Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Novy Vek TV and Radio Company, Moscow, March 22, 2020
Question: Mr Lavrov, how do you estimate the effectiveness of the Republic of Tatarstan’s contacts with the outside world?
Sergey Lavrov: The Republic of Tatarstan is perhaps one of the most pro-active regions of the Russian Federation in terms of its involvement in international and foreign economic ties of the Russian regions. We maintain very close collaboration. The republic, first, is itself highly active in promoting its presence abroad. If I am not mistaken, they have representative offices in 15 countries, where they operate in close contact with and under the guidance of Russian Federation embassies. The republic has ramified ties primarily with CIS partners, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, as well as with practically all the other former republics of the USSR, which are now members of the CIS. It also maintains close contacts with companies from the US, Europe, and other regions, too.
Over a period of the past few years, the republic won the first prize for creating a maximally favourable investment climate for foreign investors on three occasions. Last year, it came second, but it was the leader for the three previous years and I am sure that Tatarstan has preserved its leader ambition that will be manifested many times over. This is one of the most pro-active republics, one of the most advanced constituent entities of the Russian Federation, which has the taste and skill for operating on the foreign markets and for creating conditions enabling investments to come to the republic.
Question: Russia has 85 regions. How great, in your opinion, is the Russian regions’ international role?
Sergey Lavrov: As they said in the past, Russia will grow based on Siberia. Today, Russia is growing – in its activity, in politics, and in the economy – based on its regions, territories, republics and autonomous areas. What is happening today in our relations with the PRC, 70-80 percent of trade and investment is about ties encouraged by the Russian regions and China’s provinces. When Tatarstan or other Russian regions promote their goods abroad, when they court high technologies as investment in Russia, when they engage in humanitarian activities (Tatarstan regularly accompanies its economic events abroad with humanitarian meetings), they are strengthening, first, this country’s economic potential, and, second, its prestige in the eyes of international community. So, one can hardly overestimate the importance of this work.