May 22, 2007

Russian Military Bases Abroad : An Overview

http://www.kommersant.com/

An Overview of Russian Military Bases Abroad

In this article, Vlast continues its investigation into the Russian armed forces. In conjunction with the fact book The Whole Russian Army, published in 2002, 2003, and 2005, readers are now offered an overview of Russia's military facilities abroad.
This overview gives as detailed a journalistic account as possible of the Russian military bases that exist outside the country and describes how they came to be, what purpose they serve, and who commands them. We would like to remind our readers that all of the information included in this article was taken exclusively from open sources, including material from more than 5,000 Russian and foreign media articles, analytical reports and overviews, and other publications and internet resources.

Vlast welcomes any comments or clarifications, which can be sent via email lukin@kommersant.ru (according to tradition, we ask that people with classified information about the topics in this article not contact us wishing to disclose it).

Neither tsarist Russia nor the Soviet Union maintained a very significant number of military bases, ostensibly because they were chiefly land-based powers and had little need for a large number of far-flung places to billet their troops. After the collapse of the USSR, the former Soviet republics found themselves hosting numerous troop divisions that fell under the central command jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. In several cases, the governments of the newly formed countries demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops and then demolished the remaining military facilities because they were no longer needed. In Latvia, for example, the Latvian military decided that it did not need the Daryal-UM radar station that had been part of the Soviet missile attack early warning system, and the country's leaders were not interested in leasing it to Russia. Russian bases remained in countries whose regimes stayed loyal to Moscow, although on various terms: for example, Belarus allows Russia to use the bases for free, while Kazakhstan tops up its state coffers thanks to a rental agreement with the Russian Defense Ministry.



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These Russian bases abroad have lost their purely military significance. The troops that they accommodate are suited to being deployed for local operations (for example, the planes at the airbase in Dushanbe could take out small groups of fighters), but they would probably not be able to repulse a large-scale attack by a regular army.

The bases abroad also play a political role by beefing up the Russian presence in a given region. However, the inconsistency of Russian foreign policy and the country's delicate relationship with many of its near neighbors, such as Georgia and Ukraine, has meant that Russian troops are often unwelcome guests and prone to becoming targets of harassment and attacks. In many countries Russian troop divisions have turned out to be entirely redundant, meaning that they have led a semi-mercenary existence since 1991.

At the moment Russia has 25 military bases beyond its borders; the US, for comparison, has more than 800, while China does not have a single base on foreign soil. In general, a country's interest in maintaining a presence abroad is an indicator of its government's overall geopolitical strategy and of the degree of its military orientation. Russia, however, does not seem to have a clear approach either to the former or the later.

Taking a look at a map of military bases, it is impossible not to notice a seeming randomness in their dispersal. This appears to be part of a larger problem faced by Russia's armed forces: a lack of a clear grasp on the tasks facing the military and on ideas for how to achieve them. Bases abroad (like everything else in the army) are an instrument, not a goal in and of themselves. However, at the moment neither politicians nor military officials can answer the key question: why we need that instrument and how will it be used "just in case."




Azerbaijan

Independent Radar Node (RO-7, object 754), Gabala (Gabala-2, Lyaki)

The node is a Daryul-type stationary radar hub that is integrated into Russia's missile attack early warning system. It was built between 1976 and 1987 and has been operational since 1985.

The radar station tracks ballistic missiles launched in Asia and over the Indian Ocean, as well as providing ground contact for objects in orbit in the southern sector up to a range of 6,000 km.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the facility was used for a long time by the Russian military without any formal agreement about its status. The Azeri authorities several times demanded recompense for Russia's use of the base and threatened to remove the radar station from operation.

Finally, on January 25, 2002, an agreement was reached concerning the conditions under which Russia may use the Daryual radar station in Gabala. According to the terms of the ten-year agreement, the station was classified as an informational-analysis center and declared the property of Azerbaijan. Russia agreed to pay $7 million annually in rent (the Azeri side initially wanted $20-30 million) and to reimburse Azerbaijan $31 million for the period of 1997-2001. Russia also promised to use the station only in an informational-analysis capacity and to share part of any information obtained with Azerbaijan.

