At the meeting, according to official information, issues of integration in the Eurasian space were discussed, the results of the activities of the EAEU this year were summarized. However, experts did not rule out that the Bishkek summit was basically another attempt to preserve Eurasian cooperation between Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, which has been seriously tested this year.

Initially, the SEEC summit in Bishkek was planned in a video conference format. Uzbekistani President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel were expected to attend as observers. Another observer country, Moldova, stopped showing interest in such a summit after Maia Sandu was elected president in November 2020.

But Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev did not attend the meeting in Bishkek, instead sending the head of government Abdullah Aripov. Moreover, the President of Uzbekistan abruptly canceled a two-day visit to Bishkek, which was scheduled to continue on Saturday, December 10.

Experts note that this happened after a telephone conversation between Putin and Mirziyoyev on November 30 of this year. Kazakh President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev said the telephone conversation between the two countries’ leaders concerned the creation of a “triple gas union” between Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Indeed, Tashkent’s negative reaction to the initiative was Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Zhurabek Mirzamakhmudov’s statement to Reuters that the proposed gas supply agreement with Russia would not mean an alliance, it would be “a technical agreement.” The deputy prime minister insisted that Uzbekistan would not agree to political conditions in exchange for gas, although the cold winter had even forced Uzbekistan to suspend gas exports with China.

The idea of a “Triple Gas Union” was proposed by Vladimir Putin during Kassim-Jomart Tokayev’s recent visit to Moscow with the aim of “coordinating activities in Russian gas transportation through the territories of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan”.

This was announced by the press secretary of the Kazakh leader Ruslan Zheldibai. Russian experts are convinced that it is beneficial for Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to import Russian gas since in these countries the consumption of their own blue fuel is increasing, while the production is decreasing. They have few options: to develop their own capacity, which requires very large financial investments, to import gas from Turkmenistan, or, which is much more profitable, to buy Russian gas based on the Russian domestic market and priced in rubles.

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