Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why Send the Navy CinC to Landlocked Kyrgyzstan?



This morning, the Navy announced that the Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy, would be visiting landlocked Kyrgyzstan to engage in in talks with the Kyrgyz government and "become acquainted with the production of OAO Dastan". Why would he want to become acquainted with the production of OAO Dastan? He should already be very well acquainted with the production from that fifty year old enterprise - it is the home of the Soviet torpedo industry:

For fifty years, the factory has developed a whole array of torpedo weaponry and dozens of different types of navigation systems, explosives, tele-guidance systems and non-standard control and measurement equipment for them. These systems have dominated the world weapon's market for decades, offering parity with potential adversaries.


The enterprise also works closely with the Kyrgyz companies that run torpedo test ranges in Lake Issyk-Kul. Until a few weeks ago, talks had been ongoing for two years on transferring up to 37 percent of OAO Dostan's shares to the Russian Federation as part of a deal to reduce Kyrgyz government debt to Russia, but the Russians refused the deal. One reason given for the failure of the deal was, unofficially, a dispute amongst Kyrgyz parliamentarians over "kickbacks".

However, the Russians have apparently attached some importance to the deal, given the remarks by the Chief of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, former Russian Prime Minister and Co-Chairman of the Bilateral Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Scientific-Technical and Humanitarian Cooperation, Sergey Kirienko:

"This project has strategic significance for both governments. The conversion of such a unique enterprise or use of the territory on which it is located for some other purpose would be a crime. Russia is not only prepared to support full production, but also to add another seven million dollars worth of orders".

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