Lukashenko and Putin called Rakhmon to Eurasian Economic Union
The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Tajikistan met in Minsk to discuss cooperation in the framework of bilateral relations, as well as in the context of regional and international organizations - the CIS, CSTO and others - the press service of the President of Tajikistan reported. By ‘others’, according to experts, the Eurasian Economic Union is meant.
Yesterday, on June 30, Emomali Rakhmon, during his official visit to Belarus and at the invitation of Alexander Lukashenko, took part in the closing ceremony of the 2nd European Games at the Dynamo National Olympic Stadium. He also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to official information, the heads of the three states discussed cooperation in the framework of regional organizations.
An expert on Tajikistan, Andrei Zakhvatov, noted that last year Putin did not deign to host separately five ‘non-Kremlin’ governors. On December 27, he met with all of them at once. But he already met with the President of Tajikistan three times. “There has not been such an intensity of personal meetings between the presidents of Tajikistan and Russia before. Only in the second half of June, Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rakhmon met three times - in Bishkek, Dushanbe and Minsk. However, the intensity of contacts does not affect the expansion of economic ties - in the first quarter of 2019, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to slightly more than $ 167 mln or decreased by 19.30% compared to the same period in 2018, ”Andrei Zakhvatov told Vestnik Kavkaza. According to the expert, despite the biannual forums on interregional cooperation between Tajikistan and Russia, there have been no significant Russian investments in Tajikistan in recent years. There is a lot of talk on the construction of five schools that Russia intends to build in the country of a strategic ally, and about three dozen Russian teachers working in the country, but one cannot call them the major achievements.
Experts note that growing cooperation is seen only in the military and military-technical sphere. "Of course, Dushanbe wants to re-equip the armed forces with the latest Russian weapons, especially on the border with Afghanistan," Tajik political scientist Nurali Davlatov told Vestnik Kavkaza. In the framework of the agreement on the deployment of the 201st Russian military base (RMB), Russia supplies weapons to Tajikistan. In particular, in 2017, according to the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Dushanbe Igor Lyakin-Frolov, Russia supplied equipment - tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, artillery - worth of $ 120 mln. Last year a lot of communication surveillance equipment, small arms as well as a large amount of ammunition was delivered to the country. "In the near future, it is planned to strengthen the 201st RMB with the UAV battalion, which will increase the combat capabilities of the base for conducting reconnaissance and adjusting the fire of artillery and tank units," Lyakin-Frolov told RIA Novosti earlier.
Tajikistan has more favorable trade and economic relations with Belarus after the Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed on June 28. "Among the potential mutually beneficial areas is cooperation in agriculture and industry. For 30 years, until the early 1990s, Tajikistan was known as a manufacturer of reliable Pamir refrigerators, which still work in many households. During the 1990 civil war, the plant ceased to exist, and if the Uzbek investors, who have declared their intention to build a workshop for the production of refrigerators in Dushanbe, do not cope with this task, then Tajikistan can make an offer to Belarusians.
Emomali Rakhmon during his visit to Belarus examined closely the activities of the Minsk Tractor Plant. "During familiarization with the company's tractors, he expressed the readiness of Tajikistan to establish joint ventures in the republic and to use the wide capabilities of his country to establish close and fruitful cooperation for both parties," the press service of the Tajik head reported. The parties also stressed that the creation of joint ventures in the future may contribute to the creation of jobs and the accelerated industrialization of Tajikistan. The presidential press service also noted that construction and cargo equipment, as well as passenger transport produced by the Minsk Automobile Plant, were presented to Rakhmon at the exhibition.
Experts paid attention to the fact that during Emomali Rakhmon’s visit to Minsk, Putin also visited Lukashenko, but the press does not report the results of three CIS aksakals’ meeting. Nevertheless, it is highly likely that, in Minsk, Rakhmon was once again persuaded to enter the Eurasian Union, and, possibly, to join Russia and Belarus planning to create a single currency.
"Putin cares a lot of the Eurasian Union’s success, and he would like to show that other countries are willing to join the integration union created with his participation. Tajikistan has long-standing difficulties with a deficit of dollars, and there’s no end to this deficit. Therefore, both these assumptions are logical.” , Andrey Zakhvatov believes.