On the eve of Russia Day, which is celebrated on June 12, a briefing for local and foreign media was held in the building of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Turkmenistan. Among the many topics raised by journalists, Russian Ambassador Alexander Blokhin expressed his view on the situation with coronavirus in Turkmenistan, and also spoke about the development of bilateral trade and economic relations.
– In order not to talk, not to write in the opposition media, etc., according to official data, there is no coronavirus in Turkmenistan, and we can see it by indirect signs, – A. Blokhin said. – If there was something, it would be impossible to keep such information. On Technique or Russian market, it would still would appear faster than in the media. But even there is no such information. Therefore, we are inclined to believe the Turkmen side, but no one can ever guarantee anything 100 percent, especially in such a case as an epidemic. The Turkmen authorities hold briefings every two weeks and inform the diplomatic corps about the state of Affairs and measures taken. The measures that are being taken are adequate to those that are being applied in all other countries, where the situation is several orders of magnitude worse.
No enterprises were closed in Turkmenistan. Air transport and the problem with motor transport were mainly affected, but the problems are being resolved. The latest measures taken by the Turkmen side are the construction of disinfection points on the Turkmen-Iranian border, which will normalize not only the flow of goods from Iran to Turkmenistan, but also transit through Turkmenistan.
If the turnover is growing, it means that commodity flows are moving. We know that Turkmenistan is now ready to work by ferry, both with Baku, Makhachkala and Astrakhan. Due to additional sanitation, etc., all this is slowing down, of course, but despite this, I repeat, the trade turnover is growing.
And then, just look at the stores, all the products are on the shelves. State prices are another matter. And the fact that some media say that there is almost a famine in Turkmenistan is nonsense, it simply does not exist. I'm trying to be objective. So far, it seems to me that Turkmenistan in this situation, taking into account its capabilities, is able to go through all this. Not without problems, of course, but both Russia and Turkmenistan are overcoming this and even increasing their trade.
Speaking about the Turkmen-Russian relations, the Russian Ambassador noted:
– I would assess today's relations with Turkmenistan as being at the highest level, at least during my stay here.
For example, last year our trade turnover increased one and a half times and amounted to 695 million dollars, not counting gas. If you add gas, you get about 1 billion dollars. In principle, taking into account the decline in previous years, this is a very good indicator. The first half of this year also shows an increase in trade turnover.
In the first quarter of this year, the volume of trade increased 2.7 times compared to the same period last year. Moreover, the trade turnover is growing not only due to supplies from Russia.
We have quite large projects. In particular, the company "Vozrozhdenie" won the tender for the construction of self-protective structures in Ashgabat. “KAMAZ” is doing very well. "Tatneft" works with "Turkmennebit" is a good one. Our pipe factories carry out deliveries, etc.
Traditionally, we have almost no problems in the humanitarian sphere. As they say now, "there would be money". We have signed a number of agreements: on strategic partnership, on information security, and an agreement on Biosafety is being developed. Relations are at a very good level, and we are grateful to the Turkmen side for making a lot of efforts to maintain this level of strategic partnership and mutual trust, " A. Blokhin stressed.