25 November 2015
Moscow: 07:09
London: 04:09

Consular Section:  
+44(0) 203 668 7474   




One more time about Pussy Riot rights

Many of those who read British press get a wrong impression that Pussy Riot band members were wrongfully detained and convicted for being against President Vladimir Putin. Regrettably, the majority of newspaper articles use wrong categories in reporting on this case. British media presents the topic under the banner of the freedom of speech and self-expression. In Russia, however, this matter is discussed as to whether there is a punishment for those who burst into the place of worship insulting the religious feelings of a considerable part of Russian citizens and debauch there.

According to a British journalist Simon Jenkins http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/21/west-hypocrisy-pussy-riot, who cites a Russian poll, only 5% of respondents do not think that the band deserves to be punished, while 65% believe that the band members must be jailed and 29% wish they were subject to community service. These data should not come as a surprise, for Russia is a country of 143 million people, 75% of whom identify themselves with the Orthodox Christianity. Russian Muslims, by the way, have not sympathised with Pussy Riot’s performance as well.

One will recall the outrage started by the Muhammad cartoons published in one of Danish newspapers. They were published not without a reason and were aimed at stirring anti-Islamic sentiment in the Western society at the time of the so-called “war on terror”. What was its result? Growth of xenophobic and extremist manifestations, which, by the way, might well be posing a threat to the European democracy itself, as for example is the case of Anders Breivik. This act by Pussy Riot is considered as a similar provocation against religion.

Let us recall that many countries’ laws provide punishment for the insult of feelings of other citizens. Pussy Riot’s bravado is nothing new. In the recent past, such “performances” took place in European countries not without subsequent lawsuits. Just recently the Catholic Church of Germany has been reported to accuse followers of the Russian punk-band of disorderly behaviour at a religious service in Cologne. Under the German law, they might face a real prison sentence.

No one would dare to dispute decisions of court in Western countries. Russia’s judicial system is an independent branch too. The verdict to those who performed the “punk-prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was passed by court after a thorough consideration of all facts of the case in full compliance with the Russian law. It is very easy to give outsiders’ advice without knowing the details and even without trying to fully comprehend the matter. We doubt that the court, for example here in Great Britain, would take into consideration advice of those who, in effect, try to influence the course of justice.

An American lawyer Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins”. We all remember how the Taliban destroyed Buddha statues in Afghanistan. The world was shocked and appalled. Let us recall the desecration of Muslim tombs in Northern Mali. Perhaps, it is too early to draw the line in the debate on the limits of self-expression. So this case is not about politics, played by the rules, but about insulting the religious feelings of fellow citizens which goes far beyond what any democracy allows, beyond civilized behavior pure and simple.


18.11.2015 - Syrian solution demands truly inclusive compromise (article by Ambassador Yakovenko for the Daily Telegraph supplement, 17 November 2015)

Upon Russia’s insistence, a truly inclusive multilateral process was launched in Vienna on Oct. 30 to help find a compromise solution to the Syrian crisis. Iran, a major player, took part for the first time, as well as China. All agreed to the U.S., Russia and the U.N. co-chairing the meeting. Heated exchanges took place on the issue of President Bashar al-Assad’s future. As was the case three years ago, this could derail the entire process. But ultimately it was agreed to disagree on that issue. Lack of agreement on this subject resulted in three more years of bloody impasse. We should know better than that this time. All the more so that those are the differences between the outside players. Why not leave it to the Syrians to decide?

17.11.2015 - Welcoming points at the Russian-British business forum, dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Trade Mission in the UK (17 November, 9.00, Royal Garden Hotel)

Ladies and gentlemen! I am delighted to welcome you at the Russian-British Business Forum, dedicated to such a significant date – the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Trade Mission in the United Kingdom. It gives me special pleasure to congratulate our colleagues on this occasion, since this trade delegation established to promote trade links with the United Kingdom in 1920 and headed by People's Commissar of Foreign Trade Leonid Krasin became the first in history Soviet Russia's trade representation abroad. In fact, it set an example for a whole network of Russian trade missions abroad, which are still successfully operating. Ever since its establishment the Trade Mission has continued to work hard to promote business relations between Russia and Great Britain. It helps companies in both countries to find partners and enter each other’s markets.

29.10.2015 - Russian Embassy on the Times editorial

Your editorial, which accompanied Ambassador Yakovenko’s interview (26 October) is full of grossly misleading statements on Russia’s foreign policy. May I set the record straight before your readership?

23.10.2015 - Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Financial Times”

Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Financial Times”

21.10.2015 - Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Guardian”

Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Guardian”

19.10.2015 - Why Russia had to intervene in Syria (article by Ambassador Yakovenko published in The Independent)

Combating international terrorism has long been one of the top priorities of Russia's foreign policy. We have been consistently advocating genuinely global efforts in countering that evil. The fight against terrorism must be conducted on a universal legal basis, starting with the UN Charter. That is why Russia has been unable to join the US-led “global coalition” against Isis. The coalition was established in circumvention of the UN Security Council, and its operations in Syria violate the sovereignty of that country.

13.10.2015 - "Russian airstrikes won't solve the crisis" because they are Russian? (article by Andrey A. Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, published in "The Scotsman")

Having read your leader comments "Russian airstrikes won't solve crisis" from 30th September and "Effort needed to rein in lone wolf" from 2nd October I cannot help but notice that they represent a U-turn compared to your previous instalments (for instance, from 17th July "Conservatives made to look very bad again" and from 21st July "PM needs to do more to beat IS").

12.10.2015 - Letter to the Editor of The Sunday Times

On 11 October 2015 The Sunday Times published the article “RAF ready to shoot down Russian aircraft over Syria” which referred to “three senior Cabinet ministers and senior Defence sources”. Given clarifications from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, stating publicly that “reports about RAF rules of engagement in Iraq are inaccurate”, one may conclude that your newspaper was spreading rumours, which could have grave consequences for our bilateral relationship with Britain, and far beyond.

11.10.2015 - Answer by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to Russian media question regarding Syria

- Can you comment on the British media reports that UK Government has given the green light to RAF pilots participating in the operation against ISIS in Iraq airspace, to shoot down Russian combat planes? - These media reports are worrying, as they refer to senior Cabinet members. We have urgently requested explanations from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

08.10.2015 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers media questions on Syria

QUESTION: According to official statements the British Government intends to request Parliament's consent to extend anti-Isis air strikes to Syria. In another development, the 'FT' reported that the West and its allies in the region on the eve of 30 September were planning to establish so called 'safe zones' and no-fly zones to protect them behind Russia's back. What could you say on that? ANSWER: Britain is a sovereign nation and is free to make her own decisions. But it has to be noted that Russia's military assistance is provided at the request of the Syrian Government, i.e. fully in line with international law. Will Damascus request the British to assist in the same way, I don't know.

all messages