In May 2007, the Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan announced that Russia might look into sharing the use of the Gabala base with the United States, as an alternative to plans to install an American missile defense radar system in the Caucasus.

The station's commander is Colonel Sergei Starostin. The base employs around 900 soldiers and more than 200 civilian specialists (the agreement between the two governments limits the base's personnel to 1,500 people) and is part of Russia's Space Troops.




Armenia

102nd Military Base, Gyumri (Leninakan), Yerevan

The base was formerly the 127th Motorized Rifle Division of the 7th Army in the Transcaucasus Military District (the division was stationed in Armenia in 1953).

It was turned into a military base on September 1, 1994, but a 25-year agreement about the establishment of a Russian military base in Armenia was not signed until March 16, 1995. The corresponding agreement between the Russian and Armenian governments appeared on September 27, 1996. Armenia does not collect any rent for use of the Gyumri base and provides for utilities and its day-to-day upkeep.

The task of the Russian troops in Armenia is to cover Russia's southern flank and to defend Armenia as a fellow member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The 102nd Military Base includes three motorized rifle regiments (the 123rd in Yerevan and the 124th and 128th in Gyumri), the 992nd Artillery Regiment and the 988th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (both in Gyumri), and the 116th Independent Tank Battalion. The base also houses a combat support division. Russian military facilities in Armenia also include the 3624th Air Base in Erebuni, which has 18 MiG-29 fighter jets, and the 700th air traffic control center.

The 102nd base has up to 100 tanks, around 300 armored personnel carriers, artillery systems, and anti-aircraft missile complexes of assorted types.

The commander of the base is Major General Andrei Kholzakov. The base houses around 4,000 personnel and is part of the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus.




Belarus

Independent Radar Node, Gantsevichi (Baranovichi)



A satellite photograph of the Russian Navy's Vileika communications hub in Belarus.
The node is a Volga-type stationary digital radar station that is integrated into the missile attack early warning system. Construction of the station, which was designed to cover disruptions in Daryul-type radar fields (both operate in the decimeter bandwidth), began in 1986.

The station detects and tracks ballistic missiles in Europe and over the north Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea and tracks objects in orbit up to a range of 4,800 km.

The location of the station on Belarussian territory was codified by an agreement between the Russian and Belarussian governments that was signed on January 6, 1995. Russia does not pay for its use of the base (in exchange, the agreement includes a partial write-off of Belarus' energy debt to Russia). In addition, as compensation in place of rent for the station, Russia provides Belarus with information on any movement of missiles or space-based objects within the station's range, as well as military firing ranges for anti-aircraft defenses. The current agreement is good for 25 years.

The station was put into preliminary testing operation in 2002 and became fully operational in 2003.

The station's commander is Colonel Boris Brachkovsky. It employs around 600 personnel and is part of the Space Troops.




43rd Communications Hub, Vileika

This radar station, which has been in operation since January 1964, is a long-range communications center for the Russian Navy that maintains radio contact with ships and submarines. It also carries out radio intelligence collection and electronic warfare. The station is equipped with a 1000-kW transmitter.

The location of the station on Belarussian territory was codified by the agreement signed by the two governments on January 6, 1995 (the agreement mistakenly states that the node is a "Russian military facility" that does not have the status of a military base). Belarus receives no rent from Russia for the use of the base. The agreement is valid for 25 years.

The chief of the Vileika radar station is Captain Vladimir Kuznetsov. The station employs at most 250 personnel.




Georgia

12th Military Base, Batumi


Photo: ITAR-TASS
The last Russian tank is evacuated from Russia's 12th Military Base near Batumi, Georgia, on August 14, 2005.
The base was organized from the 145th Motorized Rifle Division of the 9th Army (then the 31st Army Corps) in the Transcaucasus Military Division (the division was stationed in Georgia in 1953).

Together with three other divisions stationed in Georgia, the 12th Military Base was designated as a Russian military base by the Collective Security Treaty of May 15, 1992. On September 15, 1995, Russia and Georgia signed an agreement in Tbilisi securing the presence of Russian bases on Georgian territory for the next 25 years.

