Russia’s Kyrgyz Airbase in Deplorable State

by Nathan Hamm on 3/3/2005 · 1 comment

It’s about a week old now, but interesting nonetheless. RIA Novosti.

MOSCOW, February 25. (RIA Novosti)-Personnel at Russia’s Kant airbase, which is outside Bishkek, sent the Russian leadership a letter stating that they received their wages without due allowances and had no set period of service, writes Russky Kuryer.

In the medical unit, there is only one medical officer. Instead of the supposed 1,200 personnel, there are only 120, with each person performing the duties of several specialists at once. Owing to heating problem, the families of servicemen are freezing. School curricula do not correspond to their Russian counterparts.

The instances cited in the letter are also confirmed by an official report from the Russian Audit Chamber, which inspected the airbase in November 2004.

Under the relevant interstate agreement, Kyrgyzstan undertook to provide communal and utilities services. When the inspection was conducted, the base was “not provided with heat and hot water.” There was a shortage of drinking water, while few telephones had been installed.

However, the Kyrgyz side is enjoying its rights in full. Under the agreement, the base must provide technical support for 12 aircraft of a Kyrgyz commercial airline on a monthly basis. In reality, the base accepts Kyrgyz aircraft even above this quota.

Monetary allowances to servicemen and the salaries of civilian personnel are paid here according to the norms of the Russian Federation, without due consideration for the complex climatic conditions of Kyrgyzstan. In the opinion of the Audit Chamber, the level of monetary allowances here is 1.3- 2 times lower than in similar positions in Russian troops deployed in other CIS countries. The salaries of civilian personnel are 1.5-2.6 times lower than those in other CIS countries.

However, according to the Audit Chamber’s information, the numerous executives coming to Kant “to conduct organizational-staff activities” get travel expenses at the rate set for those going on business abroad, i.e., $44 a day. In the past year, the travel expenses paid have accounted for 68% of all expenditures on the maintenance of the airbase.

The command was informed about the results of the work of the Audit Chamber last year. There have been no changes so far.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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