Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and Russia’s Sverdlovsk Oblast have signed a cooperation agreement.

The document was inked Dushanbe by GBAO governor Alisher Mirzonabot and Sverdlovsk governor Yevgeny Kuivashev on November 28 during a visit of Sverdlovsk delegation to Tajikistan.     

The press center of the Sverdlovsk oblast government says the parties intend to create favorable conditions for collaboration in areas like industry, education and tourism as well as in training of highly qualified personnel.    

“First of all, we are talking about interaction in industry.  But development of industry is impossible without development of education, without training of personnel,” Kuivashev said, noting that “they are now setting a goal to make Yekaterinburg the student capital of Russia.”  

“I am sure this will open up great opportunities not only for Russian youth, but also for citizens of Tajikistan,” Sverdlovsk governor said. 

The governors of the regions reportedly also discussed the delivery of equipment from Ural to Tajikistan for geological exploration, energy sector and modernization of transport infrastructure.  

They also discussed issues related to development of tourism.  Mr. Kuivashev said that the Sverdlovsk oblast is ready to receive guests within the framework of programs of business, industrial and health tourism, and Mr. Mirzonabot briefed him “on opportunities for active and ecological recreation in Gorno Badakhshan.”  

GBAO governor reportedly noted that the region is the region is attractive for tourists due to its mountains, glaciers, lakes and thermal springs.

The parties also exchanged views on investing in mountaineering, ecotourism, caravanning and routes along the Great Silk Road, as well as opportunities for training of highly qualified specialists, including teachers, at the Ural State Pedagogical University, said the press center of the Sverdlovsk oblast government.  

The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region, or GBAO, is an autonomous region in southeastern Tajikistan, in the Pamir Mountains.  It makes up nearly forty-five percent of the country's land area but only two percent of its population.   

GBAO is home to a number of distinct languages and dialects of the Pamir languages group. The Pamiri language speakers represented in GBAO are speakers of Shughni, Rushani, Yazgulyami, Wakhi, and Ishkashimi.  The people of this region have a rich cultural heritage and they have preserved unique ancient forms of music, poetry, and dance.

Among all regions of Tajikistan, Gorno-Badakhshan is the most ruralized. Here, 86.7% of the population lives in rural areas and only 13.3% in urban settlements.

The region is rich in natural resources, but its economy depends on agriculture and mining.  Tourism is a growing sector in Gorno-Badakhshan, with its breathtaking natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. However, the lack of infrastructure, transportation, and promotion of the region as a tourist destination hinders its potential growth.

Sverdlovsk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia located in the Ural Federal District.  Its administrative center is the city of Yekaterinburg, formerly known as Sverdlovsk.  Rich in natural resources, the oblast is especially famous for metals (iron, copper, gold, and platinum), minerals (asbestos, gemstones, and talcum), marble and coal.   

The region's industries are quite diverse.  12% of Russia's iron and steel industry is still concentrated in Sverdlovsk oblast.  Iron and copper are mined and processed here, the logging industry and wood-processing are important, too.

The largest companies in the region include Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, UralVagonZavod, Enel Russia, Nizhniy Tagil Iron and Steel Works, Federal Freight.

The most important institutions of higher education include Ural Federal University, Ural State Medical University, Ural State University of Economics, Ural State Law University, Ural State Mining University and Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts, all located in the capital Yekaterinburg.