The Georgian government subsequently demanded the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory. Two bases, in Vaziani and Gudaute, were disbanded in July 2000. Russia has tried several times to push back the deadline for evacuating its troops: in 2001, Russia demanded 15 years to complete withdrawal; in 2002, it requested 11-12 years; in 2004, 7-8 years; and finally 3-4 years. All of these efforts have been fruitless, however.

Russian troops have turned up numerous times in conflict situations, particularly in support of the separatism movements in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Adjaria. According to the most recent agreement between Russia and Georgia, signed in March 2006, the process of evacuating the 12th Military Base is due to be completed no later than October 1, 2008. The remaining Russian military facilities are to be gradually turned over to the Georgian side.

The removal of military technology from the 12th base began in July 2005, and the majority of the base's heavy arms have already been evacuated.

The commander of the 12th Military Base is Major General Anatoly Danilov. The base houses several battalions of approximately 1,000 soldiers. The base is part of the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus.




62nd Military Base, Akhalkalaki

The base was organized from the 147th Motorized Rifle Division of the 9th Army (then the 31st Army Corps) in the Transcaucasus Military District.

The 62nd base operates in Georgia on the same basis as the 12th Military Base in Batumi. The evacuation of technology from the base began in May 2006, and all heavy arms have now been removed.

The commander of the 62nd Military Base is Colonel Yevgeny Achalov. The base houses several battalions numbering several hundred soldiers. The base is part of the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus.




Collective Peacekeeping Forces, Abkhazia

Russian peacekeeping forces appeared in the zone of the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia in June 1994 after Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze, facing a crisis in the country and the almost total destruction of Georgia's army, agreed to join the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and turned to Russia for help. A ceasefire agreement was signed between Georgia and Abkhazia in May 1994.

The basis of the Russian peacekeeping contingent was made up of the 10th Parachute Division, which had already been deployed to Abkhazia to help evacuate Russian citizens and defend military facilities in the republic.

Russian soldiers have clashed numerous times with guerilla fighters and have come under fire as the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia regularly intensifies. In recent years, the Georgian government has repeatedly demanded the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, claiming that they are facilitating the strengthening of separatist regimes and interfering with the reestablishment of order in the region.

During the peacekeeping operations, around 100 Russian soldiers died in the conflict.

Currently the collective peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia include three motorized rifle battalions, an independent mortar battery, and engineering and service units. They are equipped with more than 100 armored personnel carriers of different types and four helicopters.

The commander of the peacekeeping forces is Lieutenant General Sergei Chaban. The force includes around 1,600 personnel.

Russian Battalion in Mixed Peacekeeping Forces, South Ossetia

Peacekeeping forces made up of Russian, Georgia, and South Ossetian battalions were deployed to the region in July 1992, soon after the signing of the Dagomyssky Agreement on the Resolution of the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict by Russian and Georgian leaders. Within a few weeks, military activist had ceased and armed groups on both sides of the conflict were disbanded.

The leadership and management of the mixed peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia was carried out by a united command to which all of the sides contributed senior officers.

Currently the mixed peacekeeping forces are commanded by Major General Marat Kulakhmetov. The number of Russian soldiers in the region is around 500.




Kazakhstan

Independent Radar Node ("Balkhash-9," facility 1291, OS-2), Gulshad (Sary-Shagan, Priozersk, Balkhash)

In the middle of the 1960s, a stationary radar node of the first-generation Dnestr design was built in the Balkhash region. In the 1970s, two Dnepr radar nodes and a command-computational center were added as part of the missile attack early warning system. In the mid-1970s, the decision was made to add a more modern Daryal-U station to the complex as well, and construction began in the 1980s. In 1990, construction of the station, which was 95% complete, was suspended. In January 2003, the partially picked-over structure of the new radar node was given to Kazakhstan, and in September 2004 the station's receiver was destroyed by fire.

The remaining independent radar station, with one Dnestr unit and two Dnepr units, is responsible for the detection of ballistic missiles and orbiting objects in Asia. It has a range of approximately 3,000 km.

