Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 112

According to an unnamed "senior official" of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Western governments acting "in the interest of Western monopolies" are behind the wish of former Soviet republics around the Caspian Sea to establish their own national sectors in that sea. "Any attempt to divide the basin among the coastal countries is absolutely unacceptable to Moscow," the official said. He sounded a note of warning in claiming that Western companies are becoming more reticent to invest in oil and gas project in those countries in the absence of a legal status of the Caspian Sea. The official claimed that only Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan among riparian countries resist Russia’s demand for common exploitation of their resources, and that Turkmenistan is "neutral" while Iran supports Moscow´s position. (17)

The Foreign Ministry has taken the lead in the Russian government in opposing sovereign claims to Caspian mineral deposits by the countries concerned, demanding instead Russian participation in any decisions regarding those deposits and in their actual exploitation. The "shared use" doctrine is intended to enable Russia to influence those countries’ contractual arrangements with Western companies, besides bringing Russia revenues from deposits not its own. Turkmenistan actively seeks, as do Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, to establish its own Caspian sector and make its own arrangements with foreign partners. Iran does verbally support Moscow´s "shared use" doctrine as part of Russia-Iran cooperation on regional issues; but Tehran does not abide by that doctrine in practice, instead making its own decisions in its own section of the Caspian Sea.

Moscow and Tajik Resistance Intensify Polemics.