Russian-Lao Relations

The diplomatic relations between our countries (at that time the USSR and the Kingdom of Laos) were established on 7 October 1960. In 1960s-first half of 1970s being a strong advocate of the 1954 Geneva Conference resolutions and 1962 International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos, the Soviet Union took vigorous political and diplomatic efforts keeping in mind main mission to stop hostilities on the Lao territory and ensure a true independence of Laos.

Following the foundation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic in 1975 the Soviet Union provided a large-scale comprehensive assistance to Laos in forging its statehood, developing its national economy and strengthening its defense. In the 1970s-1980s our country financed and realized a wide range of large construction projects in Laos, including those in economic and social spheres. Within various programmes of educational and cultural exchanges totally more than 10 thousand Lao citizens graduated from Soviet and Russian universities and colleges.

On December 31, 1991 the Lao PDR officially recognized the Russian Federation as a legal successor to the USSR. In 1994 Russia and Laos signed the Treaty on Amity.

During the past several years our bilateral relations have been vividly expanding. Laos is all the more coming to be among the most reliable political partners of the Russian Federation in East Asia and the Pacific. That was truly proved when the Russian-Lao relations were recently lifted to the level of the strategic partnership in Asia and the Pacific. Similarity of Russian and Lao positions on the most important global problems allows us to effectively interact in international and regional fora, including the UN, ASEAN Regional Forum, Russia-ASEAN dialogue format, "Asia-Europe" Meeting (ASEM), East Asia Summit.

Lately there has been a growing number of political exchanges on highest and high levels. In October 2011 H.E. Mr. Choummaly SAYSONE, Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, President of the Lao PDR, paid an official visit to the Russian Federation, which became the first one in the post-Soviet history of our bilateral relations. In Russia the Lao President had fruitful negotiations with H.E. Mr. Dmitry A. MEDVEDEV, then-President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Vladimir V. PUTIN, then-Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mrs. Valentina I. MATVIENKO, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation (upper chamber of the Federal Assembly), and Mr. Georgiy S. POLTAVCHENKO, Governor of Saint-Petersburg. The most prominent result of the visit was the adoption of the Declaration on the strategic partnership in the Asia-Pacific Region between the Russian Federation and the Lao PDR. In November 2012 while in Vientiane during the 9th Asia-Europe Summit meeting (ASEM-9) H.E. Mr. Dmitry A. MEDVEDEV, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, held bilateral talks with H.E. Mr. Choummaly SAYSONE, President of the Lao PDR, and H.E. Mr. Thongsing THAMMAVONG, Prime-Minister of the Lao PDR. In October 2013 the Lao parliamentary delegation headed by H.E. Mrs. Pany YATHOTOU, President of the National Assembly of the Lao PDR, came with an official visit to the Russian Federation. During the trip the Speaker of the Lao parliament met with H.E. Mrs. Valentina I. MATVIENKO, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, Mrs. Lyudmila I. SHVETSOVA, Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma (lower chamber of the Federal Assembly), and had a meeting with the delegation of Saint-Petersburg's parliament. The quintessence of the visit was the signing of the Agreement on the cooperation between the Council of the Federation and the National Assembly of the Lao PDR. In September 2014 H.E. Mrs. Valentina I. MATVIENKO, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, paid a reciprocal official visit to the Lao PDR. In Vientiane she had meetings with H.E. Mrs. Pany YATHOTOU, President of the National Assembly of the Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Choummaly SAYSONE, President of the Lao PDR, and H.E. Mr. Thongsing THAMMAVONG, Prime-Minister of the Lao PDR.

Russia and Laos pay due attention to establishing and advancing ties between Russian regions and Lao provinces as well as between our capital cities – Moscow and Vientiane.

The Joint Russian-Lao Intergovernmental Commission on trade and economic, science and technology cooperation is designed to enhance all-round ties, especially trade and investments, between our countries. The commemorative 10th meeting of the Commission took place on April 4-5, 2013 in Luang Prabang, the Lao PDR.

According to the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, in 2011 trade turnover between Russia and Laos reached USD46.6 million. Traditional export items going from Russia to Laos are printing products, aircraft and automobiles and spare parts, other machinery. Lao imports to Russia are mainly textile and handicraft goods, high-sort wood products.

Russian business has a growing interest to the Lao economy. As to date the largest successful investment project is the acquisition by Russian company "VimpelCom Ltd." of 78% assets of a major mobile operator in Laos – "Millicom Lao" in 2011. Following the re-branding carried out by "VimpelCom Ltd." the operator is now known on the Lao telecommunications market as "Beeline". In 2011 "Lao Central Airlines" (Lao commercial airlines) and "SUKHOI Civil Aircraft JSC" contracted several "Sukhoi Superjet-100" regional class aircraft. Russian investors are also interested in Lao hydroenergy and mining.

Russia and Laos maintain cooperation in the spheres of culture and education. In November 2013 Vientiane witnessed reopening of the Russian Cultural and Scientific Centre after it had been closed for more than 20 years. Another Russian cultural and linguistic facility, "the Russian Centre", under the aegis of the Lao National University may also open soon. The Russian Government provides to Laos annual higher education scholarships for Lao citizens to study at various Russian universities. By now a number of Russian and Lao universities have already established direct contacts to facilitate and encourage their exchanges.