According to an agreement signed by Russia and Kazakhstan on December 14, 1994, the Balkhash node is the property of Kazakhstan and has been put in the service of Russia for ten years, with the possibility of an extension.

The commander of the station is Colonel Viktor Timoshenko. The radar node is part of the 3rd Independent Army of the Russian Missile and Space Defense Forces.




Facilities of the 4th State Central Multipurpose Firing Range



The Daryul-U radar node near Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan burns in September 2004.
In the 1950s, a large number of military facilities and firing ranges were built on the territory of the Kazakh SSR by the Soviet armed forces. The weapons stages of launched rockets landed there, and missile complexes, anti-aircraft systems, telemetry systems, air defenses, laser weapons, and similar technology were all tested there.

After the collapse of the USSR, the volume of tests at Kazakhstan's firing ranges decreased significantly: according to specialists, they are now operating at 5-10% of their capacity.

In October 1996, several agreements were signed regarding the rent of the firing ranges by Russia, who offered to partially pay for use of the facilities with deliveries of weapons to Kazakhstan, as well as with the repair of military technology and the training of Kazakh soldiers at Russian military training facilities. At that time, the question of compensation for Russia's use of the firing ranges at the beginning of the 1990s was also settled.

On November 25, 2005, Kazakhstan and Russia signed a special agreement settling financial issues regarding payment from Russia in exchange for use of the firing ranges. The two sides agreed to move to settling their debts monetarily instead of via the barter system that they had previously agreed upon. Russia also agreed to pay off a debt of $135.73 million for its use of the firing ranges.

In April 2006, the system of Russian firing ranges in Kazakhstan was reformed: all of them were merged into the 4th State Central Multipurpose Firing Range, whose headquarters is located in Kapustin Yaru in Russia's Astrakhan Oblast. The multipurpose firing range includes the following facilities in Kazakhstan:

1. The Sary-Shagan10th State Testing Range is located in the Aktyubinsk, Zhambylsk, Karagandinsk, and Kzyl-Ordinsk Oblasts. The area of the firing range is more than 80,000 square meters, and it extends more than 250 km from north to south and 600 km from east to west. It was created in 1956 for testing elements of missile attack early warning systems, air-raid and missile defenses, and ballistic missiles. Starting in 1996, rent for the range was $19.97 million per year, and since 2005 it has been $18.932 million per year. The chief of the 10th firing range is Major General Vilor Matlashov.

2. The 5580th Testing Grounds (the Emba 11th State Testing Range) is located in Aktyubinsk Oblast. It is used for carrying out scientific experiments and testing models of armed troop anti-aircraft defenses. Rent was fixed at $4.694 million annually in 1996 and at $718,000 in 2005.

3. The facilities of the 4th State Central Firing Range in Western Kazakhstan Oblast are the 20th Independent Testing Station and two measuring points (IP-8 and IP-16). These structures are used for carrying out flight tests of weapons models. The rent for these facilities was fixed at $1.022 million annually in 1996 and at $682,000 in 2005.




Facilities of the 929th State Flight Test Center, Atyrausk and Western Kazakhstan Oblasts


Photo: ITAR-TASS
Russian armored vehicles in the self-proclaimed republic of Transdniestr, before they were withdrawn in accordance with the 1999 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.
In the 1950s, the Soviet Air Force also began to establish testing grounds in the Kazakh SSR. This building program eventually included scientific facilities, aviation command centers, measuring stations, and battle grounds where targets for air strikes were set up. All of these facilities were under the control of the Air Force Laboratory.

After the collapse of the USSR, the number of tests dropped dramatically. In 1996, the Russian and Kazakh governments concluded an agreement concerning the conditions under which the Russian Air Force could use the firing ranges on Kazakh territory. The annual rent was originally set at $1.814 million, and it was raised to $4.454 million per year as of January 1, 2005.

The firing range was designated for flight tests of new weapons models, as well as for the military training of Air Force pilots and Navy aviators.

