The joint Russian-Uzbek antiterrorist exercises pass to the active phase in the Krasnodar Territory. Defense ministers of the two countries, Sergei Ivanov and Ruslan Mirzoev, will watch their final stage on September 23. Uzbek servicemen are presented on the Russian territory in such capacity for the first time. Similar exercises were held a year ago in Uzbekistan. The first antiterrorist exercises of the armed forces of Uzbekistan and Russia in the entire post-Soviet history were held then at the combined arms training ground Farish of the central military district of Uzbekistan. Moscow was represented by about 200 servicemen from the Airborne Forces and Special Forces of the Main Intelligence Department. Uzbekistan was represented by similar units. The servicemen of the two countries were trained in actions for prevention of attacks of terrorist groups, as well as in actions for parrying of attacks of bandit forces on urban terrain and on mountainous terrain. Besides the Special Forces on the Uzbek training range acted also Russian Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters and the Uzbek party presented artillery crews.

This time the situation was similar. The press service of the North Caucasian Military District reported, “The goal of the exercises is working out a uniform algorithm of work of the command bodies in planning joint antiterrorist actions of the units of armed forces of Russia and Uzbekistan.” According to the North Caucasian Military District, in the first stage of the exercise the staff of the joint group of forces of the armed forces of Russia and Ukraine planned a special operation for liquidation of terrorist groups. After that units of the two countries moved to the areas of combat operations. In the second stage they were trained in interaction in detection, blocking and destruction of bandit forces.

Such exercises are important both for Russia and for Uzbekistan. Russia is only starting formation of mountain rifle units in the North Caucasian Military District. Experience of the infantry divisions of the Uzbek mountain special forces after the well-known diversion blows of militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan between 1998 and 1999, at populated spots of the country and in the center of Tashkent is new and unique for Russian forces in many aspects. Actions of Russian tactical landing parties of the Airborne Forces dropped from the military cargo helicopters Mi-8 tested in combat operations in the territory of Chechnya are also very interesting for Uzbek forces.

Thus, the Russian-Uzbek exercises in the Krasnodar Territory have not only a purely pragmatic military nature but also represent an important stage of defense, political and strategic interaction of the two countries. In circumstances of international isolation of Uzbekistan connected with the events in Andizhan the military aid of Moscow enables the Uzbek authorities to maintain stability in the country. At any rate, it is hardly possible to characterize the Russian-Uzbek military and military technological relations as active.

First, after liquidation of the American air base in Hanabad, Russia refused to deploy its objects there having preliminary obtained an agreement of Tashkent for provision of its territory during a special period.

Second, Moscow finally decided to relocate production of the military cargo airplane IL-76 from Tashkent to Ulianovsk in Russia. Thus, Uzbekistan will lose the world’s largest aircraft building facility.

Meanwhile, the fact of the exercises shows that Moscow supports the regime of Karimov seriously. This support is very valuable in circumstances of international isolation. Moreover so that Uzbekistan has restarted its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This means that it will buy armament from Russia at discount prices.