Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article “Russia-Central Asia: A Time-Tested Partnership,” published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta on October 4, 2017

Thursday, 05 October 2017 17:28

The year 2017 is significant for the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Central Asian states. Numerous events in a wide variety of areas are dedicated to this remarkable date. President Vladimir Putin has held meetings with the leaders of all countries in the region. Specifically, the Russian leader has just paid a visit to Turkmenistan. Much attention is attached to this theme during intense contacts between respective foreign ministers.

The anniversary is a good occasion to sum up the results of these 25 years and map out plans for the future. We have much to show to the public in our countries. Russia has established allied relations or strategic partnerships with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. A solid contractual basis has been formed by joint efforts, a trust-based political dialogue has been established, including at the top level, and, in general, close, multifaceted cooperation has been ensured. The most important pillars in this work were and continue to be our geographical proximity, common history and interwoven human lives.

Our states maintain deeply structured trade and economic ties. The amount of Russian investments is about $20 billion. Over 7,500 Russian businesses and joint ventures operate fruitfully in Central Asia. Considerable funds (over $37 billion between 2013 and 2016 alone) come to the countries in the region as a result of their citizens’ employment in Russia.

In just under ten years, the total volume of our bilateral and multilateral assistance to the Central Asian states has exceeded $6 billion. Debts have been written off to Kyrgyzstan ($488 million) and Uzbekistan ($865 million). Aid is being provided in the form of duty-free supplies of oil and oil products.

We attach much importance to building up humanitarian cooperation, including for the purpose of forming a common educational, research and cultural space. We are pleased to note that Russian remains the native or a second native language for a considerable part of people in the region. For our part, we are actively encouraging an interest in studying Russian, primarily among the younger generation. Over 150,000 students from Central Asia are enrolled in Russian universities. About 46,000 of them receive scholarships from the Russian federal budget. Local branches of leading Russian universities train much needed skilled personnel for a broad range of most in demand jobs.

By arrangement between our Presidents, 28 teachers from different Russian regions arrived in Tajikistan in August of this year to work at local schools and 60,000 Russian textbooks have been donated.  The possibility of building five Russian schools in major cities in the country is being studied. Gazprom has provided funds for the construction of the Alexander Pushkin General Secondary School in Turkmenistan, which is functioning successfully. A project to build an innovative general education school in Kyrgyzstan is being implemented. The Anton Chekhov School opened in Bishkek in September 2016 with support from the Russian Peace Foundation. Russian centres of science and culture offer regular Russian language courses.

I am confident that citizens in our countries have noted the intense nature of the anniversary programme of cultural exchanges, which includes music festivals, cinema and theatre weeks, performances by various companies, and other events.

During the last quarter of a century, the Central Asian countries have become full-fledged participants in international life. They are making an important contribution to maintaining regional and global stability. Kazakhstan honourably represents a group of Asia-Pacific states as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, heading, among other things, the committees for sanctions against the Taliban, ISIS, and Al Qaeda, as well as a committee on Somalia and Eritrea. Astana’s role as an important international venue for efforts to settle the years-long bloody conflict in Syria has received broad recognition.

Dedicated to the problem of saving global water resources, Tajikistan’s initiative to declare the period from 2018 to 2028 an international decade of action “Water for Sustainable Development” has been approved by the UN General Assembly. A high-level regional security conference titled “Central Asia: One Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity” has been scheduled for November 10-11 in Samarkand.

The countries in the region are vigorously promoting international sports ties. In September, Ashgabat hosted the Fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games involving athletes from 64 Asian and Oceanian countries. By organising the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan makes a useful contribution to preserving the cultural heritage of the nomadic peoples.

We are pleased to state that our approaches to the main regional and global problems coincide or are very close. Russia is the leading partner for the Central Asian states in the military and military-technical area and renders support in opposing numerous security challenges and threats, including terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. This cooperation is pursued both on the bilateral basis and within the CSTO, the SCO and the CIS. Given the persisting instability in Afghanistan and an inflow of ISIS militants from Syria and Iraq, its build-up and improvement is of particular importance.

The record of the past 25 years has convincingly demonstrated the advantages of progressive integration in the post-Soviet space. We value the Central Asian states’ contribution to increasing the efficiency of the Commonwealth of Independent States as an authoritative international organisation. Today the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as its full-fledged members, is at the forefront of integration. The advantages of joining the EAEU, which boasts 182 million consumers and a GDP worth $2.2 trillion, are obvious. A single market for goods, services, capital and labour has been created. The EAEU interaction has largely mitigated the influence of the unfavourable world situation on the member economies. We regard the EAEU as one of the key elements in efforts to implement President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership, a multi-level integration model aimed at ensuring stable development in the continent, including Central Asia.

We look with optimism to the future of our relations based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and regard for each other’s interests. I am confident that their further intensification and expansion meet the core interests of our citizens and are called upon to facilitate the strengthening of peace, security and stability. Russia sincerely wants to see the region’s countries as prosperous and open to the broadest possible cooperation. I would like to use this opportunity to wish the peoples of the Central Asian countries happiness, prosperity and well-being.

Popular articles

20 October 2018

President Putin offers condolences to India over numerous...

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered condolences to India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the accident on rail...
03 October 2018

On October 4–5, Vladimir Putin will visit India

On October 4–5, the President of Russia will make an official visit to the Republic of India. During talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the...
20 September 2018

Second Eurasian Women’s Forum

Vladimir Putin attended the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum and addressed its plenary session. The Second Eurasian Women’s Forum is taking place between...
Emergency phone number only for the citizens of Russia in emergency in India +91-81-3030-0551
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi - 110021
(91-11) 2611-0640/41/42;
(91-11) 2687 38 02;
(91-11) 2687 37 99
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.