Currently the territory of Kazakhstan hosts three test centers of the Russian Defense Ministry's V. P. Chkalov 929th State Flight Test Center, whose headquarters are located in Akhtubinsk in Astrakhan Oblast: the 85th (in the Inderbosk and Mokhambetsk regions of Atyrausk Oblast, near the town of Atyrau), the 171st (near the village of Terekta in the Bokeiordinsk region of Western Kazakhstan Oblast), and the 231st (near the village of Turgai in the Bokeiordinsk region of Western Kazakhstan Oblast).




Baikonur Cosmodrome (5th State Testing Grounds), Kzyl-Ordinsk Oblast

The Baikonur Cosmodrome was built in Kazakhstan in the late 1950s. As the Soviet Union's main cosmodrome, it was used extensively for exploring the cosmos in pursuit of both peaceful and military ends. Numerous spaceships and satellites were launched from the cosmodrome, and the facility was also used to test new space technology and weapons systems.

A 20-year rent agreement for the cosmodrome was signed by Russia and Kazakhstan on December 10, 1994. The annual rent was fixed at $115 million. In 2004, the rent agreement was extended through 2050.

In the mid-1990s, the Kazakh authorities accused Russia of being delinquent in rent payments and running up a $1.893 billion debt. Eventually, the issue was settled with a special agreement signed on October 13, 1998, according to which both Russia and Kazakhstan agreed to clear their debts.

Baikonur is Russia's only cosmodrome from which piloted spaceflights can be launched. Its facilities include a launching pad, technical positioning and measuring points, independent mixed air squadrons, and assistance and service facilities and support.

In 2005, the cosmodrome's facilities began to be gradually transferred from the Russian Ministry of Defense to a civilian entity, the Federal Space Agency. This process is slated to be completed by December 31, 2007. It is possible that some of the Space Troops officers who work at the cosmodrome will be sent to work for the Federal Space Agency to keep the Baikonur Cosmodrome up and running.

The cosmodrome is under the command of Colonel Oleg Maidanovich and employs around 3,000 personnel.




171st Command Center, Karaganda

In December 1975, the 169th Independent Company of the Aerodrome Technical Service was created and stationed in Karaganda, in the Kazakh SSR. It was charged with provided rear support and search and rescue coordination during launches and landings of space-going vehicles at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

After the collapse of the USSR, in September 1994 General Headquarters issued a directive restructuring it as an Aviation Command Center, which was accomplished by March 1999.

The center is commanded by Colonel Sergei Semchenko and employs 50 personnel.




Kyrgyzstan
999th Air Base, Kant

The airbase at Kant was constructed in 1941, when the Odessa Military Aviation Academy was moved to the area. Since 1951, an aviation training division has been stationed at the aerodrome. In 1956, it was elevated to the status of an aviation training division of the Soviet Central Course for training and improving the air corps, and pilots from Asia, Africa, and Central and Latin America came there for training. In particular, Kant was where current Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Syrian President Hafez Assad, and Indian Air Marshal Dilbah Singh trained. In May 1992 the air division was transferred to the jurisdiction of Kyrgyzstan, after which it lost its military capacity.

Russia began to take an interest in billeting its own air division at the base in Kant in the summer of 2002, soon after the Manas airbase near Bishkek was loaned to the United States and its allies in the War on Terror.
An agreement concerning the status and conditions for the presence of a Russian airbase on Kyrgyz territory was signed on September 22, 2003 in Moscow by the Russian and Kyrgyz defense ministers on behalf of their presidents. The Russian base was officially opened on October 23 of the same year in a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and then Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev. Kant became the first Russian military base opened outside the country's borders since 1991. The agreement between Russia and Kyrgyzstan regarding the status and conditions of use of the 999th Airbase took effect on August 11, 2005.

The airbase is mainly responsible for control of the airspace in Central Asia and carrying out air strikes against terrorist groups if necessary.

Five Su-25 attack planes, four L-39 training planes, and two Mi-8 helicopters are stationed at the base.

