President Emomali Rahmon, who is currently on a visit to St. Petersburg for participation in a CIS informal summit, yesterday met with his Russian counterpart  Vladimir Putin to discuss cooperation. 

The Kremlin says that in the course of the talks, Putin noted that last year, “we had a certain decline, as with almost all of our partners, in trade and economic relations: trade volumes fell by more than 15 percent.  But this year, we are seeing a 45-percent growth, so we are back to everything we lost last year, and even increased it.”

“Tajikistan is one of our most reliable, loyal and close allies. We have been developing our relations in all areas, including security.  The situation on the border with Afghanistan – we are in constant contact on that matter – causes alarm and concern.  These are objective circumstances, and I share your concern about it,” the Russian leader was cited as saying by the Kremlin.  .

He reportedly noted that Russia is actively working on improving Tajikistan’s defensive capacities.  “Based on our agreements, we recently shipped new weapons and other equipment to strengthen the country’s armed forces so that Tajikistan can efficiently resist any threats that come from the outside,” Putin said, noting that the Russian military base deployed in Tajikistan is still being developed and is one of the major security elements in the region.

Putin reportedly also drew Rahmon’s attention to development of the Russian language.  “Many people want to study Russian, and this is understandable because about a million people from Tajikistan live and work in Russia on a temporary basis.  In 2019, they sent an estimated US$1.8 billion back to Tajikistan. Last year, the number of workers decreased in connection with the pandemic, but about US$1.7 billion was sent back,” Russian president said, noting that Russian language courses are the best way to help people adapt so that they can work calmly and feel comfortable.

President Emomali Rahmon, for his part, reportedly noted that relations between Tajikistan and Russia are developing dynamically in all areas and Russia remains Tajikistan’s major trading and economic partner.  “This year’s trade volumes topped US$1 billion and increased 25 percent over 2020,” Rahmon said, according to the Kremlin. 

He further noted that Tajikistan and Russia cooperate closely on security matters and he is to discuss the state of Tajikistan-Russia relations and their prospects as well as international and regional issues being of mutual interest, while focusing on the Afghan problem.