Russia’s State Duma ratified an agreement signed between Russia and Uzbekistan in 2014, writing off most of Uzbekistan’s debt, which amounted to $889.3mn, lowering it to $25mn on March 25, news website Gazeta.uz reported on the same day, citing the State Duma. The ratification of the document is confirmed on the State Duma’s website. In exchange for writing off the debt, Uzbekistan agreed to waive its claim for its share in the USSR’s Diamond Fund.
Russia’s decision to write off the debt is seen as an attempt to improve its relations with Uzbekistan. Other examples of Russia’s possible intentions to improve relations include Russia’s recent agreement with Uzbekistan to import 4bn cubic metres of Uzbek gas in 2015 to replace gas supplies from Turkmenistan. Central Asia's most populous nation has been reluctant to get involved in Moscow-sponsored regional integration projects such as the Customs Union which became the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015.
Uzbekistan's $889.3mn debt comes from loans granted to the country by Russia in 1992 and 1993, according to the report by Gazeta.uz.
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