Russia and Tajikistan Debate Sharing Ayni Base
Russia and Tajikistan continue to negotiate over the use of the Ayni military airport near Dushanbe. And the key issue under debate now is whether the base would be a solely Russian facility, or a joint Tajikistan-Russia operation. That's according to Tajikistan political analyst Alexander Sodiqov, writing on Jamestown's Eurasia Daily Monitor:
Speaking to journalists on January 27, Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister, Khamrokhon Zarifi, announced that Dushanbe and Moscow will continue talks on Russia’s possible use of the recently renovated Ayni airfield, 15 miles (25 kilometers) west of the Tajik capital. According to Zarifi, the two countries have different views on “certain issues” related to the use of the facility...
The differences apparently stem from Moscow’s intention to secure exclusive use of the airbase, while Dushanbe insists on joint use. For Russia, sole use of the facility is a matter of “national prestige” and security of the long-term military deployment .... Dushanbe, however, views the airfield as a training ground for its decrepit air force and cannot agree on anything other than joint use.
Sodiqov suggests that the access issue trumps the question of how much money Russia would pay for the use of the base. Tajikistan's air force isn't too powerful ("decrepit" is probably the right word) but it still seems to be getting more action than those of its Central Asian counterparts as it conducts strikes against rebels in the Rasht Valley and near the Afghanistan border. So it's understandable that they wouldn't want to completely abandon a key facility.