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MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Russia’s increased attention to the East does not mean that it wants to sever ties with the West, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday at a meeting of the trilateral intergovernmental commission of Russia, Belgium and Luxembourg.
"We often hear that Russia is allegedly turning away from Europe, looking for new business partners, that it harbors a grudge against Europe and has turned towards Asia. It’s not quite so," Rogozin said. "We cannot do this at least in view of the fact that our coat of arms — with a two-headed eagle on it, is an heir of Byzantium. One its head looks to the East and the other — to the West." The deputy prime minister quoted the words of Pyotr Stolypin, Prime Minister of Imperial Russia from 1906 to 1911, who said that if you cut off the head looking to the West, the eagle will not turn completely to the East, it will simply bleed to death.
"Our active policy in the Asia-Pacific region began not today and not in connection with the sanctions, but several years ago", Rogozin recalled. "We are actively working in this direction, it is essential for us to develop the East of our country that is a vast territory beyond the Ural Mountains, which is extremely rich," he said.
According to the deputy prime minister, Russia and the European Union are equally interested in cooperation with the countries of the East, not only with China or India. He added that this logic is the basis for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
"We believe in this context that the development of Russian-Belgian and Russian-Luxembourg cooperation will be promoted by the new opportunities offered by the single economic space within the EAEU, which actually creates a powerful and attractive to businesses and investors economic development center, a common market, which can be used by Belgian and Luxembourg businesspeople," Rogozin said, adding that Russia is interested in expanding the activities of European companies in the country and is ready to provide them the most comfortable conditions for doing business.