Russia spends 130 million rubles annually on upkeep of the base, which is commanded by Colonel Oleg Vinogradov. The base's technical needs are served by 140 pilots and technical specialists. The 999th Airbase answers to the 5th Army of the Russian Air Force and the anti-aircraft defense force of the Volga-Ural Military District.




338th Communications Hub, Kara-Balta (Spartak, Chaldovar), Chusk Oblast

This Russian Navy long-range communications station maintains radio contact with ships and submarines and carries out radio intelligence collection and electronic warfare.

The station operates according to the terms of an agreement signed by Russia and Kyrgyzstan on July 5, 1993.




954th Test Base for Anti-Submarine Weapons, Karakol (Issyk-Kul Oblast)

In 1943, the testing grounds for the torpedo-manufacturing plant Dagdizel were evacuated to Lake Issyk-Kul from Dagestan. In 1954, the Soviet Navy created a test center in conjunction with the testing grounds. According to an agreement between Russia and Kyrgyzstan from July 5, 1993, the center is Russian property. At the present moment, the center includes the Koisary Naval Base (under the command of Capitan Andrei Okladnikov) and is responsible for the scientific development of the Kyrgyz-Russian joint project "Ozero" (the project's general director is Nikoali Barabash). Russia holds a 95% stake in the Ozero project, which involves the development and testing of new torpedoes.




Automated Seismic Station #1, Ichke-Suu (Issyk-Kul Oblast)


Photo: ITAR-TASS
The "Okno" electrooptical complex in Tajikistan.
This station is part of the unified automated system of seismic detectors belonging to the Russian Defense Ministry.

It is designed to detect the testing and use of nuclear weapons around the world, as well as earthquakes.

The status of the Russian facility was clarified by a protocol from July 21, 1994 and an agreement signed on October 21, 1994 that concerns the conditions of rent for the stationing of divisions of the Russian Defense Ministry's seismic services in Kyrgyzstan. Russia shares part of the information gathered by station #1 with Kyrgyz scientists.




Radioseismic Laboratory (Automated Seismic Station #17, Mailuu-Sai

This laboratory is integrated into the Russian Defense Ministry's unified automated system of seismic detectors.

The laboratory (automated seismic station) is designed to detect the testing and use of nuclear weapons, as well as earthquakes.

It operates according to the same terms as seismic station #1.




Moldova

Operational Group of Russian Troops, Transdniestr

The Soviet 14th Army of the Odessa Military District was stationed in Moldova and Transdniestr in 1956. After the collapse of the USSR, it was transferred to Russian jurisdiction. At that moment, the region was convulsed by an armed conflict, and the 14th Army participated in breaking its grip.

The Moldovan government has demanded several times that Russian troops be withdrawn from the region immediately. Russia has refused on the grounds that it needs to protect a large amount of heavy technology and ammunition stored in the region. For its part, the government of Transdniestr has requested that the Russian contingent remain, since the breakaway republic's leaders consider the Russian presence a guarantee of their safety.

On February 9, 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, after talks with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, announced his readiness to withdraw the 14th Army. It was decided to define the timetable for withdrawal "according to the achievement of progress in Moldova's definition of special status for its left-bank regions [Transdniestr]." After protracted arguments, at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November 1999 Russia was forced to agree to withdraw its troops from Transdniestr completely by December 31, 2002 (their presence there violated the newly-adopted Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty). At the end of 1999, personnel, technology, and ammunition began to be withdrawn.

Soon, however, Russia halted the withdrawal of its troops, pointing to the absence of firm deadlines in the CFE treaty and linking redeployment to the peaceful resolution of the Transdniestr conflict. Negotiations are ongoing. In any case, all heavy arms have already been recalled from the region.

Simultaneously with the negotiations, the organizational structures and numbers of Russian troops have been cut back. On July 1, 1995, the 14th Army was disbanded, and an operational group of Russian troops in Transdniestr was created in its place. In 1997, the 59th Motorized Rifle Division of the operational group was reformed into the 8th Independent Motorized Brigade, and in 2002 that brigade was disbanded as well.

The Transdniestr operational group currently consists of two separate motorized rifle battalions (engaged in peacekeeping duties), a security and service battalion, a helicopter detachment, and several support units.

