18 February 2018
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Letter to the editor of the Economist (by Ambassador Yakovenko)

Dear Sirs,


Like many Russian citizens, I do have a problem with your highly biased piece on the Great Patriotic War (The Economist, May 2nd 2015).


First, in their arrogance the authors overlook the fact that WWII was utterly critical in moulding our national identity, pretty much the same as WWI was for Britain. Notwithstanding ideology or regime, Russia, as at the time of Napoleon, was doomed by history to pay dearly for another total failure of European politics. Shall I refer you to R.Kipling’s Tommy to make the point? The Munich did set a precedent and as the Phoney War would show, Moscow could rely on the word of Paris and London in 1939, as much as did Warsaw.


Second, if only for the enormity of our sacrifice and the fact that nobody else was capable of stopping and destroying the German war machine, that experience transcends everything else. But the War established a very intimate relationship between us and allies, including Britain. It was of the type Virginia Woolf discussed in her Russian point of view, dwelling on the difference between the words “mate” and “brother”. This brotherhood (you mention it as a thing of the past) is for ever, and the sentiment is not only kept alive by us, but by the British veterans as well, in particular those who went to sea on the Arctic convoys. Even the possibility of our present debate was paid for with the blood of the Soviet people, including the Russians.


Third, what is happening in Ukraine has a lot to do with history. It was nationalistic and repressive regimes, like the one taking shape in Ukraine with the Western acquiescence, that brought about WWII. Those who determine what the Kiev authorities do or doesn’t do, take up, quite openly, the cause of the nationalists who fought on the German side and committed crimes against humanity. They were not a kind of third force, say, like the Polish Armia Krajowa. No wonder, that the Ukraine crisis is increasingly viewed in Russia as unfinished business of WWII.


Fourth, in our time State sovereignty is no carte blanche to suppress one’s own citizens. You chose to disregard the open letter to President Poroshenko by many Ukraine scholars last month, for its criticism is deemed politically incorrect. But it makes a critical point on the huge gap between the Kiev authorities’ policies, including imposition of their historical narrative on the entire population, and the perceived European values or the ideals of Maidan.


May I refer to Professor Geoffrey Roberts, who wrote (FT, 6 May): “The Second world war was far more than a geopolitical contest. It was a struggle for the future of Europe, and European civilization was saved from Hitler and Nazi barbarism by the colossal sacrifices of the Soviet people and the Red Army.”


Yours truly,


Alexander Yakovenko

Russian Ambassador



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Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.

26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.

29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?

18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.

05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.

05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

30.09.2017 - Russia’s initiative on protecting SMM OSCE in South-East of Ukraine (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 5th September, at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced an initiative to establish the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine.

25.09.2017 - Eurasian Economic Union today (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Though hardly noticeable in the Western media, the Eurasian economic cooperation is booming, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) becoming an increasingly effective integration project. The unique format of enhanced economic coordination along with the EAEU member states’ retained political sovereignty and cultural identity is proving itself.

25.09.2017 - On Russia's assistance to Central Asia (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia attaches great importance to the issue of sustainable development as it is underlined by the UN. Among our priorities in this area is the development of Central Asia. We contribute to the development of this region on a regular basis, regardless of the global economic crisis and its negative effect on Russia’s economy. In today’s world, international aid is often politically motivated and aimed at exerting one’s influence. Russia has a different approach.

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