St.PETERSBURG, November 10 (Itar-Tass) — Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko hopes that the Tajik administration will assume an adequate position on the situation in respect to the Russian pilot convicted in Tajikistan, adding she expected a radical change in the Tajik position in the next few days. “I believe the Tajik leadership will show an adequate attitude to Russia's reaction to the incident,” Matviyenko said.
She raised the problem of the verdict to the Russian pilot at a meeting with the speaker of the Tajik parliament, Makhmadsayid Ubaidullayev, on Wednesday. The Tajik parliament chairman accepted the opinion of the Russian Federation Council and public uproar the verdict aroused in Russia with understanding. He promised he would look into details of the case immediately, Matviyenko said.
The incident should not provoke tension in bilateral relations, Matviyenko said. Such factors should not be detrimental to a friendly character of Russo-Tajik relations of strategic partnership, she stressed.
The Upper House speaker reiterated that the Russian side had heard no arguments to prove that the international aviation rules were violated. Matviyenko believes that although Russia has no right to interfere into the competence of the Tajik authorities Russia will take measures to defend the Russian citizen.
"We hope that a settlement will be reached in the next few days," Matviyenko said.
A court in Tajikistan confiscated two Russian cargo planes on Tuesday and sentenced their pilots to jail terms for smuggling and illegally crossing the state border. The two pilots, citizens of Russia and Estonia, were arrested in March after making an unscheduled refueling stop in Tajikistan on the way back from neighboring Afghanistan, where they had worked with humanitarian organizations on a contract basis.
The authorities in Tajikistan charged both men with smuggling a faulty engine that had been carried on board one of the two An-72 planes which Tajikistan confiscated.
The court in Kurgan-Tyube, 80 km south of Dushanbe, sentenced both Russian citizen Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko to eight-and-a-half years in prison. The pilots were found guilty of violating the rules of international flights, illegal border crossing and contraband.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev believes that the verdict, which the Tajik court passed to the pilots, aroused a big number of questions. The president intends to wait for an official response from the Tajik authorities. After that Moscow will take reciprocal actions, which “may be symmetric or asymmetric,” Medvedev said at a meeting with his supporters from the Internet communities on Wednesday.