Experts under "Rooftop of the World"
Tajikistan's amazing mountain landscape Gorno-Badakhshan is called the "rooftop of the world". On the north, this autonomous region borders with Kyrgyzstan, in the east - with China, in the south and west - with Afghanistan. Residents of this area speak several languages and dialects, associated with Pamir language group. "Rooftop of the world" has always been a difficult place to reach, but recently Russian and Tajik experts decided to make it more accessible. Several days ago, a presentation of the "Pamir Club" dialogue platform, created to develop ties between Russian regions and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan, was held in Moscow.
Head of administration for CIS affairs of Rossotrudnichestvo, Sergey Malenko, said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza that expert community pays close attendtion to all the projects that Russia implements together with Tajikistan: "Our agency does a lot to implement educational projects as well as various humanitarian initiatives. We held a presentation this year and we will hold an official opening of our branch office in Khujand in November. In addition to Sughd Region, we also discuss further cooperation with Gorno-Badakhshan. We already have several agreements on educational projects with a number of universities of Tajikistan. Participation of our Tajik colleagues in implementation of other joint projects, including in the innovation sphere, is also important. In this sense, the "Pamir Club" platform is great for discussion of such initiatives, which can later be implemented as projects that will be financed."
Associate professor of the post-Soviet countries department of the Russian State University for the Humanities, Alexander Gushin, believes that the initiative to create "Pamir Club" appeared at a right time: "We get a lot of instruments of humanitarian cooperation with Tajikistan. We often hear that Russia has certain shortcomings in terms of building humanitarian policy, educational policy, cooperation in the field of culture. I think the initiative to create the "Pamir Club" is one of examples of the fact that there is a serious progress in this direction. We often hear criticism of certain shortcomings, but don't notice positive things. I believe it's great that not only such platform was created, but also that it can bring informational background if its functioning will besuccessful."
Head of the Eurasian Analytical Club, Nikita Mendkovich, believes that one of the main tasks of this new platform should be support of the Russian language: "Russian TV channels is the main source for learning Russian in the regions of Central Asian countries. For objective reasons, the quality of teaching, especially in local rural schools, declines every year. Even older generation, which has experience of living in central Russia, begins to feel the language barrier. They know this language, but due to lack of regular practice the demand for it declines. We need to work with schools. There are such projects in Tajikistan, as far as I know. They receive Russian-language textbooks, teachers that know Russian travel there. Such projects are partly sponsored by the Russian side. These are important initiatives."
Senior researcher at the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Zarina Dadabaeva, said that agreements on mutual cooperation have already been signed between more than 70 regions of the Russian Federation and Tajikistan: "On paper, aroung 80 joint ventures should operate in Tajikistan, but according to the Tajikistan's Statistics Agency there are only 38... Nevertheless, our relations are developing. Despite the fact that China invests a huge amount of money and became the biggest investor, people of Tajikistan are still attracted to Russia. We can discuss creation of such platforms as the Pamir Club with other regions."