Federation Council Speaker: Inter-parliamentary cooperation vital for the further development of Russian-Tajikistani relations

The Federation Council has held the sixth inter-parliamentary forum, Russia and Tajikistan: The Potential of Interregional Cooperation.

The Federation Council has held a plenary meeting of the sixth inter-parliamentary forum, Russia and Tajikistan: The Potential of Interregional Cooperation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon sent greetings to forum participants and guests.

Vladimir Putin wrote in his message that Russian-Tajikistani relations were developing dynamically in the spirit of alliance and strategic partnership. He also expressed the hope that MPs in Russia and Tajikistan would hold productive discussions on interregional cooperation and propose new and promising forms of interaction.

Emomali Rahmon pointed out that the two countries’ MPs played an increasingly important role in the system of Russian-Tajikistani ties by proposing novel forms of interaction.

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko reminded the audience that during his visit to Dushanbe President Vladimir Putin spoke about the friendly and time-tested ties that unite Russia and Tajikistan. “Our countries hold an uninterrupted political dialogue, largely thanks to the contribution of the Russian and Tajikistani leaders,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

She also mentioned the productive work of the Intergovernmental Commission, growing economic ties, the constructive relationship in security and growing cultural cooperation.

“Russia is a major foreign economic partner for Tajikistan. Bilateral trade has been growing exponentially and was over $620 million in January through August of this year. This is some 30 percent more than in the same period of last year. Imports from Tajikistan have grown nearly fourfold,” the Speaker said.

Valentina Matviyenko believes that now is a good time not only to enhance mutual trade, but also to diversify it. “The striving for innovation and development is the gauge of success in this world. We must find ways to broaden our interaction,” she said.

The Federation Council Speaker emphasised the importance of the inter-parliamentary forum for the strengthening of allied relations between Russia and Tajikistan. “For the past 12 years, the forum has contributed to a direct and open dialogue between our countries’ regions and members of parliament. We see time and again that interregional ties are a unique and, in fact, limitless resource for bilateral relations,” Valentina Matviyenko said. Some 70 Russian regions are cooperating with Tajikistan now. The leaders in this area are Moscow, the Altai, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk and Perm territories and the Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Orenburg, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Moscow regions.

Valentina Matviyenko added that these relations were developing within the framework of over 70 interregional projects and agreements. For example, Trolza, the trolleybus manufacturer based in Saratov, opened an assembly line in Dushanbe some years ago. “Our export and investment support agencies, specifically the Russian Export Centre, can play a vital role in the implementation of joint interregional projects,” she said.

The Federation Council Speaker pointed out that Russia and Tajikistan regularly hold events on interregional issues, such as the Conference on Interregional Cooperation, which is co-organised by the two countries’ concerned ministries. It was held in Dushanbe this year and focused on the impact of interregional cooperation on business activity.

According to Valentina Matviyenko, agricultural cooperation holds pride of place in bilateral relations. “Tajikistan is known for its top grade, delicious and, even more important, ecologically safe fruit and vegetables. Regrettably, there is not enough of it in Russian stores, but this is mostly because of inadequate logistics infrastructure,” she said.

The Federation Council Speaker called for further discussions on the creation of wholesale distribution centres in Tajikistan for expediting and improving the delivery of Tajikistani foods to Russia. “In addition, we plan to discuss a simplified procedure for agricultural deliveries from Tajikistan and the creation of effective financial instruments for mutual settlements in our national currencies,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

She also highlighted the importance of migration policies. The money that several hundred thousand Tajikistani citizens working in Russia send back home make up about a third of Tajikistan’s GDP. The Intergovernmental Commission has launched a discussion on easing migration procedures at the initiative of Tajikistan. “We are willing to hold a detailed discussion on mutually beneficial terms. Russia is interested in levelling the regional disproportions in labour migration, which can be done primarily if we take into account the Russian regions’ real manpower requirements,” she said.

The Federation Council Speaker believes that the mechanisms for the orderly recruitment of immigrant workers and their professional training in Tajikistan must be upgraded. And finally, there must be a social and cultural adaptation programme for migrants and their children. “We should make use of parliamentary mechanism to draft well-considered and balanced legislation,” Valentina Matviyenko said. 

She said she believes that Tajikistan’s involvement in Eurasian economic integration would create new opportunities in migration and other areas of bilateral economic cooperation.

Valentina Matviyenko recalled that cross-culture days were held in Russia and Tajikistan this autumn. “We must not only keep up the deep cultural and humanitarian ties between our countries but also advance them to a new level. We call for promoting interaction in education. The use of Russian tuition programmes and standards at Tajikistani schools has brought good results,” she said.

The Federation Council Speaker praised the idea of sending teachers from Russian regions to Tajikistan as a unique humanitarian project. Over 50 Russian professionals are teaching the Russian language, literature, physics, chemistry and other subjects to Tajik children at schools in Dushanbe, Hisor and Kulob.

She said the forum participants also talked about economic cooperation, cultural ties and migration policies. A digest of the forum’s results will be included in its final document. “Inter-parliamentary cooperation has always been a vital part of cooperation between our states and a major resource for the further development of our relationship. We will continue to promote the Commission on Cooperation between the Federation Council and the National Assembly (Majlisi milli of the Majlisi Oli) of Tajikistan,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

She supported the initiative on holding commission meetings in Russian and Tajikistani regions.

Chair of the Majlisi milli Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev said in his address that Tajikistani-Russian relations were rooted in history and had always been exceptionally friendly and constructive.

He said that inter-parliamentary cooperation was becoming a crucial element of state-to-state interaction in regional integration issues around the world. “The Inter-Parliamentary Forum of Russia and Tajikistan is becoming a powerful tool for promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and coordinating the vital interests of our countries, as well as a reliable foundation of relations between our countries,” Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev said.

He pointed out that the forum’s agenda comprised a broad range of issues related to bilateral cooperation. “This will undoubtedly promote integration and will help make better use of the potential of our countries’ multifaceted interaction,” the Tajikistani Speaker said.

Russia and Tajikistan are linked by friendly partner relations, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Russia Anton Siluanov said in his address. He focused on the importance of further promoting interregional cooperation, pointing out the continued development of cultural ties between the Russian and Tajikistani regions. Anton Siluanov said he hoped forum participants would hold a productive dialogue and exchange experience to help achieve their goals and to expand multifaceted mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

Other speakers at the forum were Education Minister of Russia Olga Vasilyeva, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan Nematullo Khikmatullozoda, Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Tajikistan Shavkat Bobozoda, State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Grigory Karasin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Saidzoda Zohir Ozod, Kemerovo Region Governor Sergei Tsivilev, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin, and other officials.