Gen­uine Friend­ship Ma­tures with Time

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - UZBEKISTAN – RUSSIA -

“Per­haps, with none of the Cen­tral Asian states did Rus­sia ex­pe­ri­ence such dif­fi­cul­ties in build­ing strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion as with Uzbek­istan.” Com­ments like this in the Rus­sian me­dia had been a fre­quent in­ci­dence un­til re­cently. But there were those who would find quite rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tions to those ‘dif­fi­cul­ties’. Alexan­der Ko­zlovsky, who in 2011 held the post of deputy chair­man of the State Duma Com­mit­tee on In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs, was among them. He noted back then that “for the time be­ing, Rus­sian busi­ness can­not in­ter­est Uzbek­istan – and one won’t be nice by co­er­cion. We can quickly start work­ing to­gether, but for this we need to be re­ally in­ter­est­ing and com­pet­i­tive… In re­la­tions with Uzbek­istan, Moscow does not need to force events for­ward... They have... some­thing ripen­ing, and this should be treated with calm.”

Well, judg­ing by the stag­ger­ing re­sults of the Oc­to­ber visit of Pres­i­dent Putin to Uzbek­istan, it turns out it has ripened. But what does the ex­pert com­mu­nity think about this? Alexei Kus­tov, Chief Re­search Fel­low at the In­sti­tute of Strate­gic and Re­gional Stud­ies un­der the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, has agreed to share his opin­ion on the mat­ter with our read­ers.

“Yes, in­deed, the ef­fec­tive co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Tashkent and Moscow over the past two years has made it pos­si­ble to make se­ri­ous achieve­ments in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. “Thanks to joint ef­forts, our part­ner­ship has reached a qual­i­ta­tively new level and is de­vel­op­ing dy­nam­i­cally in all di­rec­tions,” the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan said at a meet­ing with Putin.

“How­ever, in my opin­ion, the meet­ing held in Tashkent was not just a log­i­cal con­tin­u­a­tion of reg­u­lar con­tacts at the high­est level. It was some­thing more; as a rule, such a con­struc­tive po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue, but at the same time sin­cere one, the one based on mu­tual trust, con­trib­utes to the de­vel­op­ment of gen­uinely friendly re­la­tions for the longer term. Rec­og­niz­ing this fact, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin noted the re­li­a­bil­ity of Uzbek­istan as an ally of Rus­sia.”

“I think they did. Since at the meet­ing be­tween the Uzbek and Rus­sian lead­ers, there was a fairly frank ex­change of views on the co­or­di­na­tion of joint mea­sures to counter ter­ror­ism, ex­trem­ism, and es­pe­cially among the youth. As Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziy­oyev and Pres­i­dent of Rus­sia Vladimir Putin noted, en­hanc­ing the se­cu­rity part­ner­ship based on the prin­ci­ples of mu­tual trust and ac­count of each other’s in­ter­ests will help jointly tackle the tasks of coun­ter­ing new chal­lenges and threats in Cen­tral Asia. At the same time, both sides ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the process of peace­ful re­con­struc­tion of Afghanistan should be car­ried out only by the Afghans them­selves. The heads of the two states noted pos­i­tive trends in the de­vel­op­ment of mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial and ef­fec­tive re­gional co­op­er­a­tion in Cen­tral Asia.

“By the way, I would like to note that Rus­sian ex­perts also highly ap­pre­ci­ated this visit. For ex­am­ple, An­drei Kazant­sev, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Cen­tral Asia and Afghanistan at the MGIMO In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, who be­lieves that within a short pe­riod of time both coun­tries made a break­through in de­vel­op­ing their re­la­tions, “Uzbek­istan is the cen­tral coun­try of the re­gion. In terms of ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion and pop­u­la­tion it is the piv­otal state. For Rus­sia, it is im­por­tant to main­tain good ties with Uzbek­istan. Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev, in turn, did a lot to im­prove the Rus­sian-Uzbek re­la­tions.”