The group's commander is Major General Boris Sergeev, and it currently has around 1,000 personnel.




Syria

720th Material and Technical Support Station, Tartus


Photo: ITAR-TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with troops from the Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Division in Tajikistan on April 27, 2003.
The base in Syria is Russia's only base that is not in a neighboring country. The agreement on the use of the base by the Soviet Navy was signed with the Syrian government in 1971. The base in Tartus provides support for the Russian Navy's maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea, chiefly ship repair, fueling, and supplies for the 5th Operational (Mediterranean) Squadron. In Soviet times, similar stations were located in Egypt and in the Syrian port of Latakiya.

In 1977, the Soviet 54th Operational Brigade of Auxiliary Vessels left its bases in Alexandria and Mersa Matruh at the request of the Egyptian government. Property, ships, and other floating craft were transferred to Tartus, where in April 1977 the 229th Division of Naval and Raiding Ship Support was organized under the leadership of the commander of the supply ship brigade of the Black Sea Fleet. In 1984, a material and technical support station was created in Tartus under the leadership of the vice rear admiral of the Black Sea Fleet.

In 1991, the Mediterranean Flotilla ceased to exist, and since then Russian Navy ships have made only occasional excursions into the Mediterranean.

This material and technical support station consists of three floating PM-61M moorings (only one of which is operational), floating workshops (changed every six months), a depot, a barracks, and various utility facilities.

The 720th Material and Technical Support Station is part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.




Tajikistan

201st Military Base, Dushanbe, Kulyab, Kurgan-Tyube

The base was organized from the 201st Motorized Rifle Division, which was stationed in Tajikistan in the fall of 1945. During Soviet times, it was reorganized several times into a brigade and a regiment, received the title of a mountain rifle division, and had its number changed. In 1964, it again began to be referred to as the 201st Motorized Rifle Division. The division fought in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. At the beginning of the 1990s, during Tajikistan's civil war, it was put under the jurisdiction of Russia as part of the collective peacekeeping forces. The division took part in several armed clashes with Tajik and Afghan extremists.

This Russian division is in Tajikistan according to a friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance accord signed in May 1993. In April 1999, a special agreement was signed concerning the status and conditions of the existence of a Russian military base on Tajik territory. The agreement was quickly ratified, but that was followed by several years of discussions about the financial conditions attached to the billeting of Russian soldiers. Finally, a compromise was reached: Russia promised Tajikistan large-scale investment of up to $2 billion over five years. In return, the Tajik authorities dismissed the question of payment for the soldiers' presence.

On October 16, 2004, the two countries signed an agreement about the makeup and organizational structure of the base. The next day an official opening ceremony took place, in which the two presidents participated. The base was initially dubbed the 4th, but its number was later changed to that which formerly belonged to the motorized rifle division.

The Russian troops in Tajikistan are there to cover the Tajik-Afghan border in case of an attack by militants from Afghanistan and in order to keep a lid on illegal militant groups.

The 201st Military Base includes three motorized rifle regiments (the 92nd in Dushanbe, the 149th in Kulyab, and the 191st in Kurgan-Tyube), the 670th Aviation Wing (five Su-25 attack planes at the Aini airfield), the 303rd Independent Helicopter Squadron (four Mi-24 and four Mi-8 helicopters at the Aini airfield), the 295th psych-ops unit, and several independent battalions (intelligence and electronic warfare, repair and refurbishment, material support, communications). The division also includes a military support unit.

The 201st Military Base has around 100 tanks, 300 armored personnel carriers of different types, artillery systems, and anti-aircraft missile complexes.

The commander of the base is Colonel Alexei Zavizon. The base employs around 7,000 regular personnel. Approximately 60-65% of the soldiers there are serving on a contract basis. The 201st Military Base is part of the Volga-Urals Military District.

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1109th Independent Electrooptical Node ("Okno" electrooptical complex, object 7680), Nurek

The automated Okno ("Window") complex (54Zh6) is part of Russia's ground-based space-monitoring system. It tracks orbiting objects at a range of 2,000 to 40,000 km, collects coordinates and photometric information about these objects, and calculates their trajectories. The complex is capable of providing global monitoring for orbiting objects over Eurasia, North and Central Africa, and the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans.

