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Separate Combined-Arms Army of Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan formally declared its independence from the U.S.S.R. on October 27, 1991. It became an independent state when the Soviet Union disbanded on December 25, 1991. President Niyazov, who was elected (uncontested) on October 27, 1990, was previously Chairman of Turkmenistan's Supreme Soviet and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Republic's Communist Party. He won reelection for a 5-year term in June 1992. In January 1994, a referendum was held that ensured that President Niyazov will remain in office until June 2002. A recent announcement extended this date to 2010.

Turkmenistan's declaration of "permanent neutrality" was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1995.

The Treaty on Joint Measures signed by Russia and Turkmenistan in July 1992 provided for the Russian Federation to act as guarantor of Turkmenistan's security and made former Soviet army units in the republic the basis of the new national armed forces. The treaty stipulated that, apart from border troops and air force and air defense units remaining under Russian control, the entire armed forces would be under joint command, which would gradually devolve to exclusive command by Turkmenistan over a period of ten years. For a transitional period of five years, Russia would provide logistical support and pay Turkmenistan for the right to maintain special installations, while Turkmenistan would bear the costs of housing, utilities, and administration.

Turkmenistan consistently has refused to join multilateral CIS military groupings, but Russia maintains joint command of the three motorized rifle divisions in the Turkmenistani army. Under a 1993 bilateral military cooperation treaty, some 2,000 Russian officers serve in Turkmenistan on contract, and border forces (about 5,000 in 1995) are under joint Russian and Turkmenistani command. As of 1994 there were some 15,000 Russian troops in Turkmenistan to ensure Russian access to the area, as well as maintaining the borders with Iran and Afghanistan. Altogether, about 11,000 Russian troops remained in Turkmenistan in mid-1996.

In May 1994, Turkmenistan became the first Central Asian member nation of the Partnership for Peace, the NATO initiative offering limited participation in the Western military alliance in return for participation in some NATO exercises. As a result, Turkmenistan has pursued the possibly of training its officers with the military cadre of NATO member nations.

Russia has signed and ratified Agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with Turkmenistan. There are no military consultants or personnel in Turkmenistan. The last Russian border troops left Turkmenistan in 1999. With the removal of all Russian troops and border guards at the end of 2000, it is unknown how much future influence the Russian government can have over the situation of Russians in Turkmenistan.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:20:00 ZULU