Still images of protocol shooting show how the Head of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev is explaining something to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. He just listens and nods. There is n the eyes of the officials of the two countries tedious waiting...
So, Kyrgyzstan has received approval of the Roadmap and support of Russia. Important political step is backed by considerable financial assistance of $1.2 billion. However, only $700 million are issued without any debt. The rest $500 million, though on favorable terms, but we will have to return.
Birthday of Eurasianism
As planned, on May 29, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed up an agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which will start operating on January 1, 2015. The idea of unification was born right after the collapse of the Soviet Union - in 1994. For twenty years it was discussed, studied, debated and many feared, but finally started to implement it, realizing that it is difficult to exist alone in this world.
In his speech, the Head of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, and who initiated the idea to create Eurasianism, said that signing of the agreement has historical importance for the future of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, and marks a qualitatively new stage of integration in Eurasian space. "Contract is weighted, literate, taking into account the interests of all states. Great work was carried out, there were a lot of debates and the achieved consensus satisfied all parties. It covers all the basic aspects inherent in international organizations, enshrines the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and respect the features of the political system - the members of the union," he explained.
Certainly, the issue of preserving sovereignty and equal participation in the union was one of the most controversial. Nobody wanted to give way or to accept lower conditions in relation to the other parties of the EEU. Therefore, an important point in the contract is that the principle of consensus is introduced at all levels of decision-making of the union. Thus, the voice of each country will be decisive. All international agreements will be made in Russian and then translated into national languages of the parties, thereby eliminating discrimination on the basis of language.
According to Vladimir Putin, the alliance will be a powerful, attractive center of economic development, a major regional market. "It has vast natural resources, including energy. It accounts for a fifth of the world's gas reserves and nearly 15 percent of its oil. The countries of the "troika" at the same time have developed industrial base, powerful human, intellectual and cultural potential, - said the Head of the Russian Federation. - Geographical location allows us to create transport, logistics routes not only regional, but also of global significance, make scale trade flows in Europe and Asia. This is security of competitiveness of our association, its dynamic development in a rapidly changing and complex world".
The members of the Eurasian Economic Union made it clear that they are independent from other states and can provide for themselves and neighbors, which only intend to go the way of Eurasian integration. EEU will combine 170 million people. This is one of the largest consumer markets in the world, which occupies the 7th place. The participating in countries are about a quarter of the world's proven mineral resources worth up to $40 trillion.
The world situation dictates new conditions for associations, not as favorable economically as politically. Russia, which actually is engaged in a rivalry with the United States and the West and there is a need to seek new allies, and it found them in Asia. Negotiations with long-term partners and close neighbors were strained. Even simple questions, as Vladimir Putin confesses, went up to heated debates. "Until now, it was difficult to agree on all issues. There were disputes, scandals, but still acute disputes, discussions, but it all happened. Sure, it will occur in future, on the basis of mutual understanding and desire to reach a compromise acceptable to all," he said.
Definitely there will be great controversy when the union will accept new partners. The parties agreed to intensify talks with Vietnam on a free trade area, to strengthen cooperation with China, including the exchange of customs information on goods and services, to form expert groups on development of preferential trade regimes with Israel and India.
Russia chooses small allies, but geographically strategic states. Through Armenia and Israel it can affect Iran, which has recently become closer to the United States. Kyrgyzstan as an ally beneficial to combine with Tajikistan. Then Afghanistan will be under the control and through a partnership with India there will be access to Pakistan. Partnership with China becomes a great plus in conditions when the superpowers against each other build a counterstrategy.
The members of the Customs Union talked about Ukraine as well, which refused from the Eurasian integration, after which there is constant fierce fighting between supporters and opponents of federalization. During the formation of the Common Economic Space, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have lost Ukraine during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma. "The process was complicated. Someone we've lost along the way, I mean Ukraine, which also started with us this hard work - reminded Alexander Lukashenko. - However, unfortunately, the burden was very heavy, but I'm sure that sooner or later the Ukrainian leadership will understand where its happiness lies, at leas , will not lose what is rightly should belong to the Ukrainian people. We found someone on this long and difficult way, as our friends and brothers from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan."
Say a good word for poor Kyrgyzstan
Special attention was paid to newcomers as well, who are about to join the Customs Union and the EEU. Armenia, which approved the roadmap in late December 2013, is ready to announce joining the Cu till June 15. Kyrgyzstan couldn't make such a statement, since for a long time it couldn't settle disputed issues on the Roadmap, in particular, on financial assistance. Kazakhstan and Belarus have always been against any preferences, because they established the association on equal terms with Russia.
Alexander Lukashenko reminded difficult times in the republic, but it never complained and did not ask for favors. "We happened to hear a lot of claims and charges: that integration - is recreation of the Soviet empire that is the loss of sovereignty, it is a burden either for Russia, if talking about Belarus, or for Kazakhstan, and so on. However, of course, Belarus caught perhaps more than anyone else, - he said. - Even now, there is a fuss in press: "Lukashenko calls for concessions, bargains for bonuses to Minsk." Either Russia or Kazakhstan once again shoulders the burden of the economic problems on Belarus. I want to say this to the public: Gentlemen, calm down! We are with Russia and Kazakhstan - participants of the joint and equal process, and if we cast something on each other's shoulders, it is also on equal terms, it is our friendly alliance. The Soviet Union collapsed when Soviet republics suddenly decided that they feed someone, but they could live better. Now again this gets tested bugbear. Concessions, for example, Belarus doesn't require. Each contributes to the integration something that is interesting for all, and this contribution is not required to be measured only by tons, cubic meters or barrels."
Kyrgyzstan can't get out of this difficult cycle. There is no production in the country as such, which could compete with goods from neighboring countries. We haven't enough forces and money to revive the economy and industry by ourselves. Traditionally, Russia came to rescue, and lending its friendly shoulder and case with $1 billion.
By hook or by crook
Following the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council the Kyrgyz Minister of Economy Temir Sariev told reporters that Kyrgyzstan intends to ask Kazakhstan for help as well. "Russia has allocated $200 million for implementation of the Roadmap, but we need only $377 million. Only $55 million will be spent on optimization of the state border. We are preparing a similar agreement with Kazakhstan. We hope that we will receive assistance," said the official.
In future the republic will have many months to implement the plans. Almazbek Atambayev hopes that the country will enter 2015 in the new economic union. "Integration with the states of the Customs Union is a conscious decision for our republic. CU countries - not just the main partners, but also close in spirit and history. EEU will allow all to optimize the structure of economies and get some dividends. Principles of integration - to strengthen stability and security in the region. The partnership will give all members geopolitical advantages. Research shows: KR expect difficult times after joining the Customs Union. We need not to reduce the momenta of development. Now they are stable. We do not want to shift problems on shoulders of the partners, but ask for help. We will have decreased production and increased unemployment," he noted.
It will be difficult, but an example of successful integration for Kyrgyzstan becomes Armenia, which in six months time managed to adapt legal framework to international standards and it is already on the threshold of entering the CU. There are exactly six months prior to 2015 and Kyrgyzstan, which announced a clear intention under chime of Christmas bells to enter a new stage of development, there will be no chance to say that they couldn't do anything, didn't have time. This is equivalent to recognize that you are worthless partner and it is even dangerous to rely on you in politics.
So, Kyrgyz officials, who accustomed to treat their duties carelessly and constantly complain about alleged reasons, have to remember that it is about time to finish verbiage. Now it is time to work hard...