Deputy Minister of Russian North Caucasus Affairs Olga Ruhullayeva’s exclusive interview to Report.
- Territorial units in the North Caucasus are among the main trade partners of Azerbaijan. What changes would be noted in the trade turnover of this region with Azerbaijan?
- Yes, Azerbaijan is among the top five countries with more than $128 million trade turnover with Russia. Export from the North Caucasus to Azerbaijan amounted to $116 million. We mainly export grain, fertilizer, glass and plastics. In 2018, our import amounted to $13 million and included cotton, alcoholic and soft drinks, fruits, hazelnut. Generally, despite the potential in the economic ties with Azerbaijan, this potential is not fully used.
- What works are done for attraction of tourists from Azerbaijan to Russia, including North Caucasus? How is the fulfillment of cruise project in the Caspian Sea? Are joint tourism products prepared to introduce Russia, including North Caucasus and Azerbaijan to the tourists of other countries?
- Development strategy of Russia’s ports in the Caspian Sea, motor and railway junctions with them for 2030 have been approved. The document also includes creation of favorable conditions for development of the domestic and international tourism in the Caspian region. For instance, cruise in Volga-Caspian basin, including cities like Astrakhan, Mahachkala, Derbend is planned to be applied. Along with this, state support programs will be prepared.
Russia-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation is developing the joint activities. Within this commission, a working group operates on significant issues of the economic cooperation.
Our JSC Northern Caucasus Resorts launched an initiative to establish coordination among the companies managing mountain ski resorts. After this initiative, the JSC Northern Caucasus Resorts and Azerbaijani company managing Shahdagh Ski Resort signed a memorandum of cooperation and joint operation. The sides will jointly operate for improvement of services in the mountain ski resorts, application of modern standards.
- Is it expected to establish free economic zones in the North Caucasus and Caspian Sea?
- We have some special free economic zones. Among these, projects on Arzikh, Elbrus, Veduchi resorts are being actively implemented. At the same time, restoration of Matlas special economic zone in Northern Ossetia-Alania is being discussed. We are interested to involve shareholders, including from Azerbaijan, in implementation of these projects. JSC Northern Caucasus Resorts has an experience in cooperating with Azerbaijani resorts.
- Is there any plan to transport cargo through the North Caucasus within the North-South International Transport Corridor? Which related transport projects are on the agenda?
- Of course, the North Caucasus is already participating in these transport activities. Cargo transportation through the North-Couth corridor will increase. We’ll also develop sea transport links with Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea. Abovementioned strategy was elaborated for this purpose.
In order to implement all these projects, we must cooperate with all our foreign partners, including Azerbaijan. We see perspectives in development of North-South Corridor through the North Caucasus in terms of both transit and export of North Caucasus’s products to the world market.