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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

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.

You rightly admit that the Home Secretary's decision to hold this public inquiry was subject to political conjuncture and the Government changed its mind after the Malaysian airliner tragedy last July.

You tend, however, to give the benefit of the doubt to your own Government and broader establishment, rocked by scandals over the past few years. Why so much blind trust in your own? Of course, it is easier to tell the SNP what to do in Westminster and the major emerging economies to blame themselves for their woes rather than impending decision by the Feds. Why not, then, find something intrinsically Prussian, in terms of political culture, in the present German diktat to the Greeks?

Why not mind your British business thoroughly and ask why nobody has been until now held responsible for the British dead in the War in Iraq? The Chilcot Inquiry, by the way, equally lacks transparency. Is it because the establishment always knows better?

John Je Carre was famously quoted in your Lunch with FT: "intelligence services are a spiritual home of British political elite". This remark is highly relevant in Litvinenko's case. Why not to dispose of this case earlier, why secrecy, which more often than not serves as a cover-up for institutional incompetence and outright stupidity? If everything is all right, why not go public?

Unfortunately, it looks like a selective justice and the one that is not being seen done. In that it is akin to Stalin's open trials, when people were charged with espionage as a function of their deviation from the Party's General line. Here, too, the prosecution says that the Russian state had reasons to wish Litvinenko dead. Is it a good enough reason to make out the British case?

Samuel Johnson was famous, inter alia, in the Soviet Union for his aphorism "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Though it is to be regretted that his Dictionary became a source of estrangement with Lord Chesterfield. But still, why not urge bringing your own scoundrels to account. It is no minor matter that the wrong War in Iraq has led to an explosive mix of Islamic fanaticism and brains and guts of Iraqi Baathists and disbanded officer corps, which became a crucial factor in radicalization of British Muslims. The present migrant crisis in Calais and the Mediterranean has the same sources of flawed interventions and strategies in the Middle East and North Africa.

What comes to mind is the hounding by the jingoistic press of Sidney Herbert at the time of the Crimean War. Indeed, he was a grandson of Russian Ambassador Semyon Vorontsov. Though the Herberts and Sidneys have a lot to do with the Shakespearean authorship mystery/mystification, which for no obvious reason doesn't attract the English inquisitive mind.

I hope that the present day British media, including "FT", will do better not only for the sake of common decency, but also in the enlightened self-interest of Britain and its place in the world.

Yours truly,

 

Alexander Kramarenko
Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy




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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.


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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.


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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.


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone\'s sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?


03.07.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at breakfast event: Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia (3 July, British Museum)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m happy that Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia exhibition is gaining momentum. We have all seen the excellent teaser reviews in the papers. They are a good sign, but one always expects world class events from the State Hermitage and the British Museum. The public expectations are high and no doubt they will be met.



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