International relations of Astrakhan region with the CIS countries

One of the main priorities in developing international relations of Astrakhan region with the CIS countries is given to the Caspian Sea States and Middle Asia region. Focal points in this particular area are matchmaking for Astrakhan-based enterprises, investment activities, enhancing foreign economic transit cargo shipments through international transport routes “North-South” and “West-East”.

In this regard paramount importance is attached to developing interregional mrelations with bordering Kazakh regions. In this regard cooperation with Atyrau and Mangystau regions of Kazakhstan are most exemplary. This is preconditioned by the regions’ proximity to the Caspian Sea and the structure of their economies which are mainly resource-oriented, influenced by the development of international transport routes.

The first ever contractual relations with bordering Kazakh territories were established back in 1993 (with West-Kazakh region) and 1995 (with Atyrau region).

The sides thoroughly agree on such critical issues as prevention of emergencies, tackling of crimes, regulation of migration processes and jointly deal with environment protection issues and engage into pest control. Business communities of the two countries are vigorously involved in accessing new markets and educational programmes as well as cultural ties can be characterized as most efficient.

In 2003 Consulate of the Republic of Kazakhstan was inaugurated in Astrakhan – the 1st ever Consulate of Kazakhstan in the CIS.

One of the paramount landmarks in developing relations with Kazakhstan was the VIII Russian-Kazakh Interregional Cooperation Forum, held in Astrakhan on September, 15th, 2011, attended by the President of Russia Mr. Dmitry Medvedev and the President of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev. The Forum’s focal theme was joint response to emergency situations. Following the results of the Forum a wide range of documents was signed, aiming at further consolidation of Russian-Kazakh cooperation in this sphere including the Agreement stipulating a simplified procedure for border crossing by emergency services and formations.

Belarus, Armenia and Ukraine are long-time CIS partners of Astrakhan region.

In May 1999 during the 1st visit by the official delegation of Astrakhan region to the Republic of Belarus the Agreement on trade and economic, scientific and cultural cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Belarus and the Astrakhan Region Administration of the Russian Federation was signed and the Agreement between the Brest Executive Committee of the Republic of Belarus and the Astrakhan Region Administration of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in trade and economic, scientific, cultural and social spheres was signedнаучно-технической, культурной и социальной областях, both currently valid.

Astrakhan region has been successfully developing partnership relations with Turkmenistan in the last few years.

Bilateral business contacts started in April 2007 during the visit of Astrakhan delegation headed by the Governor Alexander Zhilkin to Ashgabat. The conducted negotiations with the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, as well as meetings with the heads of ministries and departments of Turkmenistan had shown mutual interest in deepening our relations.
The Agreement on Cooperation between the Government of the Astrakhan region and the Government of Turkmenistan was signed in March 2008 in Ashkhabad and initiated cooperation in cargo transportation, shipbuilding and repair, food and building materials supply, as well as in educational and cultural spheres.

In 2010 the President of Turkmenistan Berdymukhamedov G.M. visited Astrakhan region and once again  confirmed the interest in expanding cooperation in the field of shipbuilding and ship repair, construction and road infrastructure, activation of maritime traffic between the Turkmenbashi and Olya ports, establishing air communication between Astrakhan, Turkmenbashi and Ashgabat, deliveries of oil-refining and petrochemical products to Astrakhan region and other Russian regions, as well as in agriculture, light industry and other fields.

It should be noted that good neighbourly relations between Astrakhan region and Azerbaijan have been systematically and consistently developing.
In 2004 the Astrakhan region Government and the Azerbaijan Republic Government signed an agreement on cooperation which identified a number of joint projects aimed at increasing trade, closer integration of economic entities in various fields.

Promising areas of cooperation between Astrakhan region and Azerbaijan at the present stage were identified during the meeting of the Governor of Astrakhan Region Alexander Zhilkin with the President Ilkham Aliev in September 2011. They included opening of Astrakhan-Baku ferry connection and the sea cruise line between Astrakhan, Baku and other Caspian states, shipbuilding and repair at the Astrakhan shipyards. The overhaul of locomotives and other rail-way transport of JSC “Azerbaijani Railways” at the Astrakhan Locomotive plant as well as creation of agro industrial holdings on cultivation, storage and processing of agricultural products in Astrakhan region with the Azerbaijani investment were also considered as perspective trends of cooperation. The results of negotiations were reflected in the Agreement between the Government of the Astrakhan region and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on trade and economic, scientific and technical and cultural cooperation.

Astrakhan region is taking further steps to establish mutually beneficial cooperation with the Republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Our potential partners there show great interest in joint projects in economic and social spheres. The main attention should be given to regulation of organized and legal labor migration.

The years of 1999-2000 showed positive dynamics in bilateral relations. A number of companies were established with focus on supplies and sales of Belarus goods in Astrakhan, and up to date they continue their operations.

In September 2012, a delegation of Astrakhan region headed by Governor Mr. Alexander Zhilkin visited Minsk, during the visit talks were held with the President of the Republic of Belarus H.E. Alexander Lukashenko. The parties discussed possible supplies of sheep (assistance to the implementation of the state program on restoration of sheep-breeding) and wool, mutton, early potatoes, frozen vegetables to Belarus, as well as supplies of small capacity buses, agricultural and road machinery, broiler hatching eggs to Astrakhan region, they also discussed a prospective setting up and implementation of a joint project for the cultivation and primary processing of cotton and much more. As a result of the visit a Joint Action Program was signed for the development of trade and economic, scientific and technical and cultural cooperation in 2012-2014, which eventually contributed to the inauguration of a Belarusian trade house in Astrakhan in August 2014.

In 2001, contacts with Ararat region of Armenia were intensified. There was an exchange of visits by two parties and an Agreement was signed between the Administration of Astrakhan region and Marzpetaran of Ararat region on trade and economic and cultural cooperation, as well as a large-scale joint cooperation program was adopted.

In June 2006, a governmental delegation of the Republic of Armenia visited Astrakhan region. As a result of the meetings and negotiations the Government of Astrakhan region and the Government of the Republic of Armenia signed an agreement on trade and economic, scientific and technical and cultural cooperation.

One of the largest economic partners of Astrakhan region is Ukraine. At the official level productive contacts are maintained through the Consulate General of Ukraine in Rostov-on-Don, as well as trade and economic mission of the Ukrainian Embassy in the Russian Federation as part of the Consulate General in Rostov-on-Don. Thanks to a number of joint efforts, business community of Astrakhan region and south-eastern regions of Ukraine has had bilateral meetings in Astrakhan (Russia) and Kirovograd (Ukraine), which allowed for setting up close contacts between Astrakhan and Ukrainian companies, engaged in producing and sales of industrial and agricultural goods.