Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 22

Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev and top Russian military commanders met with Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev and defense minister Alibek Kasymov in Almaty January 25 and 26. The Kazakh military command and top Russian Defense Ministry officials also attended the meetings, at which Russian and Kazakh commanders signed several agreements. The agreements covered a wide range of issues, including compensation to Kazakhstan for Russia’s use of the Baikonur space launch center; maintenance and operation of a Russian search and rescue system in Kazakhstan for space flights and landing spacecraft; Russian technical assistance to and joint operations with Kazakhstan’s air defense system; operation of the Russian "Balkhash" missile attack early warning station in Kazakhstan; and withdrawal of three Russian strategic missile regiments from Kazakhstan in the first half of 1996. Other agreements cemented the delivery of several dozen Russian Su-25 and Su-27 fighter-bombers and Mig-29 fighter aircraft to Kazakhstan (in compensation for the 40 Tu-95 MS strategic bombers transferred by Kazakhstan to Russia in 1993-95); compensation for Russian use of military test ranges in Kazakhstan and provisions for the joint use of some of those ranges; delivery of five Russian coastal guard ships to Kazakhstan; Russian assistance in creating a Kazakh flotilla and naval base on the Caspian Sea; and the training of Kazakh officers in Russia. (16.)

The meeting follows a pattern established by the Russian Defense Ministry Collegium, which recently held meetings with its Ukrainian and Belarusian counterparts. The collegium comprises Russian service commanders and main defense ministry directorate heads. Kazakhstan is dependent on Russian assistance to develop its national armed forces and receives substantial compensation for Russia’s use of military facilities on its territory, compensation which is deducted from Kazakhstan’s trade debts to Russia.