President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev,
We are delighted to welcome you here in Russia, in St Petersburg. Thank you for coming. I have to say, and you know it well, that when we gather with our colleagues to discuss any matter related to the development of the EAEU, the Eurasian Economic Union, we always remember that the idea belonged to you. We are thankful to you for initiating the creation of the union and for being its driving force for many years, at least until it got firmly established.
Today, amid the difficult conditions of the pandemic, which has impacted global production, the mechanisms and tools that we developed with you at that time have been working efficiently. Suffice it to say that our relations with Kazakhstan in 2020, the hardest year of the pandemic, did not see a significant economic decline; out mutual trade decreased by just 4 percent. But in the first nine months of 2021, it grew by over 30 percent growth. This is, of course, a very important result of our joint activity with the current leadership of Kazakhstan, its President and Government.
I would like to thank you again for the idea and its implementation. Welcome, Mr Nazarbayev, we are happy to see you.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Thank you, Mr President, for the invitation to come as the honorary chairman of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Our President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will come here to discuss various issues on behalf of Kazakhstan. As the honorary chairman, the most experienced representative who was at the front line of history, I will also take part. This is an informal CIS summit, isn’t it? I am the only one left of those who created the CIS in Almaty in December 1991, and I remember how it happened.
Now, as per your proposal, I was elected honorary chairman. The Eurasian Economic Union has established itself, and will mark its 7th anniversary. Despite the pandemic, we all see that what you said is correct. Especially what you said about the relations between Kazakhstan and Russia: our mutual trade will reach $24 billion, which is a historical record, and we achieved it despite the pandemic. Our goal is to continue to develop the Eurasian Economic Union and accept new associated members and observers. They will see how beneficial it is to be part of this association that is based on a consensus, does not impinge on anyone and takes the interests of all its members into account.
I would like to use this opportunity to wish you a happy New Year. The departing year marked the 30th anniversary of independence of Kazakhstan and of many other countries as well. For you, it was the year of the State Duma election. I can imagine how busy you are, given the difficult conditions and the confrontation between the collective West and Russia.
Russia and Kazakhstan have a model relationship.
Vladimir Putin: Absolutely.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: We have built special relations. I hope that they will remain the same under the new President because we are neighbours who have special affinity and it is in our mutual interests to remain as we are. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you for the warm wishes. I also wish you and the entire nation of Kazakhstan happy holidays.