The Caspian Flotilla is a small force for coastal defense and waterways patrol consisting of two frigates, twelve patrol boats, and about fifty other small craft based in Astrakhan'. Command and equipment are shared with Azerbaijan and Kazakstan, other former Soviet republics on the Caspian littoral. The Caspian Flotilla was for a time a bone of contention between Russia and various other republics, though a March 1992 agreement divided up the Caspian Flotilla among Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. The withdrawal of troops from Azerbaijan required Russia to establish military infrastructure in Astrakhan, providing a new base for the Caspian flotilla.
Divided in 1992, by 1995 the Caspian sea flotilla was no longer able to cope with its mission of deterring smuggling. In mid-1997 Russia decided to reinforce the Caspian Flotilla and expand its activities. The flotilla will receive funding to create additional coastal facilities for its ships and a crack unit for special operations on land. It is also to receive additional armored personnel carriers for its marine infantry. A related program reportedly envisages more frequent visits by flotilla ships to Iranian ports.
Today, under the new geopolitical conditions, the role and value of Caspian flotilla grows. Primary tasks today become the guarantee of nation- state interests of Russia in the region, opposition to terrorism. Contemporary realities of life placed ships and parts of the Caspian flotilla on the guard of the southern boundaries of Russia.
An example of further development and growth of the military power of Caspian flotilla is the transfer of new contemporary destroyer escort "tatarstan" to the composition of flotilla, patronage of which had the administration of federal state unitary enterprise "ON the plant im. Sergo" city it was Zelenodol'sk the republics Of tatarstan. At present the government of the Russian Federation affirmed the state ship-building program of the building of ships for the Caspian flotilla, within the framework of which is already at the present moment developed the design of warships taking into account the specific character of Caspian Region. In 2003 the beginning of the building of the ship of this series is planned.
The guard Moscow- Chernigov brigade of marines, which participated in conducting of the dissents of the terrorist operation in the Chechen republic. It is more than 900 officers, Warrant Officers and ensigns flotillas were honored government rewards. An example in the fulfillment of military duty and service to the native land for entire personnel of flotilla is the hero of the Russian Federation elder ensign Grigoriy zamyshlyak.
During August 2002 on the decision of President of the Russian Federation, in Caspian Sea the large-scale study of Caspian flotilla with the attraction of parts and air force units, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of the Russian federation on the matters of civil defense, the extraordinary situations and overcoming of the consequences of the natural calamities and ministry of transport of Russia was carry ouied. These are first in the recent decades of this scale study, conducted in the Caspian region, the tasks, to which they were set by the President of Russia during the visit to Astrakhan and the visit to them the ships of Caspian flotilla. The ships and the parts of the Caspian flotilla obtained the appreciation of the alert from the President of the Russian Federation Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich and this it makes it possible to say on the sums of the carried out studies that the southern boundaries of Russia are reliably protected.
Also during September 2002 the ships of flotilla visited with the friendly visit the capital of the republic of Azerbaijan - Baku. During October 2002 Caspian flotilla noted its 280- summer anniversary and 10-year anniversary from the day of conclusion from Baku.
Russia in recent years has beefed up its Caspian military presence. The flotilla, based in Astrakhan, includes two frigates, 12 patrol ships and a variety of smaller vessels. The Tatarstan, launched in 2003, is one of the newest ships in the Russian navy. The Caspian flotilla would play a major role in any regional effort to combat terrorism and narcotics trafficking in the region.
Caspian Sea Context
The Caspian Sea, located on Iran's northern border, surrounded by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, and sharing a border with the south-west corner of Russian territory, is the epicentre of a collision of regional, national and business issues. These include questions among the littoral countries over demarcating the Sea, route diversification for oil pipelines, state interests, investor concern over political and ethnic stability, and the role of international agreements. The Caspian has been compared to the North Sea in size of petroleum holdings. It is credited with 20 to 40 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, though this pales in comparison to Russia's massive Siberian reserves bordering on 200 billion proven barrels.
The political battle over the Caspian began with a confrontation in April 1994 among Azerbaijan, Britain and Russia. Azerbaijan was turning toward an alliance with Turkey and proceeding with a de facto division of the Caspian Sea. Russia sought to prevent the Sea from being divided into national sectors as proscribed by the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, because some of the Sea's richest deposits did not lie in its sector. Under these circumstances, it seemed possible that the Russian Caspian flotilla might launch a military operation to restore the status quo in the Caspian Sea. Finally, in November 1996 Russia proposed a 45-mile coastal zone, beyond which there would be a condominium approach to the problem.
According to national defense doctrine, Kazakstan had a minimal requirement for naval forces. In late 1993, Kazakstan received about 25 percent of the patrol boats and cutters in Russia's Caspian Sea Flotilla, which subsequently constituted the entire naval force. In 1993 naval bases were planned for Fort Shevchenko on the Caspian Sea and at Aral, north of the Aral Sea, but a scarcity of funds delayed completion. Kazakhstan since 1997 received ten ships from the USA and Germany. The Kazakh flotilla is intended to perform coastal guard missions only. Aktau is its main base. As of July 1998 the Caspian Flotilla of Kazakhstan took delivery of the third Kazakh-made combat cutter, built (as were the first two) at the Zenith shipyard in Uralsk, a city in western Kazakhstan. Two similar vessels remained under construction there.
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