“I be­lieve we can con­fi­dently talk about a new growth point to­day. Judge for your­self: Uzbek­istan and Rus­sia reaf­firmed a strong com­mit­ment to the course taken to in­crease the vol­ume and di­ver­sify the range of com­mod­ity turnover, co­op­er­a­tion de­vel­op­ment among man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ter­prises. In par­tic­u­lar, at present, Rus­sian in­vest­ments in Uzbek­istan’s econ­omy al­ready ex­ceed $ 8.5 bil­lion.

“More­over, this year alone, ac­cord­ing to econ­o­mists, the bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries will reach $ 6 bil­lion. This fig­ure ex­ceeds the pre­vi­ously des­ig­nated plans. As Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev noted, reach­ing the level of $ 10 bil­lion is be­com­ing a pri­or­ity for the com­ing years. In this re­gard, Uzbek­istan in­tends to take steps to fur­ther in­crease mu­tual trade. The to­tal amount of doc­u­ments signed in the frame­work of the visit in the trade, eco­nomic and in­vest­ment ar­eas worth $ 27 bil­lion should form a solid foun­da­tion for achiev­ing this ob­jec­tive.

“To this end, the pres­i­dents of the two states agreed to es­tab­lish a joint com­mis­sion at the level of the heads of gov­ern­ment of Uzbek­istan and Rus­sia. It will be en­trusted with co­or­di­nat­ing ef­forts to fur­ther in­crease the vol­ume of bi­lat­eral trade, cre­ate con­di­tions for ex­pand­ing mu­tual ex­portim­port op­er­a­tions, es­pe­cially re­lated to the sup­ply of prod­ucts with a high de­gree of pro­cess­ing, as well as to re­move customs and non-customs bar­ri­ers in UzbekRus­sian trade on a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial ba­sis.

“Yes, it is, after all, the open­ing of this di­rec­tion in the co­op­er­a­tion with the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion forms a new clus­ter, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of which will fur­ther de­velop the in­dus­trial po­ten­tial and cre­ate jobs in var­i­ous sec­tors of the coun­try’s econ­omy. In essence, this project marks the for­ma­tion of a high-tech in­dus­try in the repub­lic. Ac­cord­ing to Nabi Ziyadul­layev, chief re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Mar­ket Is­sues of the Rus­sian Academy of Sci­ences, the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziy­oyev set the task of re­viv­ing the nu­clear in­dus­try in Uzbek­istan. “In Soviet times, in Tashkent, the In­sti­tute of Nu­clear Physics was one of the lead­ing ones. Now Moscow will as­sist in its restora­tion.”

“The de­ci­sion to choose Rus­sia as a part­ner in this area is not ac­ci­den­tal. Rosatom Cor­po­ra­tion

“Many ex­perts, pre­dict­ing the sub­stance of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, placed se­cu­rity is­sues at the cen­ter, where the po­si­tions and ap­proaches of the two coun­tries, de­spite their own in­ter­ests, still have com­mon points, which are ab­so­lutely the same for both Moscow and Tashkent. In other words, both coun­tries ul­ti­mately want one thing – peace. In your opin­ion, did these pre­dic­tions come true?

“The prac­ti­cal achieve­ments of Tashkent talks have been in the fo­cus of at­ten­tion of in­ter­na­tional ob­servers. In their eval­u­a­tions, the

visit brought about a new point of growth in the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two states. Do you agree with this ar­gu­ment or do you think that one should not hurry with such con­clu­sions?”

“The start of the con­struc­tion of nu­clear power plant is the most im­por­tant project for Uzbek­istan, which has made it pos­si­ble to sup­ple­ment the strate­gic ties be­tween the two coun­tries with a new di­rec­tion...”

“Why was the choice made with Rus­sia?”

to­day ranks first in the world in the num­ber and scale of over­seas projects – 34 power units in 12 coun­tries. The atomic en­ergy of the new­est gen­er­a­tion 3+ units is en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. Thus, two NPP power units will en­sure the pro­duc­tion of in­ex­pen­sive and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly elec­tric­ity, which will con­trib­ute to the en­ergy sta­bil­ity of not only Uzbek­istan, but also the en­tire Cen­tral Asian re­gion.

