Uzbekistan, Russia try to restore mutually beneficial dialogue

By Viktoriya Zhavoronkova

Uzbek President Islam Karimov's visit to Moscow has been completed. The sides discussed a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation. Uzbekistan decided to resume a dialogue with one of the largest regional players - Russia, which was once lost, as Tashkent's dialogue with many other regional players was lost.


A "Cooling" of relations with many partners, including - Moscow has been recently observed in Tashkent's policy. Last year, Uzbekistan left the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which could be taken as an index of lack of interest to cooperate with neighboring countries. But despite Tashkent's behavior, Tashkent and Moscow still have a lot in common.


Some 850 Russian-Uzbek companies are operating in Uzbekistan. The representative offices of more than 100 Russian enterprises have been accredited. Over 400 companies with the Uzbek capital work in Russia.


During Karimov's visit to Moscow, the sides discussed the regional and international issues, in particular, the situation in Afghanistan, combating the spread of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, organized crime, cooperation within international organizations.


The development of investment cooperation, cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, culture, science, education and many others were discussed. But the "painful" issues for the two countries were ignored, or perhaps, their discussion was not made public.


Uzbekistan retains its concern over Russia's interest in participating in the hydroelectric projects of the Central Asian region. According to Tashkent, their implementation can greatly harm Uzbekistan.


Moreover, Russian business in the country is also significant for both parties. According to local observers, the signing of an investment agreement by the parties during Karimov's visit is designed to protect the sides of the controversy associated with this issue in the future.


It is important for Tashkent today to get at least some assurance that numerous labor migrants working in Russia will not be expelled from the country, which could result in major social and financial problems for Uzbekistan. This could be achieved only by improving the bilateral relations.


This is beneficial for Moscow and Tashkent because the parties' intention to develop bilateral relations was confirmed at least by documents during this visit.


Uzbekistan, which is not committed to political rapprochement with any country, and Russia, seeking to preserve its influence in the region, both economically and politically, pressed by China and the West, tried to continue the sustained positive dynamics of relations during this visit.