A memorandum of understanding was signed between Kazan Federal University and the Club on December 13th.
Today, Kazan University hosted a meeting of the Russian-Belarusian Expert Club titled "Transcontinental Corridors in Eurasia: Economy, Migration, and Humanitarian Cooperation." Among the participants were Vice-Rector for External Relations Linar Latypov, Chairman of the TV and Radio Broadcasting Organization of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, co-founder of RBEC Nikolay Yefimovich, Attaché of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kazan Fanis Shigapov, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Belarus in Tatarstan Sergey Marudenko, Coordinator of RBEC Vyacheslav Sutyrin, and other officials.
Leading experts - economists, political scientists and sociologists - from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia also took part in the discussion. A wide range of issues were discussed, including "Economic corridors in Eurasia: opportunities for Russia and Belarus", "Labor migration in the Eurasian region: risks and opportunities", "Eurasian humanitarian cooperation: in search of common approaches", "The place of Tatars in the history of Belarus (historical aspect)", and others.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Kazan Federal University and the Club. The signatories were Linar Latypov and Nikolai Yefimovich. The parties agreed on the development and expansion of academic cooperation and exchange.
Representing the hosting side, Linar Latypov noted that Kazan University was conceived as a university of the Eurasian type at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. He stressed that Eurasian studies are a key topic for the University. The Vice-Rector mentioned that KFU currently comprises about 45 thousand students, 11 thousand employees, and the teaching staff is 3.5 thousand strong.
"As an Orientalist, I draw attention to the fact that, especially in Europe and the United States, a number of major centers for Russian studies have been renamed centers for the study of Eurasia and the Eurasian processes. This topic is in the focus not only of our but also of international specialists who often come to Kazan University. Tatarstan as a republic is a very interesting phenomenon. Tatars are as Eurasian as can be."
"At Kazan University, very interesting and profound research is conducted in the history of Eurasianism. Our university is central to Eurasian studies in all spheres - the economy, the social sphere and others," he stressed.
In his turn, Nikolai Yefimovich thanked KFU for the opportunity to hold a visiting session in such a wonderful place and expressed hope for continued cooperation. He noted that Russian-Belarusian Expert Club has existed for two years.
"The Eurasian theme is becoming very fashionable and popular," he said. "We want to participate in this as an expert platform which is gaining strength."
According to Nikolai Yefimovich, the discussion would help to find new points of economic growth, points of support and opportunities to overcome economic recession.
Fanis Shigapov opined that the topic of the meeting is more relevant than ever.
"The development of transcontinental corridors in Eurasia is an integral part of the processes of globalization, where each participant is interested in occupying its niche. Russian-Belarusian relations are those of cooperation; work is ongoing between the countries on the creation of a single migration space, the modernization of economic legislation. Close cooperation is being maintained in foreign policy, military-technical cooperation, and ensuring collective security."
"Tatarstan is one of the active participants in the development of interregional cooperation between Russia and foreign partners, including the development of relations with the Republic of Belarus. Tatarstan strives to take part in large-scale infrastructure projects, for example, the international transport corridor "Europe-Western China", the construction of the high-speed Moscow-Kazan railway, and large logistic centers," said he.
In his speech, the Honorary Consul Sergei Marudenko stressed that 2017 was very rich in the development of relations between Russia and Belarus. According to him, next year will not be an exception - in 2018 Days of Belarusian culture will be held in Tatarstan, and Days of Tatar culture will be held in Belarus. He also noted that the issue of opening a monument to the Belarusian poet and translator Yanka Kupala (who during the Great Patriotic War lived in evacuation in the village of Pechischi, Tatarstan) is being discussed. Sergei Marudenko also raised the issue of opening a direct flight between Kazan and Minsk. He expressed hope that it will be launched in 2018.
Vyacheslav Sutyrin said, "The turn to the East of Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union as a whole is taking place. And we see this reflected statistics. The European Union is losing the Eurasian markets. Our task is to understand how it is advantageous for Belarus and Russia to integrate into these processes, what place the Union State will find in them and how interregional ties between our states will be built in the context of a large Eurasian integration. But it is important to understand that integration processes carry not only opportunities but also risks. "
The expert noted that the route of the New Silk Road passes through Kazan.
"If we integrate only logistically, like a transport corridor, we will, in fact, serve traffic flows to which we will not have a relationship, and thus not maintain a sufficient level of technological development. In this regard, it seems that Tatarstan, Kazan, and Kazan University are important not only from a symbolic, but also from a practical point of view. The main cooperation between Russia and Belarus is in the field of petrochemistry, machine building, agricultural complex, and light industry. These are the spheres that can serve as the engines of the new industrialization. If the logistics prospects are combined with the new industrialization of our states, industrial cooperation, here we will be able to realize the existing opportunities and reduce risks. In this regard, the humanitarian aspect is the most important. If we push it the background, then we will, in the end, lose our economic ties."