President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
I am delighted to welcome everyone to the Tenth Russia-Kyrgyzstan Interregional Conference. This year, it is dedicated mainly to the development of industrial cooperation, and so it is logical that you are meeting in Jalal-Abad, the industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan.
As usual, your conference is attended by the heads of regions, members of parliament, the heads of ministries and agencies, and representatives from the business, expert and public communities of our two countries; that is, by those who deal with the practical aspects of the range of friendly Russia-Kyrgyzstan relations every day, including the trade and economic components.
It is gratifying that our region-to-region cooperation involves the overwhelming majority of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and all seven regions of Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, Moscow, St Petersburg, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, as well as the Orenburg and Chelyabinsk regions are especially active on the Russian side. It is important that our regions’ activities are based on assistance from the governments of Russia and Kyrgyzstan. The Russian Export Centre is assisting the strengthening of interregional trade. It is largely thanks to this that trade between our regions is growing sustainably and becoming more diversified. Overall, trade between Russia and Kyrgyzstan increased by 37 percent to $3.4 billion in 2022 and by another 17.4 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
The Federal Corporation for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME Corporation) is making a substantial contribution to interregional cooperation and to the development of direct ties between Russian and Kyrgyz businesses. The Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund is working effectively and has financed over 3,000 joint projects with a total value of $520 million in real economy sectors such as mining, manufacturing, energy, transport and logistics.
I think we can all agree that the growth of interregional trade and industrial interaction was largely facilitated by Kyrgyzstan’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union eight years ago. Eurasian integration brings incontestable benefits to all participating states, and, of course, to Kyrgyzstan.
Thus, over the past eight years, the republic’s GDP and its industrial production increased by 2.3 times. Exports have doubled. The Eurasian Development Bank, which invests in major regional infrastructure projects such as the reconstruction of the Toktogul Dam and the Bishkek-Osh Highway, is actively attracting investment resources to the country. The Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development is funding the technological renovation of the Kambar-Ata-2 Hydroelectric Power Plant, the water utilisation system in the Osh region.
In addition to the economy, interregional cooperation also covers the cultural sphere. The Russian side is helping Kyrgyz regions improve their system of secondary education. Overall, Russia plans to build nine schools in all seven regions and the two largest cities in Kyrgyzstan in the next few years. They will accommodate over 11,000 students. It is worth mentioning that on September 1, the President of Kyrgyzstan and I launched the construction of the first three Russian-language schools in Bishkek, Batken and Karakol.
Branches of Russian universities are also being opened in Kyrgyz regions. In Osh, a branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University has been opened. Another branch of the university will open soon in Karakol. As part of the Russian Teacher Abroad project, some 120 teachers from Russia were sent to work in Kyrgyz schools. I am sure that these issues will be discussed during the 3rd Forum of Rectors of Russia and Kyrgyzstan to be held in Osh soon.
In conclusion, I would like to note again that regions play a central role in the strategic partnership and alliance between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. We will continue to encourage the regions of our countries to cooperate with each other, and look for new areas of interaction. Naturally, we will support all of your promising initiatives. I am confident that President Sadyr Japarov and the entire leadership of Kyrgyzstan share this attitude.
I want to wish everyone at the conference constructive work and success.
Thank you for your attention.