FROM NEVA RIVER TO KARAKUM DESERT
Ashgabat hosted Days of St. Petersburg - a joint Turkmen-Russian activity - in in the final days of last autumn. It aimed at optimizing the regional cooperation between Turkmenistan and the largest industrial, business and cultural center of the Russian Federation. The activity was carried out jointly by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan and the Foreign Relations Committee of St. Petersburg.
The city on the Neva was represented in Ashgabat by an official delegation headed by the Chairman of the Committee on Law, Order and Security of the Government of St. Petersburg, Leonid Bogdanov. The delegation also included representatives of government agencies and businessmen, a number of large companies and research centers, public associations and well-known cultural figures.
The joint activity, which was rich in content, reflected the large-scale and promising dialogue established between the northern capital of Russia and Turkmenistan in recent years. Suffice it to recall a list of activities that took place in Ashgabat in the course of two days.
The official opening of Days of St. Petersburg took place in one of the business centers of the Turkmen capital on November 27. There was also held a business forum aimed at the further development of mutually beneficial partnership. The Turkmen side was represented by the officials of various ministries, including the ministries of economy and development, the oil and gas industry and mineral resources, energy, communications, industry, architecture and construction, trade and foreign economic relations, the state concerns, the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, the Academy of Sciences and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan.
The business forum confirmed that the interests of the guests from St. Petersburg remain in the economic, trade and transport sectors. These guests included long-time partners such as "Baltyyskaya Russkaya Energeticheskaya Companiya" and "Vozrozhdeniye" holdings, as well as "Novgorodstroyproekt", "Petrosoft", "Rosinzhiniringproekt", "Plastpolymer" companies, "Gazprommash" plant, "Institute InzhGazProekt". At the same time, they offered technologies for the oil and chemical industries, communal services, engineering and consulting services in construction of various industrial and public facilities, where St. Petersburg boasts sufficient experience. The efficiency of the business forum was reconfirmed during meetings at the line ministries and agencies, discussing the practical aspects of bilateral cooperation.
The versatility of the dialogue between Turkmenistan and the northern capital of Russia was evidenced by the humanitarian component of Days of St. Petersburg, which is an important aspect of the regional dialogue between Turkmenistan and the city on the Neva. The long lasting spiritual threads connecting citizens of Turkmenistan with residents of St. Petersburg are at the heart of the humanitarian contacts. They lie in the common history, in the present day and the future of our cities. The libraries, research centers and museum exhibitions of St. Petersburg - the Museum City - store the genuine treasures of world culture, including priceless artifacts evidencing the ancient culture of the Turkmen people. Citizens of Turkmenistan also rightly believe that they are connected to the glorious and heroic history of St. Petersburg. As is known, many natives of Turkmenistan fought shoulder to shoulder with the brave defenders of besieged Leningrad. Ashgabat provided refuge to many residents of the city, who survived the grim years of war in Turkmenistan.
As part of the agreement on economic, scientific and cultural cooperation between the governments of Turkmenistan and St Petersburg, there is now an active exchange of cultural events, joint international scientific forums and trade fairs, as well as exchanges of delegations at various levels. The year of 2014 witnessed an event dedicated to the 290th anniversary of Magtymguly in St. Petersburg that was attended by the delegation of Turkmenistan. The connoisseurs of Turkmen poetry also enjoyed other significant events such as the presentation of the new collection of poems by Magtymguly at the Russian Ethnographic Museum as well as a unique exhibition of Turkmen manuscripts, including manuscripts by Magtymguly, stored at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The visits by St. Petersburg's delegation to the Turkmen-Russian secondary school named after Alexander Pushkin and the Turkmen City of Science - Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan - in the framework of Days of St. Petersburg in Turkmenistan aimed at strengthening cooperation in the sphere of science and education.
The cultural program of Days of St. Petersburg in Turkmenistan also featured the successful concerts of popular singers of the cultural capital of Russia - Galina Sidorenko and Anatoly Dichkovskiy - at the Palace of Mukams of the State Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan and the Concert Centre "Watan."
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Days of St. Petersburg in Turkmenistan, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of St. Petersburg Sergei Markov stressed the importance of this activity, which is intended to identify new priorities and areas in development of bilateral trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, and expand the scope of relations of Turkmenistan and St Petersburg in the entire range of partnership.
The brevity of the two-day action and its expressly business-like spirit were complemented with the warmth of companionship, which is inherent in the relationship of citizens of Turkmenistan and residents of St. Petersburg. During the visit to the Turkmen-Russian secondary school named. A.S. Pushkin, the guests saw the capacities of the joint educational establishment with Russian standards of education and textbooks. The school's library received new books as a gift from the delegation of St. Petersburg. During the meeting, the sides expressed interest in expanding contacts in the field of education. According to the head of the delegation, "together with the government of Turkmenistan we wish to increase the number of Turkmen students studying in St. Petersburg."
The issue relating to cooperation in the field of professional training and development of useful contacts between the research centers of Turkmenistan and the largest cultural and scientific innovation center of the Russian Federation was raised during the visit by the St. Petersburg delegation to the Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, which was established in the summer of 2014.
Days of St. Petersburg in Turkmenistan finished with a charming musical performance. The concert program included the Russian and foreign classical music, folk tunes and songs. The honored artists of Russia, Galina Sidorenko (mezzo-soprano) and Anatoly Dichkovsky (baritone), demonstrated their magnificent vocal skills. The artists of the Mariinsky Theater, performing famous arias, Russian romances and songs, plunged the audience into the atmosphere of the cultural capital of Russia that deservedly continues the tradition of the great poets, composers and musicians who worked in this city.
Despite the classical nature of the music evening, many Ashgabat residents, including young people, came to the concert to get in touch with the representatives of the St. Petersburg school of music and vocal art. And this is the best evidence of the success of the joint activity that was designed to strengthen and develop our business contacts and spiritual connection in the name of good and peaceful relations between people and their sincere friendship.