought in addition to its “counter-terrorist” campaign in Chechnia.
Neither the merger of the Volga and Urals MDs, nor the condition of the 201st MRD stationed in Tajikistan inspire confidence in Russia’s capability to protect its interests in the region. The fact that the 201st MRD is the strongest and most capable military force in the Central Asian republics reveals the rather ineffectual and underdeveloped nature of the indigenous militaries. However, military threats including insurgency movements, are clearly not the only concern to Russia and its Central Asian allies. The need to address this situation is only heightened in the aftermath of 11 September, 2001. In the short term, the regional powers will look at improving their security through cooperative ventures, renewing their appetite for the antiterrorist centers through the CST. They will also seek to achieve closer intelligence coordination, following the example of Russia’s assistance to the U.S. in the war against terrorism. In the longer-term, only through successful military reform aimed at achieving professional, combat effective and mobile fighting forces, will security threats be adequately met. It will be a lengthy process, already initiated in Russia with ramifications for the military structures of its regional allies. The impact of Russia’s decision to professionalize its Armed Forces will have security implications for Central Asia, though these remain unclear at this stage.
The challenge of building effective and stable cooperative security structures within the region has been by no means straightforward. Russia is presented with a clear challenge to its own security agenda in the region as a result of the entry of the U.S. into Central Asia. Regional powers may be less inclined to follow Moscow’s lead in dealing with the issues that confront them collectively. In the long-term however, the durability of Russia’s security interests in the stability of Central Asia may yet prove to be longer lasting than the current U.S. presence in the region.
1 See: Oborona i Bezopasnost’, 27 August, 2001.
2 Kommersant, 5 December, 2001.
3 See: Soldat Otechestva (publication of the Trans Volga-Urals Military District), 24 October, 2001.
4 BBC Monitoring Service, 4 December, 2001.
5 See: Kommersant, 1 September, 2001.
6 See: M.J. Orr, “The Russian Garrison in Tajikistan—201st Gatchina Twice Red Banner Motor Rifle Division,” Occasional Brief, No. 85, Conflict Studies Research Center, RMA, Sandhurst, October 2001, p. 5.
7 See: Izvestia, 30 November, 2001.
8 Interfax, 24 May, 2001; BBC Monitoring Service, 28 May, 2001; see also: V. Soloviev, “Vmeste protiv terrorizma,” Nezavisimaia gazeta, 26 April, 2001.
9 BBC Monitoring Service, 29 November, 2001.
10 See: “CIS Anti-terrorism Centre Not Operational,” Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, Vol. 7, No. 108, 5 June, 2001.
11 BBC Monitoring Service, 29 November, 2001.
12 Kyrgyz-Press, International News Agency, 8 November, 2001.
13 BBC Monitoring Service, 10 November, 2001.
14 This is to be distinct from the interdepartmental commission created in September 2000 to examine security matters in the CIS (for more detail, see: BBC Monitoring Service, 7 December, 2001).
15 See: The Military Balance, 2000/2001, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 1777.
16 BBC Monitoring Service, 7 January, 2002.
17 See: Reporting Central Asia, 17 November, 2000.
18 See: The Times of Central Asia, 14 December, 2000.
19 See: Nezavisimaia gazeta, 7 August, 2001.
20 See: Panorama (Almaty), 9 November, 2001.
21 China Central Television, 16 December, 2001.
22 BBC Monitoring Service, 7 January, 2002.
23 See: Parlamentskaia gazeta, 21 March, 2001.