Yury Razgulyaev: Uzbekistan declares gas blockade on Kyrgyzia

The commotion around water and natural gas is gathering pace in the post-Soviet Central Asia. The republic of Kyrgyzia is already used to when the republic of Uzbekistan cuts the delivery of natural gas for several weeks or even months. However, the Kyrgyzia republics is now very worried about the coming winter. The official authorities of the city of Tashkent (the capital of the republic of Uzbekistan) claimed that they were not going to deliver gas to their neighbor this winter at all.

They say that the formal reason for the “gas blockade” is the huge debt of the consumers. Indeed, the residents of Kyrgizyan cities and the public utilities of the republic owe over $2 million to the gas suppliers. However, the governmental circles and the public opinion explain Tashkent’s decision with the traditional water dispute. This summer, the regions of the Fergan plain and southern districts of Kazakhstan received much less rainfall than was expected. The premier of Uzbekistan said that the field of power engineering in Kyrgyzia uses water in turbines instead of saving it.

The economic and, therefore, the social situation in the republic of Kyrgyzia is becoming more and more intense. It has been recently announced in the republic that the population would have to pay 1.5 times as much for the heating in their apartments as they did last year. This means that the heating power in a two-room apartment will cost much more than what elderly and disabled people receive. Therefore, the deputies of the republic are trying to blame their neighbors, claiming they do not pay for water.

Experts say the reason of the current intense situation is also “a peculiar feature” in certain elements of the politics, run by Kyrgyzia’s government. The republic has its own way regarding many very serious questions. For example, Kyrgyzia is the only country of Central Asia that has signed the U.N. convention on refugees. Now, the republic has to open its borders to let the refugees from Afghanistan in. The neighbors of the republic perceive this as a threat to their security. Uzbekistan is not happy about the attitude of some of Kyrgyzia’s deputies towards the Islamic extremists.

As a result, the countries of the Central Asia that signed the treaty on eternal friendship are closing their borders and blaming each other even under the threat of the international terrorism. Now, they are waging this economic war, the outcome of which could be really dangerous. Water has always been a reason for most brutal, bloody conflicts in the Central Asia.

Yury Razgulyaev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kyrgyzia

AP photo: A woman holds her children as they look across the border to Afghanistan from the Uzbek frontier town of Termez, Uzbekistan

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