Lilia Gumerova: Cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan has strategic nature
The 10th Russian-Azerbaijani Interregional Forum, organized by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is taking place in Moscow. The forum is attended by First Vice President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, heads of economic departments of Russia and Azerbaijan Maxim Oreshkin and Mikail Jabbarov, Russian governors and heads of executive authorities of cities and regions of Azerbaijan, business representatives of both countries. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke to member of the Federation Council from the Republic of Bashkortostan, chairman of the Committee of the Federation Council on Science, Education and Culture, chairman of the Council of the Federal National Cultural Autonomy of Bashkirs, Lilia Gumerova, on the sidelines of the forum.
- Opening ceremony of the "Azerbaijan" pavilion has taken place just now. What are your impressions of it?
- Opening of this pavilion is a historic event, because when it was decided that the pavilions would be given to the former Soviet republics, we had a lot of work to do - data was restored literally bit by bit. Today I can say with satisfaction that restorers managed to preserve the main ideas of authors of the pavilion - designers and architects - which they had when they created this project: right now this is a center of cultural attraction, a center of preservation of historical memory and friendship, humanitarian and economic ties between our peoples.
- How would you rate the level of cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan?
- Today's cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan has strategic nature. We see that with each passing year the trade between our countries is increasing, the number of tourists is increasing. Interregional relations are especially important for us as representatives of various regions. Today at the Forum I met representative of the Republic of Bashkortostan, which I represent in the Federation Council, as well as representatives of a number of other institutes that have strong relations with Azerbaijan. These relations between enterprises, between educational institutions and between specific regions are mutually beneficial for our countries.
Our humanitarian ties are also extremely close. Our educational and cultural institutions work together not only on one-time events, but on entire projects. Azerbaijan pays a lot of attention to Russian language, 338 schools of the country teach in Russian. Russian language is popular, because Russian language allows to reach broader world, it gives an opportunity to communicate with Russia, and not only with Russia, so our language is in demand. I visited a number of schools, and saw that there's a very high level of teaching, and to enroll into them, you need to go through a significant competition. This shows that Russian language and Russian culture are really popular.
I'm sure that the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia will only grow stronger. Today, our states have a huge number of joint projects of global scale. Of course, our task is to do everything possible to provide solid legal foundation, economic platform and humanitarian foundation so that these relations only strengthen from year to year.
- Valentina Matvienko said in her speech today that 72 regions of Russia are currently cooperating with Azerbaijan. Is Bashkortostan one of them?
- Yes. Today my colleagues are present here. They oversee foreign economic agenda of the Republic of Bashkortostan. In addition, business leaders have also arrived here. I know that our universities, which are associated with the oil industry, have very strong ties with universities of Azerbaijan that existed for many years. The forum is another milestone that can held us reach new frontiers of cooperation.
- Chairman of the Milli Majilis Oktay Asadov met with Valentina Matvienko the day before. What agreements have been reached at the parliamentary level?
- There are very strong ties between the parliaments of our countries, we have friendship groups, there are a number of projects that unite us in the field of lawmaking. We work with our colleagues from Azerbaijan very closely in the framework of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS, they bring up interesting ideas and suggestions in the framework of the work of our commissions. Cooperation of the parliamentarians of Russia and Azerbaijan has its own history, has huge achievements and will only grow stronger.
- Today at the plenary meeting, Russia and Azerbaijan were represented by Valentina Matvienko and Mehriban Aliyeva. It seems like this regional forum has a female face?
- The world is tired of brutal male politics, as Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko once said during the opening of the Eurasian Women's Forum. The world really needs soft power. The fact that women are actively participating in solving very complex political, economic and humanitarian issues in Azerbaijan, in Russia, and in the world is a good sign.