“I am sure that it is also very good, and here, the fig­ures speak for them­selves: the re­sult of the work of the first In­ter­re­gional Fo­rum in Tashkent was co­op­er­a­tion projects for more than $ 2 bil­lion. Agree­ments were reached on open­ing more than 70 joint ven­tures in Uzbek­istan. At the same time, Rost­sel­mash, KamAZ, Euro­ce­ment and other Rus­sian com­pa­nies are ex­pand­ing their in­ter­ac­tion with Uzbek­istan. The Rus­sian com­pany Prom­trac­tor agreed with Uzbek­istan on the re­lease of trac­tors and heavy ma­chin­ery in the repub­lic. The is­sue of start­ing the assem­bly of cars of the Ulyanovsk Au­to­mo­bile Plant in Uzbek­istan is also be­ing dis­cussed.

“This re­sult was made pos­si­ble by the de­vel­op­ment of re­la­tions at the re­gional level be­tween Uzbek­istan and Rus­sia. To date, more than 40 re­cip­ro­cal vis­its have al­ready been or­ga­nized. In par­tic­u­lar, in the last two months of this year alone, heads of all re­gions of our coun­try vis­ited 26 con­stituent en­ti­ties of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion.

“The es­tab­lish­ment of di­rect in­ter­ac­tion of Uzbek com­pa­nies with Rus­sian re­gions is of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance in the light of the pos­si­bil­i­ties of strength­en­ing both ex­ist­ing and cre­at­ing new pro­duc­tion chains. With­out this, the economies of both coun­tries are largely un­der-per­form­ing the so­cio-eco­nomic bonuses of com­mod­ity pro­duc­tion. The grow­ing mu­tual ef­forts of the two coun­tries to cre­ate joint high-tech in­dus­tries will ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion for the pro­duc­tion of mar­ketable prod­ucts in order to ex­plore third mar­kets.

“Tak­ing into ac­count the im­por­tance of this fac­tor, the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan pro­posed to hold in­ter­re­gional fo­rums on an an­nual ba­sis. This will make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to strength­en­ing ties be­tween our coun­tries and will play an im­por­tant role in the de­vel­op­ment of trade and eco­nomic re­la­tions.”

“Yes, in­deed, to­day, more than ever, there is a mu­tual need in the max­i­mum har­mo­niza­tion and in­te­gra­tion of the ed­u­ca­tional space of Rus­sia and Uzbek­istan, which is in the in­ter­ests of the most com­plete re­al­iza­tion of the in­tel­lec­tual and cre­ative po­ten­tial of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of cit­i­zens of our states. The first UzbekRus­sian ed­u­ca­tional fo­rum “New Spe­cial­ists for a New Econ­omy” was ded­i­cated to these good goals. The event at­tracted 80 man­agers of lead­ing Rus­sian uni­ver­si­ties. As a re­sult, branches of a num­ber of prom­i­nent higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions of Rus­sia will work in Uzbek­istan.

“It is im­por­tant to em­pha­size that thanks to the ef­forts of the lead­er­ship of Uzbek­istan and the at­ten­tion paid to all these pro­cesses by Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev, the pos­si­bil­i­ties for de­vel­op­ing the ca­pac­i­ties of the na­tional re­search in­fras­truc­ture have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly. A branch of the Moscow In­sti­tute of Steel and Al­loys was opened in the city of Al­ma­lyk to re­ceive high-qual­ity Rus­sian ed­u­ca­tion in Uzbek­istan. A branch of the G.Plekhanov Rus­sian Eco­nomic Univer­sity: the univer­sity has cre­ated a mod­ern ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ment that in­cludes in­no­va­tive el­e­ments of the so­called ‘smart univer­sity’ in­no­va­tion – “smart in­fras­truc­ture”, which in­cludes elec­tronic li­brary and read­ing room sys­tems, elec­tronic doc­u­ment man­age­ment, we­bi­nar and con­fer­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems.

“Ac­cord­ing to Gevorg Mirza­yan, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor at the Depart­ment of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence at the Rus­sian Fi­nan­cial Univer­sity, the at­ten­tion paid by the au­thor­i­ties of both coun­tries to this field is not in vain. “Ed­u­ca­tion gives not only knowl­edge, but forms rea­son­ing, a pic­ture of the world. The more young Uzbeks will be trained by Rus­sian stan­dards and within the frame­work of Rus­sian rea­son­ing, the deeper they will un­der­stand Rus­sia.

