The two leaders discussed the results of long-standing bilateral cooperation in the interests of strengthening the entire range of Russian-Kyrgyz relations.
Mr Atambayev is leaving office. The inauguration of the new President of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who won the presidential election in October 2017, will take place on November 24 in Bishkek.
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Beginning of the meeting with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Atambayev, I am happy to see you, this time in St Petersburg.
I remember that your first foreign visit as the President of Kyrgyzstan back in 2012 was to Russia. Now you are completing your time in office and one of your final foreign trips as President is also to Russia. It is only a coincidence but…
President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev: But it is symbolic.
Vladimir Putin: I am pleased to note that during your presidency the quality of Russia−Kyrgyzstan relations has significantly changed.
The Kyrgyz Republic became a member of our economic union. There has been progress in our cooperation in the economy, security, including strengthening of the external borders, and culture.
I am particularly glad that you accepted the invitation and arrived for this cultural forum. You will see that it is a major and very interesting international event that is taking place for the sixth time in Russia, in its cultural capital, St Petersburg, which is for a reason. Outstanding Russian people of culture as well as our friends and guests from other countries will attend.
I know you have many ideas about reinforcing and building up the results that our peoples have achieved together over the previous decades and, perhaps, even over centuries. Your initiative in this respect is inspiring and we have supported and will support it further.
I believe it is very important to emphasise the long history of our relations. We have already spoken about this. The first major event already took place in Kyrgyzstan. We are ready to offer Russian venues for future events as well, so I will be glad to discuss the entire scope of our relations.
Almazbek Atambayev: Thank you, Mr Putin.
You were right to note, and I have noticed this as well, that it is symbolic that Russia is the destination of my first and last foreign visits as President of Kyrgyzstan.
I now recall that in the early days of my Presidency people mocked me for saying that Russia is our ancestral home. As you know, this year we hosted the Altai Forum, bringing together academics from about 30 countries.
Next year, there will be another event, the International Altai Congress. It was held in many places, except Altai. But this time we persuaded them to hold it in our country.
This forum is dominated by Western researchers. Of course, we need to be mindful of our history, because people who forget the path they took in the past will not be able to find their way into the future.
I am very happy to be able to meet you. I would very much like Kyrgyzstan and Russia to maintain their relations in their current state forever, for centuries, since as you know there were attempts to destroy, dismantle these ties and take them along a different path.
The last six years were very challenging for me in this regard. Of course, I would very much like these brotherly relations that we have restored to become only stronger. In this respect, I believe that today’s meeting can be very effective. And in general, I am very happy to see you again.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Almazbek Atambayev: It is a great pleasure to see Leningrad. Regarding the cultural forum, let me tell you that I am a fan of the singer-songwriter genre. Last year, may I remind you, it was Bob Dylan who took the Nobel prize in literature.
He is a singer-songwriter, but we know that the best representatives of this genre have always been in Russia. I believe that there should be a place for this kind of music at the cultural forum. Maybe one of the next Nobel prize winners will be from Russia…
Vladimir Putin: We will think about that.