In his interview to Rossiiskaya Gazeta published Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov promised that Russia would make its relations with the CIS more practicable and less declarative. "I see a clear-cut recent tendency toward abandoning slogans in relations with the CIS nations for the benefit of vitally-important activities," said the minister.
In his opinion, the chief priority is to examine all the outstanding problems with each of the CIS countries in a complex.
"They want our fuels; we want them to level the economic models, to create favorable conditions for people-to-people contacts and for business exchanges, to develop joint economic projects and to enable the CIS countries that are prepared for advanced integration to progress without being dependent on those who are not yet ready for such integration," noted Lavrov.
He claims this logical basis was meant when establishing the CIS and is reflected in its charter.
"Therefore forming a common economic space (to include Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine), developing the Eurasian economic community (incorporating Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan as well as Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine as observers), promoting work on the establishment of a Union of Russia and Belarus as part of a common European economic space are extremely pertinent for pulling down the barriers that have been artificially erected to dismember the once single economic organism," thinks the Russian foreign minister.
"The necessity of uniting efforts is also caused by matters of security, protection from common threats, from terrorism and drug trafficking in our Southern borders, which is the responsibility of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia)," he added.
Dealing with the presence of the United States in the region, the minister made a point of Russia's unwillingness to let the CIS become an area of confrontation.
"If the U.S. presence helps settle conflicts and thus crush breeding grounds of terrorism and tensions around Russia with the prospect of its being surrounded by friendly states, we welcome such developments. But when the aims of such presence are unclear for us, we seek answers to our questions," said Lavrov.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23