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Space Science

Kazakhstan Wants Russia To Hand Over Their Baikonur Space City 131

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the borat-goes-to-mars dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "RIA Novosti reports that Kazakhstan and Russia are in talks over returning the city of Baikonur to Kazakhstan — the site of the first Soviet rocket launches and Russia's most important space launch center. Baikonur, built in Kazakhstan in the 1950s, is the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets and was leased by Russia from Kazakhstan under an agreement signed in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 'Today both nations' governments have decided to set up a new intergovernmental commission for the Baikonur complex to be headed up by first or other deputy prime ministers,' said Talgat Musabayev, head of Kazakhstan's space agency. At issue is control over Baikonur and the rent Russia pays Kazakhstan to use the facility, a subject of ongoing dispute between the two nations ever since Kazakhstan gained independence from the USSR. Earlier this year, Kazakhstan blocked Russia from launching several rockets from Baikonur in a dispute over a drop zone for debris and Kazakhstan insisted this must be covered by a supplement to the main rental agreement signed in Astana in 2004, extending Russia's use of the space center's facilities until 2050. Russia pays an annual fee of approximately $115 million to use the space center, which currently has the world's busiest launch schedule, as well as $50 million annually for maintenance. Russia and Kazakhstan are working to build a new space launch facility at Baikonur, called Baiterek, to launch Angara carrier rockets capable of delivering 26 metric tons of payload to low-Earth orbits but Russia intends to eventually withdraw from Baikonur and conduct launches from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, an operating spaceport about 500 miles north of Moscow — and the unfinished Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East."
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Kazakhstan Wants Russia To Hand Over Their Baikonur Space City

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  • I bet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aglider (2435074) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:27AM (#42249802) Homepage
    They won't return it!
    For a simple question: why should they?
  • time to invade (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alen (225700) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:32AM (#42249826)

    like they did in georgia a few years back

  • Re:I bet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mumblestheclown (569987) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:38AM (#42249862)

    This is not much more than a political gambit. Kazakhstan squeezes, russia squeezes back. Or, more precisely, kazakhstan squeezes, russia pays off whoever needs to be paid off in kazakhstan, and things are back to normal. There's a good reason why I've seen more maybachs in Almaty than any other city in the world. While nowhere nearly as corrupt as uzbekistan or turkmenistan or russia as a whole, kazakhstan is still by in large run with russia's golden hand up its backside.

    russia, or, more specifically, the russian governments from basically 1400 through 1991 and then 2000 - today have been this giant cancer that has caused hardship and ruin for the lives of hundreds of millions in states and regions that border russia. only now are internet-reading educated russians in large cities starting to even slightly understand this.

  • Re:time to invade (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:48AM (#42249906)

    Didnt Georgia invade the independent countries Ossetia and Abkhazia first, so Russians had to come and protect Ossetia's and Abkhazias sovereignty, after recognizing their independence a few hours before?

    As the US and other western countries demonstrated with Kosovo, recognizing some random regions independence from one of your geopolitical foes and then marching in to protect the newly granted independence is a valid practice according to international law.

  • Re:I bet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ikaruga (2725453) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @10:08AM (#42250024)
    First because he said internet-reading educated russians in large cities. Educated people are a minority in most regions of the planet.
    Second, corruption is rampart in Russia. Even if the people vote against Putin they can easily work around it. Last elections over there showed it:140% votes [economist.com]
    As a guy who was born in Russia this corruption pisses the crap out of me.
  • Re:I bet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:05AM (#42250525)

    Your post's first part is correct. Second is opinionated drivel on the level of fox news. Governing world's largest state with extremely complex mixture of cultures and ethnicities that have standing conflicts that sometimes spawn over millenia requires a very hard handed approach.

    Most people don't seem to understand that large states are ALL corrupt, but corruption changes face in accordance to local culture. In the East, it's generally low level corruption, with low and middle level bureaucrats that take most of the bribes. The upper echelon of the bureaucracy typically accepts this as a realistic cost of running an Eastern country.

    In the West, we typically have a high level corruption where highest of the ruling elite are more corrupt then low and middle bureaucrats. And we the people accept that corruption at highest strata of society is just the way our culture works.

    I still remember the old saying about the biggest difference between Russia and USA. In USA, money is power. In Russia, power is money.

  • Re:time to invade (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:16AM (#42250603)

    > Right.... Georgia recognized their sovereignty after Russia held a gun to the collective heads of nearly everybody in Georgia?

    Russia recognized their sovereignty and 5 minutes later marched in to protect it. Like the US and the EUSSR did in Kosovo. What the tiny Georgia did or did not absolutely doesnt matter.

    > In spite of all of those millennia of turmoil and death, little seems to be solved.

    Nobody cares about Kosovo itself. But the conquest of Kosovo massively changed the bigger picture of things.

    Russia took the conquest of Kosovo by the US and the EUSSR as a precedent: "If you can legitimize an invasion and a land grab simply by proclaming the regions you want to grab as independent first, so can we." And they did. And they will again if they feel like it, because no international law exists any more to stop them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:41AM (#42250847)

    > Ossetia and Abkhazia have always been part of Georgia

    So what? Now they're not any more.

    > Kosovo is somewhat different in that genocidal warfare

    None of that happened in Kosovo. It happened in other Yugoslavian republics, but not in Kosovo.

    > independence as the only way to protect the citizens.

    So argued Russia, when it granted (and subsequently enforced) independence to Abkhazia and Ossetia.

    > There's nothing really analogous

    The analogy is that in both cases, somebody armed to teeth declares a part of some significantly weaker geopolitical foe "independent" and then marches in to "protect" the newly granted independence.

    > were never in any real danger to begin with, although they like to claim that they were to justify

    The justification doesnt matter as there is no independent third party to judge whether the justification is sufficient or not. Without an impartial judge, the Russian justification to attack Georgia as as good as the US/EUSSR one to attack Serbia. The Russians explicitly referenced the Kosovo precedent when they attacked Georgia. "If you can redraw other countries borders at gunpoint, so can we. Go figure!"

  • Re:I bet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @02:24PM (#42252561) Journal

    russia, or, more specifically, the russian governments from basically 1400 through 1991 and then 2000 - today have been this giant cancer that has caused hardship and ruin for the lives of hundreds of millions in states and regions that border russia.

    Indeed. How dare they build roads, irrigation, schools, universities, power plants, factories, and, well, cosmodroms in countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan etc, which were obviously doing so well on their own with 99% of their people living in yurts and herding livestock.

    Stop colonialism today! Replace the Russian cancer on Kazakh soil that is Baikonur with traditional Kazakh yurts!

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

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