By H.E. O.S. Malginov, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Romania
On June 12, 1990, at the first Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR, was adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Russia. This special event changed the nature of our statehood and political regime. A new era of millennial history of Russia had begun. We were setting a new direction for our development. Deep transformations began in all spheres of people’s life. A pluralistic political system was created and property laws were implemented; freedom of opinion became a reality. The authorities system and the public administration were marked by radical changes; a genuine federalism began to develop.
Not all achievements were easily earned, not all problems have been solved. However, the country is going now on a strong democratic path, developing a socially oriented economy.
In recent years, we have had a lot of economic achievements. However, the global economic and financial crisis in 2008-2009 had a serious impact on Russia, causing a significant decline in the economy. In this context, GDP growth in Russia, according to last year’s numbers, amounted to 1.4% compared to 3.6 % previously forecast.
Despite the unstable situation of the global economy and the economic slowdown, the Russian economy has a solid margin of safety. We maintain a very low level of external and internal public debt – about 10.7% of GDP, and a relatively low level of inflation and unemployment in the current conditions, about 6% and 5.5% respectively. Significant international reserves with the Reserve Fund and National Welfare Fund, will act together as far as safety mechanisms are concerned.
It is important to note that we also have positive results in terms of demography. For the first time in the last 20 years, we have reached a natural increase of population, which translates into an average life expectancy of 71 years of age. We have the lowest level of maternal and infant mortality in the history of our country. Compared to 2012, it fell by almost 5%. These results were achieved thanks to the combination of measures to improve the situation of maternal and child health in health care.
Russia’s role in the 21st century world is of extreme importance for its people. A key objective of our foreign policy is to ensure the national interests of the country, based on the principles of pragmatism, openness, and multidirectional position.
Lately we have been witnessing the formation of a new international multi-centered system, which is accompanied by increased global competition, competitiveness, including guidelines for values __and development models. In this context, the country aims to strengthen international and regional stability and to ensure sustainable development of global governance.
Russia, as a great power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, does not avoid responsibility in world affairs. We are ready to contribute to identify solutions to our common problems. Russia’s role in international affairs is increasing.
From a political and geographical point of view, Russian diplomats are actively working with our partners in the CIS and Europe, the U.S., the Asia-Pacific Area, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, etc…
For instance, the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in May, in China witnesses the newly developed relations between the Russian Federation and China which play an important role in stabilizing international relations and in the development of each of our countries. To some extent, the contract for the supply of natural gas totaling $400 billion, signed between Russia and China, has become a landmark moment.
It should be noted that this project does not affect in any way our Western partners. The Russian Federation has been for many years a reliable supplier of gas to Europe and hopes to remain so in the future.
It is very important that the principles of equality and mutual respect be applied in the relations with all countries, including the countries participating in the “Eastern Partnership” program. Respecting the right to determine their own fate is fundamental in the contemporary world, and nobody should be imposed on them from the outside. The 21st century reality is about removing and not strengthening the lines of separation, not isolation but harmonizing integration processes. This is how, together with our partners, we strive to develop these projects in the CIS.
The main event of the year for the countries of the Customs Union and Common Economic Area was definitely the signing, on 29 May at Astana, by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, which should enter into force on 1 January 2015. This huge market of 170 million people will allow us to improve the competitiveness of our economies, to make more efficient attracting domestic and foreign investment. As you know, our structures are open for integration for other partners, including, first of all, all participants of the CIS free trade zone.
Russia is ready for extensive cooperation with Romania, the largest state in Southeastern Europe, a country with an active foreign policy in the region. Of course, we listen carefully to what is said here in Bucharest, and we want you to listen carefully what is said in Moscow. Romania is our neighbor; we have good relations, multilateral cultural exchanges, and an orthodox way of life. We share common victories and losses on the battlefields of world wars and the liberation of the Balkans.
The fight against international terrorism and cross-border crime becomes a new important way of collaboration. In last June, we signed a memorandum of understanding between the Russian Security Council and Supreme Council of National Defence of Romania.
And the trade and economic relations have been going well. Exchanges of goods between Romania and Russia have expanded considerably. Last year they have increased by 12.8%, representing about $5 billion. It should be noted that the results for 2013 showed a record number of Romanian exports to Russia of $1.8 billion, an increase of 36.1 %. Russian companies are actively involved in investment projects in Romania. The total volume of Russian investments in the Romanian economy exceeds $2.1 billion.
Our cooperation in the fields of culture, art, education, sports and tourism has been actively developing. An important starting point for this was the ‘Cooperation program in the field of culture, education, sports, youth and tourism by the year 2014’ and the ‘Agreement on the establishment and operation conditions of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Bucharest and the Romanian Cultural Institute in Moscow’, signed in last July.
Russia’s National Day – June 12 – is one of the youngest celebrations of our country. Officially it was established by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation in 1994. New Russia celebrates this every year on this day. Mass parades, concerts, folk festivals, sports competitions will be held across the country this year. The Russian Embassy in Bucharest will also organize festivities which will include our Romanian friends.