Gas stations run by a Gazprom affiliate that operates in Tajikistan only have two to three days’ worth of high-octane fuel left, Asia-Plus reported Sept. 12. Gazprom Neft-Tajikistan gas stations began limiting sales to 20 liters (5.3 gallons) per person Sept.
The annual Commonwealth of Independent States summit -- held this year in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe – will probably be remembered most for what happened on the sidelines.
The summit itself was a snoozefest. Only seven presidents of the 10 CIS member states attended the Dushanbe gathering, which began September 3. The meeting concluded with only vague promises to expand cooperation.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev traveled to Russia on Aug. 9 to meet with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Much of the media coverage ahead of this visit focused on Russia’s continuing efforts to negotiate a settlement to the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Russia and Azerbaijan had broader-reaching issues to discuss.
The US Helsinki Commission is charged with monitoring human rights compliance in the former Soviet Union. But on August 2, the commission took a break from its routine responsibilities to examine the thorny issue of alcoholism in Russia.
Tajikistan’s “multi-vector” foreign policy is testing the Kremlin’s patience. Russia is trying to bolster its influence in Dushanbe by pressing for the return of Russian border troops, but Tajik leaders are rebuffing Moscow’s embrace.
Political observers are trying to determine the cause of the latest energy-supply spat between Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Some see a connection to a Customs Union comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. Others believe it was nothing more than a PR stunt undertaken by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev in order to fuel his presidential ambitions.
A shortage of Russian-supplied fuel is underscoring Mongolia’s dependency on its giant neighbor. Some experts and officials in Ulaanbaatar are now sounding like European Union leaders in Brussels in publicly speaking out about a need to reduce their country’s energy reliance on Russia.