Construction on the complex began in 1979. Sanglok Mountain in Tajikistan was chosen as the site because its large number of clear night hours and the transparency and stability of the atmosphere at the site make it ideally suited for optical observations. In 1992, the work was suspended, and it was not resumed until 1997.

The complex operates mainly on the basis of a special agreement between the Russian and Tajik governments that was signed on January 28, 1994. The agreement cedes the Okno facility to Russia for 49 years for a symbolic annual rent of $0.30. In return, Russian forgave Tajikistan's $242 million debt.

Okno has been on military watch since March 16, 2004.

The station's commander is Lieutenant Colonel Alexei Kutuzov. Okno is part of the 45th Division of Space Monitoring, which is under the 3rd Independent Army of the Rocket Defense Forces of the Russian Space Troops.


Ukraine

Naval Base of the Black Sea Fleet, Crimea



A warship in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol on June 28, 2006.
The Black Sea Fleet has been based in the Crimea since the end of the 18th century. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia and Ukraine quarreled about the terms of how the fleet should be divided between the two countries. In 1991-1992, the Ukrainian authorities passed several resolutions giving control of the fleet to Ukraine, and the Ukrainian side began to seize ships. In response, in April 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree transferring the Black Sea Fleet to Russia's jurisdiction "with its subordination to the commander-in-chief of the United Armed Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States."

In summer 1992, the presidents of the two countries reached an agreement about the principles of the formation of the Russian and Ukrainian Navies out of the remnants Black Sea Fleet. In June 1995, the two sides signed a new agreement, according to which Russia received 81.7% and Ukraine received 18.3% of the fleet's ships and other vessels. The conflict continued, however, and in October 1996 the Russian State Duma even passed a special law stopping the division of the fleet.

The argument was finally resolved on May 28, 1997, when an agreement was reached on the terms for the division of the Black Sea Fleet. This document defined the status and conditions of the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukrainian territory and set out the terms for the division of the fleet and the settling of accounts between the two countries. On June 12, 1997, the Ensign of the Russian Navy was raised on board the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The agreement limits the size of Russia's Black Sea Fleet based in Ukraine to 388 ships and 161 planes, and the agreement is valid until 2017. In 2005, the Ukrainian authorities suggested reviewing the agreement concerning the fleet and announced that they do not intend to extend the period of the fleet's presence in the Crimea past the current cut-off date. Ukraine also demanded that it be given several of the fleet's hydrographic facilities.

Russia pays $98 million annually for use of the naval base in Sevastopol, part of which is paid with Russian gas.

The following ships from the Black Sea Fleet are currently stationed in the Crimea: the 30th Division (made up of the 11th Brigade of Anti-Submarine Ships and the 197th Brigade of Landing Vessels), the 41st Brigade of Gunboats, the 68th Brigade of Marine Security Vessels, the 247th Independent Submarine Division, and the 9th Support Ship Brigade.

The fleet's ships include the project 1164 missile cruiser Moskva; two large project 1134 anti-submarine ships, the Kerch and the Ochakov; seven project 775 and 1171 landing vessels; one project 877V B-871 submarine; and several dozen smaller ships (patrol ships, small anti-submarine ships, and gunboats) and auxiliary vessels.

The headquarters of the fleet is also in the Crimea, as are its air wing (the 43rd Independent Naval Attack Air Regiment, the 917th Mixed Air Regiment, the 872nd Independent Anti-Submarine Helicopter Regiment), the 810th Independent Marine Regiment, the 854th Independent Coast Guard Gunship Regiment, the 1096th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, the 31st Test Center, and various military support units.

The Black Sea Fleet is commanded by Admiral Alexander Tatarinov. It employs approximately 13,000 soldiers and 16,000 civilian specialists.

7 comments:

captainjohann said...

Russia never had foreign bases. Most of the bases are old soviet union bases when all these countries were part of soviet union.

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