Vladimir Putin meets with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev
20 march 2012
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Mr Atambayev! If I am not mistaken, today we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. So we have occasion ...
Almazbek Atambayev: An occasion, indeed. Putin cannot be mistaken, can he?
Vladimir Putin: We have occasion to congratulate each other. I do not think this was a mistake. We did right thing, we have been developing our relations, helping each other. I am not going to repeat what Russia has done recently, but I know your position on bringing Kyrgyzstan closer not only to Russia but also to the Customs Union and the common economic space. We only have to carry out some work here. This work began at the level of experts. I hope very much that it will make rapid progress and that jointly we will reach the goal that we discussed today.
Almazbek Atambayev: Mr Putin, while we are happy that 20 years ago Kyrgyzstan and Russia established diplomatic relations, there was a time when we were one nation! And you don't know whether to feel good or bad about that. I like the saying (Do you recall this saying? Perhaps it was you who said it, I do not remember): Anyone who wants to go back to the Soviet Union has no brains and anyone who doesn't mourn the Soviet Union has no heart. I always bear in mind that your father is a veteran and my father is a veteran: they fought for the Soviet Union, for one country. And even if we cannot reinstate the Soviet Union, we ought to create the common economic space. I want Kyrgyzstan to join this economic space that includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and possibly Ukraine – all countries that had been part of one big nation.
If we remember history... I am fond of history, and if you look at the thousand-year history of Eurasia, our peoples always sought to create a unified state in Eurasia: that was the Khaganate, the Golden Horde, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union. But we should seek a common economic territory, a common economic space, at least, because the memory of our ancestors is calling on us to do so. We ought not to forget the past. Many people seek to forget the past, to become absolutely different, but there is a good proverb: If you shoot the past with a pistol, the future will shoot you with a cannon. I think we should steadily advance in this direction, not to listen to gossip and not to heed those who wish to divide us. I think this is the principal direction.
Naturally, Russia is our strategic partner. We are very grateful for the help that we receive, including humanitarian aid. As you know, in February, in Moscow, we unveiled a monument to our legendary ancestor from the Altai Territory, our Father Manas. We received your help, too, for a monument in Bishkek. I think, God willing, we will have a new level of relations in the future. On the one hand, yes, 20 years is the anniversary of diplomatic relations, but it is also a bit sad. I think our fathers, your father and my father, did not imagine this.
Vladimir Putin: Let's have a more detailed discussion on what we have to do to take the path of economic integration. I think this is absolutely necessary in light of the objective needs of your economy, of the Russian economy. Naturally, we have done a lot in terms of the union state. We have good preconditions to reinstate the lost...
Almazbek Atambayev: And people have a common mentality. There are many Kyrgyz nationals here, there are many ethnic Russians in Kyrgyzstan including my wife, so it impossible to divide a living body, in my view.
Vladimir Putin: Let's have a more detailed discussion.