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    YEAR OF RUSSIA IN KAZAKHSTAN WILL BRING PEOPLE OF THE TWO COUNTRIES CLOSER TOGETHER - NAZARBAYEV

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    ASTANA, January 1, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/. The year of Russia in Kazakhstan will bring the peoples of the two countries closer together, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a New Year message to the country's population.

    "I am confident that the coming Year of Russia in Kazakhstan will bring our peoples still closer together," he said, noting that "a weighty contribution to the strengthening of integrative processes between the two countries has been made by the Year of Kazakhstan in Russia".

    "We share a common historical past and we are to march in the future together, arm in arm," said the president.

    According to his estimates, the year 2003 became for Kazakhstan "productive and fruitful in every respect". "We all worked in an atmosphere of stability, peace, and accord, and no upheavals affected us," the president said.

    According to him, "we have seen a strengthening of the tendency towards economic growth, increased production, and accumulation of financial resources". Nazarbayev also noted that the country's farming "underwent a turning point" and Kazakhstan's per capita GDP is one of the highest in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

    2004 was declared the Year of Russia in Kazakhstan. The previous year, 2003, was declared in Russia the Year of Kazakhstan.

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