Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft wants to purchase a majority stake in the state-controlled company that owns all of Kyrgyzstan’s civilian airports. The negotiations are stoking concern in some circles in Bishkek about the potential risk to Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty. But with its entrenched corruption, poor governance and remote location, the Central Asian country has few other options.
Rosneft’s takeover target is a company called Manas International Airport, named for the largest of the airfields under its control. In addition to Manas, which is situated outside Bishkek, the company operates 10 smaller (mostly non-functional) airports around the country.
The Manas facility has hosted an American military base for almost 13 years, but the troops are packing up and are due to leave by July. Without the American spending, Kyrgyz officials argue, the company, which is 79 percent state-owned, will go into the red.
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