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2022  N1-2(202-203)
This year is symbolical for Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation. It was 30 years ago that the two independent states established diplomatic relations. It marks a new stage in the development of the centuries-old ties between the Turkmen and Russian peoples.
It is fair to say that all these years the bilateral interstate relations have developed gradually on the basis of respect, equality and mutually benefit. Russia was the first country in the world to recognize Turkmenistan’s independence, and several years later it actively supported Turkmen neutrality at the United Nations, co-sponsoring a relevant resolution.
Turkmenistan and Russia have been demonstrating their strong and effective commitment to the principles of good neighborliness and close partnership, developing their relations on a long-term basis. They have not been influenced by any external developments. They have been built on the approaches understandable to both sides, relying on a solid historical foundation.
In recent years, bilateral cooperation has reached a qualitatively new level, primarily due to the political will of the leaders of Turkmenistan and Russia, their mutual commitment to the comprehensive strengthening of relations. The political and legal foundation for this was laid by the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by the President of Turkmenistan and President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin on 2 October 2017 in Ashgabat.
Russia and Turkmenistan fruitfully interact through various multilateral platforms, primarily the UN, OSCE, CIS and a number of other international bodies thanks to the convergence or similarity of their approaches to the key international and regional issues. Turkmenistan highly appreciates Russia’s position and role in strengthening stability and security in Central Asia and the Caspian basin, its significant contribution to achieving an atmosphere of trust and predictability in the region. Interaction between Ashgabat and Moscow on the Afghan track is an important factor for the stability of regional processes.
Cooperation between the two countries in the context of pandemic is a striking example of solidarity, mutual assistance and readiness to lend a shoulder in difficult times. In this difficult period, Turkmenistan and Russia showed the highest responsibility, a truly fraternal attitude towards each other. A good start has been made, positive experience of interaction has been gained, and today both sides continue partnership on a systematic long-term basis, promote close coordination of the relevant departments of Turkmenistan and Russia and permanent efficient channels for joint actions and decisions between them.
Despite the pandemic, trade and economic relations have been growing steadily, and consistent and significant increase in trade turnover has been reported.
Turkmenistan’s partnership with a number of regions of the Russian Federation has developed steadily, especially with the Republic of Tatarstan, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan region.
The further promotion of trade and economic relations is the priority area in bilateral relations. This refers to the transport and logistics component, namely the opening of a logistics center in Astrakhan and the Trade House of Turkmenistan in Kazan. In fact, there emerges a promising transport scheme along the Caspian Sea – Volga River route with access to the northern Russian ports and further to Europe. The Russian side expressed willingness to support the establishment of these facilities, finding partners for their effective functioning in the context of the tasks they are facing.
Dozens of big Russian companies operate in Turkmenistan, including KAMAZ and Vozrozhdenie that have long and well-established presence in the country. The promising joint projects in Turkmenistan include the construction and modernization of transport and logistics infrastructure, supply of Russian railway rolling stock, construction of rail car building and repair plants, a cement plant and production of multi-purpose ships.
The intensification of cooperation in the field of road and rail transport, fuel and energy complex, industry, agro-industrial complex, road transport infrastructure, aircraft and shipbuilding, metallurgy and geology will help to increase mutual trade in the near future.
Relations in the cultural and humanitarian sphere also demonstrate good results. Over 35000 Turkmen citizens study at the Russian higher education establishments. The exchange of Days of Culture has resumed. Last year, Days of Culture of Turkmenistan were successfully held in the city of Vladimir. A secondary school named after Magtymguly Fragi has been operating in the village of Funtovo of Astrakhan region since 2019.
There is a great respect in Turkmenistan for the rich and original culture of Russia and the Russian language. A joint Turkmen-Russian secondary school named after Pushkin has been operating in the country for many years. Compulsory teaching of the Russian language was introduced in all Turkmen schools. The Russian Drama Theater is operating. Educational, scientific and fiction literature in Russian is published on a regular basis.
There are 71 comprehensive schools in Turkmenistan with classes that have Russian as a language of instruction. Moreover, special educational school No. 21 started in the 2020 academic year in Ashgabat, in which teaching in both preschool and school classes is also conducted in Russian.
There is systematic interaction in the information sphere. In March 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the State Committee of Turkmenistan for Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography and the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK).
Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation maintain an open and lively dialogue. Ashgabat and Moscow offer constructive solutions to all issues of bilateral relations in the spirit of equality, mutual respect and trust. It is these concepts that characterize the meaning and scope of relations between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation. The key to their successful development is naturally the work of the two heads of state, their personal attention to strengthening cooperation. This approach makes it possible to look with optimism into the future of Turkmen-Russian relations, confidently make joint plans for long-term cooperation for the sake of peace, progress and well-being of the peoples of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation.
A number of social and political events were held in the Russian capital to mark the memorable date – the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. For example, the Turkmen exposition was an integral part of the exhibition of photographs and documents organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the CIS countries.
The official opening of the exhibition took place in the Grand Mansion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, attended by the heads of diplomatic missions of the CIS countries, high-ranking officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry and representatives of the international expert community. The exposition by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in the Russian Federation featured rare photographs and unique documents reflecting the wide palette of partnership between the two countries in all spheres of life, in which trade and economic cooperation and interstate contacts in the humanitarian sphere occupied the central place.
The higher diplomatic schools of Turkmenistan and Russia also held a virtual “round table” meeting on the occasion of the anniversary date – the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The online event between Moscow and Ashgabat brought together the heads of two higher education establishments – the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, experts and researchers, ambassadors of the CIS countries and other diplomats accredited in Russia, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.
Opening the video conference, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rector of MGIMO of the Russian Foreign Ministry Anatoly Torkunov noted that 17 students from Turkmenistan currently study at MGIMO. He expressed the hope that this number will increase.
Speaking at the virtual “round table”, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to the Russian Federation Batyr Niyazliev highlighted the main areas of interstate bilateral cooperation, especially the trade, economic, scientific and educational spheres.
Rector of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Dzhumamurat Gurbangeldiyev turned to the history of Turkmen-Russian relations that are not limited to the last three decades. Having made a short excursion into the 10th–11th centuries and connecting it by a dotted line with the 20th century, he came to the current state of relations based on the historical ties between the peoples of the two countries. According to the rector, the trends of the current period indicate that bilateral strategic cooperation will only expand.
The above events were an integral part of a series of thematic events dedicated to the official date that will be continued in the capital of Russia in the anniversary year.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005