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Interview by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to Nizhny Novgorod State Regional TV and Radio Company, 10 September 2014

Question: The Nizhny Novgorod Region has been a closed region for a long time. We had to work much to get a weight in the global community, including by making business trips to foreign countries and making presentations for foreign partners. Finally, 104 foreign delegations visited the region in 2013. What is your assessment of region’s international activities? What prospects does the Nizhny Novgorod Region have?

Sergey Lavrov: In general, the Nizhny Novgorod Region is famous not only for its cooperation with many foreign partners. First of all, this is one of the most quickly developing regions of Russia, the driver of foreign economic activities and international ties of the Near-Volga Federal District, the leading district in the Russian Federation by rate of industrial production and exports of high tech products. Such regions reinforce our positions in global markets and in international affairs in general.

We are cooperating with this region closely, helping to develop its foreign ties. We see that the region likes this work, which gives practical benefits. Investments are coming in a sufficiently fast way, and interested countries actively use the recently adopted decision on easement of investment practices, the “one window system”. According to our observations, also those coming from the MFA Representation in Nizhny Novgorod, it provides good results and we welcome this in all possible ways.

As far as I understand, now the Nizhny Novgorod Region accommodates companies from about 150 countries – CIS, West European states, European Union, China and India. Arab countries also show more and more interest. We actively welcome and support this. We always help the region to develop external ties to the extent this depends on us.

Question: The Third International business summit to discuss the key topic “Investments into the future: Russia” will open on the 10 – 12 September in Nizhny Novgorod. One of segments is to set up business ties between the Russian business community and representatives of business missions from League of Arab States member states, as well as Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, China and many others. Why is it important to hold such meetings in Russian regions?

Sergey Lavrov: We actively promote the experience of the Nizhny Novgorod Region in the use of various forms of foreign economy ties. We see a creative approach here: different formats are used, the Council of Business Cooperation of the Nizhny Novgorod Region and the Republic of Belarus is operating, and presentations are organised. I recall that in 2013 there was a presentation in Nizhny Novgorod for ambassadors from League of Arab States countries. At the same time travelling events are organised. For instance, this spring days of the Nizhny Novgorod Region were held in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Regional forums are one of creative and efficient forms of work with business and foreign business circles. There are many of them in Russia: Sochi, Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, Petersburg and many others. The region was lucky to find its “niche” and successfully uses its accumulated experience to promote interesting projects, which are attractive for foreign partners. I know that beside the business forum, which you have mentioned, the region holds the annual IT forum and the International Scientific and Industrial Forum, which have earned a solid reputation in Russian and foreign political and business circles – politicians always want to see how business introduces innovations into practical life, and use this in their activities.

I think that such forms in Russian regions are a ticket to the development of our country and attraction of necessary innovations, technology not only to Moscow and St Petersburg, but also to regions, including the Nizhny Novgorod Region and other constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Question: How much are the activities of the head of the region important for the creation of a positive image of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, in particular, and the country in general, in international ties, building-up relations with regional authorities, businessmen and public associations of other countries?

Sergey Lavrov: The role of the leader is always important. In this case, it is confirmed by the fact such results could hardly be achieved without constant attention of the leaders and the Governor.

We are cooperating closely with the Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, Valery Pavlinovich Shantsev, to promote our joint interests on the international stage and helping the region to successfully demonstrate its “products”. In this regard, I would like to somewhat update the formula, which you have used: you said that it is important to promote the positive image of Russia abroad; I would say objective rather than positive. We have nothing to hide. We are ready to show our approaches and positions openly. We want that the opinions about us are formed based on objective facts rather than some thoughts. I assure you that when other see use objectively, their perceptions will be positive.

Question: You visited Nizhny Novgorod in 2012. What were your impressions and what did you manage to see?

Sergey Lavrov: A did not manage to see a lot. I hope to compensate that during my next visit.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.

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