17 November 2018
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258 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     250 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



The West is mean to Russia, but let’s be friends (by Ambassador Yakovenko for The Telegraph)

Russia and Britain have joint experience and interests, which can be a good starting point for improving relations.
Nearly a fortnight ago, on June 12, we celebrated Russia’s national day – always a good opportunity to reflect on our country and her relations with the rest of the world, including Britain.
Our bilateral relationship with England and Britain has a long history. We’ve had our ups and downs. Yet, it is important – and symbolic – that we were on the same side at critical junctures of European and world history, including the fight against Nazi Germany.
The events marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day drew attention to those things that transcend ideology and immediate political imperatives. For example, we held numerous ceremonies to present Ushakov medals, our Naval honour, to British veterans of the Arctic convoys.
Of course, our relationship at the moment isn’t ideal: permanent members of the UN Security Council should have better ties and co-operation. While sometimes it can help matters to change the frame of debate (which we have done, emphasising cultural projects and people-to-people exchanges), both parties suffer when the scale of dialogue is diminished.
The telephone conversation between Prime Minister Cameron and President Putin last month was a good place to start the resumption of our political relationship. We’ll always differ on some issues, which is precisely why we need to keep in close touch, to maintain weatherproof channels of communication. But we shouldn’t leave it till we miss the other party badly.
After the Crimean War, our Foreign Minister, Alexander Gorchakov, wrote in his famous dispatch that Russia was not cross, she was just mustering her forces. The same is true now, as President Putin has said on several occasions.
If we accept the so-called Heartland theory of that great 19th-century strategist Sir Halford Mackinder that, in a continuous struggle between land and sea powers, the ultimate victory will go to the land power, Russia is in the right place geographically and geopolitically – she occupies the global Heartland. What else need we aspire to?
None of our interests is fundamentally incompatible with Europe’s common good, in 21st-century terms, when it comes to regional security. The other day, the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, spoke of “the fragility of the EU’s democratic legitimacy”. Indeed, you can see this in how Brussels bureaucracy acted in Ukraine, without public debate, real talks, honest assessment of the costs and consequences – trying to get its expansionism on the cheap.
What is more, the reported American intention to deploy nuclear missiles again on the European continent will recreate a Dr Strangelove moment, destroying the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to which the United States and Soviet Union signed up in 1987, and fastening Europe once more to the ball and chain of Cold War politics. The Russo-German reconciliation, one of the pillars of peace in Europe, is also America’s target.
It is through no fault of her own that Russia finds herself on the side of those who challenge European elites and their perceived status quo. What is the status quo when the world is in a state of flux? And what is the status quo for Ukraine?
The latest Chatham House report on Russia and the G7 summit in Bavaria provides further evidence of this disconnect: preaching to the converted in a language nobody understands, or cares to listen to or read. Attempts to contain Russia and stifle her dissenting voice through a deliberately engineered crisis in Ukraine are utterly counterproductive, not only in European affairs, but also globally.
Let’s not forget that the Crimean War was qualified by historians as unnecessary – a gross understatement. This time, as Tom Graham wrote recently in the Financial Times, the West’s quarrel with Russia is nothing short of “geopolitical malfeasance”, with the distracting impact far from being limited to the Middle East.
As for the G7, Russia finds herself more comfortable outside this enclosure – not in history’s way, but on its side. Our loyalty to our G8 partners was increasingly a political and moral liability. We are free now, and can speak up, particularly about the destructive efforts to impose an austerity narrative on the rest of the world.

In 1714, Lord Chesterfield famously said that England was too large a country for George I. Let me assure you that the world is not too big for Russia. We accept it in all its diversity and complexity, not with our eyes shut. We are not going to react in kind to the West treating us, as James Joyce put it, with “scrupulous meanness”.
Our genuine hope is that, based on the recent experience of jointly managing the Ukraine crisis, and the growing awareness of the new threats and challenges to our common security, we’ll set to work on the menace of terrorism and finding ways to sustain development of our societies.
I am sure that Russia and Britain, working together, have much to contribute to achieving these worthy goals.



09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.

24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.

03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.

14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

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.

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