Valentina Matviyenko: Russia‒Tajikistan Inter-Parliamentary Commission is an efficient mechanism for developing bilateral cooperation instruments

Federation Council Speaker addressed the Commission on Cooperation between the Federation Council and the National Assembly of Tajikistan’s Parliament (Majlisi Milli of the Majlisi Oli).

The visit by a Tajikistani parliamentary delegation to Moscow indicates mutual interest in expanding and strengthening friendly relations between the two countries, Speaker Valentina Matviyenko stressed.

The Speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament opened the meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the Federation Council and the National Assembly of Tajikistan’s Parliament (Majlisi Milli of the Majlisi Oli).

The Speaker said she believes that during the period of global turbulence, escalation of regional conflicts and negative consequences of the pandemic, the role of parliamentary dialogue is only becoming more important.

Valentina Matviyenko said the inter-parliamentary commission is an efficient mechanism that can produce specific instruments of cooperation in many areas.

Speaking about economic cooperation, the Speaker noted that for the past several years, Russia has been Tajikistan’s biggest foreign trade partner. The Speaker believes that, considering the impact of the pandemic, it is currently important to focus on harmonising legislation supporting businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and joint ventures. “There must be a clear and irrevocable regulation that the two countries share to the maximum extent possible.”

Humanitarian cooperation, especially in culture, education and youth policy, is very significant for strengthening the partnership between Russia and Tajikistan, Valentina Matviyenko added. “If we fail to address youth issues, somebody else will take this niche, including radical groups. We must stay ahead and organise as many joint youth projects as possible.”

The Speaker said it is necessary to continue improving the regulatory framework and proposed synchronising the parliaments’ actions when it comes to ratifying bilateral documents.

Valentina Matviyenko supported system-wide coordination of efforts by Russian and Tajikistani legislators at international parliamentary platforms – in particular, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly and PACE.

The Speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament specifically noted cooperation within the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States. “If previously, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) drafted, in advance, reports on elections in the CIS countries containing serious criticism, now there is an alternative point of view represented by the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.”

The Speaker noted that Tajikistan announced the period between 2020 and 2040 as the 20 years of education and development of natural sciences and mathematics. She said she believes that this is yet another reason for members of the two countries’ parliaments to work together and discuss prospects for expanding a network of branches of Russian higher education institutions in Tajikistan, and exchange high technologies, including healthcare technologies.

Valentina Matviyenko mentioned events marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and stressed the significance of the Victory for all nations living in the post-Soviet space. “The legacy of the Great Patriotic War is the legacy of all humankind. But memory is short and some countries have seen a resurgence of neo-Nazism and newly emerging threats. Therefore, this topic must remain a constant throughout our entire relationship.”

The Speaker invited commission members to participate in preparations for the World Conference on Inter-Religious and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue planned for May 2022 in Russia. “The conference must be a high-level discussion,” she stressed and noted that the decisions produced by the conference will be of great worldwide significance.

Speaker of the Majlisi Milli of the Majlisi Oli of Tajikistan Rustami Emomali said that cooperation between the two parliaments within the commission has great potential for further consistent development.

He believes that supporting stronger cooperation in trade, the economy, science and technology, supporting contacts between business communities, harmonised legislation on foreign trade, customs and banking issues, and optimised relations in the area of labour migration are becoming common objectives for the two countries.

Ilyas Umakhanov, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and the co-chair of the Russian chapter of the Commission on Cooperation between the Federation Council and the National Assembly of Tajikistan’s Parliament, presented a brief review of the main vectors of the inter-parliamentary cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan.

As concerns the migration policy, the senator pointed out that several hundred thousand Tajikistani citizens currently working in Russia are making a significant contribution to Russia’s economic and social development. He noted that there are plans to completely reform the migration regime within the next few years.

According to Ilyas Umakhanov, the objectives of the reform include developing clear migration regulation, enhancing the level of security, including through a wider implementation of modern information technologies in the area of government services and state control. He added that parliament members must translate these objectives into balanced legislative decisions.

The commission will be a source of parliamentary assistance with and control over the legislative action towards harmonising the migration laws of Russia and Tajikistan.

The meeting also concerned preparations for the 7th Russia–Tajikistan: Interregional Cooperation Potential inter-parliamentary forum and the 9th meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the Federation Council and the National Assembly of Tajikistan’s Parliament.

Meeting participants discussed the cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan. Liliya Gumerova, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture, noted the success of the Russian Teacher Abroad project and reported that the number of project participants has increased from 29 in 2017 to 50 in the current academic year. The senator said that the cooperation of the two countries in vocational training and higher education is enjoying an equally productive development course.

In cultural affairs, Liliya Gumerova added that issues related to the preservation and development of folk crafts and trades remain topical. The senator suggested it would be beneficial to the countries to have positive experience and measures, including legislative action, to support regional brands and preserve cultural heritage.

Other participants in the meeting included Viktor Bondarev, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Defence and Security, Oleg Melnichenko, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs, Sergei Mitin, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Agriculture and Food Policy and Environmental Management, members of the commission and Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Farit Mukhametshin, Russian First Deputy Minister of Education Dmitry Glushko and Russian Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubkov.

The co-chairs signed the 2021 schedule and action plan for the Commission on Cooperation between the Federation Council and the National Assembly of Tajikistan’s Parliament.