Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the statement of the co-chairman of the party “A Just Russia — For Truth” Zakhar Prilepin about the annexation of Uzbekistan and other territories of the former Soviet Union to Russia.

“Russia and Uzbekistan are bound by relations of comprehensive strategic partnership and alliance.This is not merely a beautiful phrase. In fact, they are on the rise, as substantiated by the impressive outcomes of the official visit of President of Uzbekistan Sh. M. Mirziyoyev to our country in October this year and the warm atmosphere that prevailed at the meeting of the leaders of the two states,” the Russian MFA spokeswoman shared.

“We are fully committed to the treaties on strategic partnership dated June 16, 2004, and allied relations of November 14, 2005. According to mutual obligations, our cooperation is built on the principles of respect for sovereignty, non-interference, friendship, and good-neighborliness. The collaborative efforts of the two countries' representatives in the CIS, SCO and the United Nations is charged with the spirit of equality and mutual consideration of interests. Moscow supports Tashkent for the sake of Uzbekistan’s socio-economic advancement, taking into account the country’s status as an observer in the Eurasian Economic Union,” she noted.

“Looking more broadly, Russia and Central Asia are united by a common history, close human and cultural ties, trade, economic and direct economic relations. The heads of our states and governments set tasks for ministries, agencies, heads of regions for the progressive development of privileged ties. In addition, we are always ready to provide help for one another. This has been repeatedly confirmed by actions (mutual support during the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian aid to the residents of the affected regions, supplies of Russian energy carriers during the abnormal cold weather in Central Asia, etc.),” Maria Zakharova remarked.

“As for the migration topic, the Russian side has repeatedly emphasized that the attraction of labor resources from abroad, primarily from friendly states, is in the interests of both Russia and the countries — exporters of such services. A range of regulatory, organizational, informational and other measures are currently underway to enhance the operational order and mutual benefits of migration cooperation,” she noted.

“With regards to the above, it is clear that Zakhar Prilepin’s statements are his personal opinion, which does not even remotely reflect the official position of the Russian Federation,” the Russian MFA spokeswoman concluded.

On Thursday, MFA of Uzbekistan invited Oleg Malginov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Tashkent. The Uzbek side expressed the concern outlining that Zakhar Prilepin’s words were deliberately provocative and could have negatively affected relations between the peoples of the two countries. The Russian ambassador replied that these statements “do not even remotely share anything in common with the official position of the leadership of the Russian Federation with regard to friendly and independent Uzbekistan.”

Prior to that, parliamentarians of Uzbekistan asked the MFA to send a note to the Russian side. They warned of criminal responsibility for encroaching on the constitutional order of Uzbekistan. The deputies also mentioned the Kremlin should undertake legal measures “against such chauvinists who promote war and hostility between countries and peoples.”

On the same day, the Defense Ministry of Uzbekistan asserted that the country possesses sufficient armed forces, as mandated by the Constitution, to ensure its security.

Zakhar Prilepin’s statement

At the press conference on the activities of his Council of Commanders, Zakhar Prilepin declared, “I stand sincerely for the idea that these territories, from where Gastarbeiters („guest workers“) come to us, should be simply annex in their entirety and to teach them the Russian language on the spot. Not to teach them here, but there, in Uzbekistan.”

He said he would continue to promote the agenda of “disavowing documentation of the collapse of the Soviet Union.” “This will allow us to say at any moment: ‘Since two million of your citizens are on our territory, we claim your territory.' Because the majority of yours are here, they’ve already even voted for it. Well, or some other form can be invented. Who will forbid us after the parade in Kyiv to do anything useful on the territory of the Eurasian territory? Nobody.”