An intriguing proposal:
Kyrgyzstan has proposed Russia to pay in kind with arms for a new military base intended to unite all Russian military facilities in the Central Asian state, Russian business daily Kommersant said on Tuesday.
The proposal came during a meeting between Kyrgyz Defense Minister Abibulla Kudaiberdiyev and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow on Monday, Kommersant said.
Kudaiberdiyev also reportedly called on Moscow to sign an agreement to unite Russia's five military facilities in Kyrgyzstan as soon as possible.
And RFE/RL has confirmed the report. The five military facilities are the Kant airbase near Bishkek, "and a torpedo development enterprise at Lake Issyk-Kul, as well as two seismic facilities in the Issyk-Kul and Jalalabad regions used for monitoring nuclear tests in the world," in RIA Novosti's words.
There is still no word on whether Russia will build a new base in Osh, but that was also reportedly supposed to be under discussion.
Several questions come to mind here:
-- What does it mean to "unite" these facilities? Obviously there are geographical constraints to having a naval facility and air base together. So is this just some sort of bureaucratic reorganization?
-- What sort of weapons would Russia be giving Kyrgyzstan?
-- And was there any similar discussion before the U.S. announced it was canceling its own plans for a military "polygon" in Osh?