5 October 2015
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London: 04:59

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Remarks by Ambassador Yakovenko at the meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on cooperation with Russia

Moving from the wider cooperation between Russia and the United Kingdom I'm glad to say that we always pay attention to promoting genuine and fruitful regional interaction.

Given its cultural and economic resources and the long historical tradition of interchanges, Scotland is no doubt an important partner for us, and there is a massive potential for cooperation here.

We have an increasing number of high profile contacts. This year, for example, Scotland was visited by the Russian Minister of Culture and the Russian President's Cultural Adviser, as well as senior delegation from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, local authorities develop their links. In 2012, the cooperation between Scottish town of Stirling and Russian town of Vyborg was finally underpinned by the formal agreement.

Strengthening parliamentary relations is our objective too, of course. Establishment of your group is a very significant gesture and I can't but praise it. As you may remember Holyrood was visited by the Russian parliamentary delegation in 2011. In this regard I would like to confirm that once you feel ready, we would be glad to elaborate on the visit of the Scottish delegation to Moscow.

One of the pillars of our partnership is culture. Maestro Gergiev has been a regular guest at the Edinburgh International Festival and is its honorary president since the last year. Just recently National Museum of Scotland hosted a marvelous exhibition from world-renowned Hermitage that I was, be the way, pleased to see myself. The Edinburgh International Culture Summit, which was a great success, was attended by our minister of culture Mr Vladimir Medinskiy. Meanwhile, following the meeting between the advise on culture to the President of Russia Mr Vladimir Tolstoy and Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop a few projects are developed now between the Leo Tolstoy Museum in Russia and Scottish culture organisations.

Let's not forget educational and academic cooperation. Edinburgh University is a good example here. I have just met the Principal of the University Sir Timothy and glad to be the guest of the centre opened jointly by Scottish and Russian sides. We also appreciate and value the work performed by the Scotland-Russia Forum.

We are always open to the new opportunities to develop and diversify business links. This is the case with Scotland, of course. Both economies have much to offer today and would readily accept foreign contributions both in the form of markets and exports or investments. It's a pleasure to note the approach of the Scottish Government that welcomes and assists in strengthening economic ties of Scotland and promotes it as a rewarding economic partner and investment destination. Scottish companies' expertise and high-quality services, particularly dealing with oil and gas, are very much appreciated in Russia. At the same time we can provide our partners with the best practices, resources, unique goods and services in some areas.

I believe, developing tourism is very promising. Certainly, facilitation of the vise regime would contribute to increasing numbers of the Russian tourists. It will also make people-to-people contacts easier.

Finally, meeting the members of the Cross-Party Group on Russian today I'd like to express our appreciation to the Scottish Parliament and also to the Scottish Government for the support for the efforts at developing links with Russia.


23.09.2015 - In times of official sulk, culture and people lead the way (Ambassador A.Yakovenko for RBTH, 22 September 2015)

Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alexander Yakovenko, about the biggest exhibition of Soviet space artefacts ever seen outside Russia.

19.09.2015 - Transcript of Ambasador Yakovenko's interview for Rossiya TV, 17 September 2015

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of Jeremy Corbyn being elected by an overwhelming, mostly young people's majority, the new leader of the Labour party and, thus, leader of the official parliamentary opposition. This is nothing short of a radical breakthrough in British politics of the last 30 years, which have never stepped beyond the so-called Thatcherist neo-liberal consensus of the establishment. In fact, the establishment, mostly under the pretext of the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, proceeded from the premises that the new era is one of single-option policies, particularly in social and economic matters. This absence of pluralism was all the more visible against the backdrop of an economic downturn as austerity was being enforced upon people despite the fact that, according to independent experts, it offered no solution to the crisis. Now financial inequality is on the rise, the middle class is shrinking, the post-war 'social contract', which aimed to build a social economy or what one might call capitalism with a human face, has been practically scrapped.

16.09.2015 - Ambassador A.Yakovenko on reception at the Russian Embassy to mark the opening of the “Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space age” exhibition

It’s a pleasure and honour for me to welcome you all at this reception to mark tomorrow’s grand opening of the exhibition “Cosmonauts: birth of the space age” at the Science Museum.

19.08.2015 - Russian Embassy to "Financial Times" on Ukraine

14.08.2015 - Comments of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko on some issues of WWII to the “Independent”

May I join the debate sustained by Anthony Beevor and Mick Hall (11 August). Nobody denies that crimes were committed. But what is not taken into account is the fact that the Red Army (unlike, let’s say, the Americans) saw what the Germans had done on their soil on their way from Stalingrad to Berlin. Almost every soldier and officer had personal accounts to settle. That is why strict discipline was enforced as the Red Army entered German territory, including by the security bodies nobody liked.

14.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comments for Russian media (ITAR-TASS Agency) on the state of Russo-British relationship (30 July, translated from Russian)

QUESTION: What would you say on the present state of our relationship with Britain? It looks like after the May parliamentary elections our countries resumed contacts at political level, if we take the phone call of Prime Minister D.Cameron with President V.Putin and Ph.Hammond and S.Lavrov's meeting in Veinna. Still, the same very tough rhetoric by official London at all levels against Russia over the Ukraine crisis is striking. I mean the statements on 'Russian aggression' etc, and all of it in company with the 'Islamic State' and hacking attacks. Where are things moving, and are there changes for the better?

07.08.2015 - Regarding the comment made by the Home Office on issuing visas to the Russian Embassy staff

We have carefully examined the statement of the Home Office concerning the terms of issuing visas for Russian diplomats and other Embassy staff. In particular, it was said (quoted by "Novosti" news agency) that "diplomats must have right documents to come into UK". Does it mean that the Russian diplomatic and service passports raise suspicions of the British side? Our main concern, however, is delays in issuing visas for the Embassy staff. The Home Office spokesman, avoiding a direct reply, referred to what was said on entry into UK territory by all Russian citizens, which is "making sure false representations were not used to obtain the visa, and no facts were withheld".

06.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comments on the “public inquiry” into the “Litvinenko case”

In 2014 judicial authorities of Great Britain suspended a Coroner’s inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, wherein the Investigative Committee of Russia had the status of an “interested person”. In July 2014, against the background of the tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine, the British government decided to hold, instead, a “public inquiry”.

05.08.2015 - Reply by press-secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the UK to Russian media question on UK’s diminishing Russian diplomatic presence in Great Britain

Question: How do you assess the current bilateral relations between Russia and the UK on the visa track, have you advanced? Answer: The word “progress” means moving forward. That does not apply to the present picture of our bilateral relationship as the British side is trying to shape it.

03.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comment on the "Financial Times" editorial on the Litvinenko case

Dear Sir, I find outrageous your editorial on the Litvinenko public inquiry (3 August). It proceeds from the assumption that the inquiry is up to the standards of due process and a competitive scrutiny of evidence it provides for. It is far from that. In the first place, there is nothing public in the inquiry, which will consider the British special services' evidence in secret. It was the main reason, why Russia's Investigative Committee, participating in the Coroner's inquest (now suspended), decided not to be party to the public inquiry. It is notable that one line of evidence in the public inquiry is totally absent. I mean the fact of finding traces of polonium in the restaurant Abracadabra in Jermyn Street two days before Alexander Litvinenko was presumably poisoned in the Millennium Hotel. The owner David West was killed later on and his restaurant closed. Then another crucial witness Boris Berezovsky died under the circumstances, not established by the Coroner's inquest, which ended in an open verdict. Not to mention that any evidence, including his intention to return to Russia, was pushed aside to ensure that suicide version had no credible alternative.

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