In ad­di­tion to branches of Moscow State Univer­sity, Rus­sian Eco­nomic Univer­sity, Rus­sian State Univer­sity of Oil and Gas, suc­cess­fully op­er­at­ing in the cap­i­tal of our coun­try, it is planned to open branches of MGIMO, Na­tional Re­search Nu­clear Univer­sity “MIFI”, All-Rus­sian State In­sti­tute of Cine­matog­ra­phy, Moscow Power En­gi­neer­ing In­sti­tute, tech­no­log­i­cal univer­sity. This in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of co­op­er­a­tion in the field of sci­ence has made it pos­si­ble to reach agree­ment on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a joint project to cre­ate a su­per-pow­er­ful ra­dio te­le­scope on the Suffa Plateau in the Jiz­zakh re­gion.

“Quite pos­si­bly. For the pur­poses of a wor­thy cel­e­bra­tion in Uzbek­istan of the 75th an­niver­sary of the Great Vic­tory, it is planned to de­velop a spe­cial pro­gram and cre­ate a Vic­tory Park Com­plex in Tashkent within its frame­work. More­over, Uzbek­istan is plan­ning to pub­lish a 100-vol­ume col­lec­tion “Mas­ter­pieces of Rus­sian Clas­sics”.

“In ad­di­tion, it is nec­es­sary to note the hold­ing of the first me­dia fo­rum in the his­tory of the UzbekRus­sian re­la­tions. This project has helped to sig­nif­i­cantly ex­pand the Rus­sian pub­lic’s aware­ness of the his­tory and cul­ture of Uzbek­istan, im­prove the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of Uzbek tele­vi­sion and ra­dio broad­cast­ing spe­cial­ists, and in par­tic­u­lar, study the ex­pe­ri­ence of lead­ing Rus­sian tele­vi­sion and ra­dio com­pa­nies in the pro­duc­tion of in­for­ma­tion and an­a­lyt­i­cal pro­grams.

“In gen­eral, the above ex­am­ples show the in­ex­haustible trade and eco­nomic, sci­en­tific, cul­tural and hu­man­i­tar­ian po­ten­tial. This was voiced by Alexan­der Vorobyov, se­nior re­searcher at the Cen­ter for the Study of the Cau­ca­sus, Cen­tral Asia and the Volga Re­gion at the In­sti­tute of Ori­en­tal Stud­ies un­der the Rus­sian Academy of Sci­ences. In his opin­ion, the sig­nif­i­cance of Uzbek­istan for Rus­sia will only in­crease. “The pre­vi­ously un­re­al­ized po­ten­tial of in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Moscow and Tashkent is deep­en­ing on all fronts: in econ­omy, se­cu­rity, and, of course, hu­man­i­tar­ian ties. This is helped by the fact that co­op­er­a­tion is not lim­ited to any in­sti­tu­tional frame­work, for­mats, but is based on a bi­lat­eral ba­sis. We should ex­pect fur­ther en­hance­ment of these com­plex bonds, since it is ben­e­fi­cial for both Rus­sia and Uzbek­istan.”

““This is both a use­ful and very promis­ing area of co­op­er­a­tion,” as Vladimir Putin de­scribed the ex­ten­sive re­la­tions at the re­gional level. We know that Rus­sia has in­ter­re­gional for­mats of in­ter­ac­tion with a num­ber of coun­tries and this mech­a­nism has proven it­self very well in prac­tice. How, in your opin­ion, will the Rus­sian-Uzbek Fo­rum of Re­gions rec­om­mend it­self?”

“Do you think that, amid the on­go­ing tec­tonic changes in eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, the de­vel­op­ment of hu­man­i­tar­ian ties is of great im­por­tance?”

“Prob­a­bly, cul­tural in­ter­ac­tion will re­plen­ish with new di­rec­tions, too?”

Alexei Kus­tov

An­drei Kazant­sev

Nabi Ziyadul­layev

Alexan­der Vorobyov

Gevorg Mirza­yan

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