Turkmenistan’s President Snubs Central Asian Summit

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 2014 Caspian Summit. Photo from Russian Presidency website.

On March 15, 2018, four Central Asian leaders met at an important summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to discuss regional issues ranging from economic to environmental to security concerns. The summit featured the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and marked a significant moment for the region, as Uzbekistan, after years of strained relations, has worked under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to improve his country’s ties with the other Central Asian states. Continue reading

Russian President Signs New State Armaments Program

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) in 2015.  Source: Russian Ministry of Defense

The document detailing the new Russian State Armaments Program (SAP), covering the years 2018 to 2027, has been signed, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, who spoke to Kommersant in an interview in late February. In this timeframe, Russia will spend over $300 billion on the procurement of new military hardware as part of an effort to equip its forces with modern systems. Continue reading

Uzbekistan Aims to Boost Its Military Capabilities

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Photo by Yolkin Shamsiddinov/uza.uz

Since the death last year of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has made headlines as its new president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, seeks to reform much of the country by liberalizing the economy, improving the country’s human rights image, and smoothing relations with neighbors in Central Asia. While many observers of the country have been cautious about raising expectations of real reform, given structural constraints, Uzbekistan has released numerous prisoners, removed individuals from a “black list,” and signaled a willingness to end the practice of using forced labor in cotton production. President Mirziyoyev has made a point of engaging with neighboring countries, especially Kyrgyzstan, over disputed topics, such as border delineation and water usage. Continue reading

Moscow and Bishkek Discuss Second Russian Base in Kyrgyzstan

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Sochi in September 2017 to discuss bilateral cooperation. Source: Russian presidency website

Russia and Kyrgyzstan are discussing the possible establishment of another Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan, amid a renewed Russian emphasis on the security environment in Central Asia. The Russian military currently operates a military air base at Kant, near the capital, Bishkek, and the two sides are considering a second that would be located in southern Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading

Turkmenistan Wary of Afghan Border

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov steps out of a truck and, after posing for pictures, takes aim at several targets, first with a rifle, then a handgun, and lastly throwing knives. He then calls in helicopter strikes during the military exercise. The video, which first aired on Turkmen State TV, gained prominence after the Chronicles of Turkmenistan, a dissident website, satirized the original by editing in clips of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, a 1985 movie. Continue reading