President Dmitry Medvedev had many warm words for Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev when they met at the presidential residence in Gorki, outside Moscow, briefly Thursday to discuss economic and customs integration.
"We wish you every success," Medvedev told the Kazakhstan leader. "I hope everything will go well" in our countries' relations.
Nazarbayev, 70, has been Kazakhstan's leader since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He declared early elections this year, set for April 3.
"From the point of view of international politics, it is not completely ethical for the president of another country to comment on upcoming elections," Medvedev said, "but I will say a few words any way."
"I respect you very much as a friend and as a friend of the Russian Federation who has made a great contribution to the development of friendly ties between Russia and Kazakhstan," Medvedev told his Central Asian colleague. He went on to express the hope that "the two of us will continue to communicate in the course of this year, during our numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings."