15 December 2017
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

14.02.2017

UK – RUSSIA YEAR OF SCIENCE AND EDUCATION: THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP? (Robin Grimes, FCO Chief Scientific Adviser, Part of Global Science and Innovation Network)

At the end of the classic film Casablanca, Rick says to the Chief of Police “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”. So, as we embark upon a year of UK Russia Science & (Science) Education events, what do we expect our scientific relationship to look like 12 months from now? There are some crucial points to bear in mind.

Firstly, it will be about dialogue. That doesn’t mean we will always agree. In fact, if we do, that would be a failure. Scientists need to argue, but through that process they make progress – and anyway they generally make up and reach consensus.

Secondly, we should embrace the unexpected outcome. Russia and the UK have very different education systems, which gives rise to different thinking and the ability to consider problems from different angles: But isn’t that exactly what we want? Real scientific progress happens when problems, the big problems, are addressed using a combination of different approaches. If we always look at issues from the same perspective we are unlikely to achieve the best results – there is a growing appreciation that scientific co-operation across borders is more productive than co-operation within.

Courtesy of Aleksei Zotov (British Council)

Thirdly, we will need to make a bit of a splash, a bit of a noise, to grab people’s imaginations. Well we’ve started in the best possible way. The first external mention of the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education was during the unveiling, at the London Science Museum, of British Astronaut Tim Peake’s Russian re-entry module – a great event that also demonstrated the increasingly close relationship between our Space Agencies and museums. The next day we officially launched the Year of Science and Education in Moscow at the TASS news agency. British Council are leading the UK contribution and their Chief Executive, Sir Ciarán Devane spoke at the launch. Following remarks by Russia’s Deputy Minister for Education and Science, Ludmila Ogorodova, I added my bit and importantly delivered a message of good-will from the Foreign Secretary who said that “when the UK followed British Astronaut Tim Peake’s journey into space on board a Russian-made spacecraft, alongside his Russian cosmonaut colleagues” it was “a reminder of what can be achieved by working together.”

Courtesy of Aleksei Zotov (British Council)

Finally, it must be about young people. We will have a number of events aimed at developing links between the next generations of Russian and British scientists. That doesn’t mean we ignore all the great achievements of previous collaborations. Of course, ‘celebrations of excellence’ are part of the way we encourage activity, including that by younger people. There will be a number of events where we look back. For example, at an event looking back at Mendeleev’s 19th century work on what he termed the Periodic System, later expanded into the Periodic Table, we shall also celebrate last years’ brand new additions to the Periodic Table.

We do not yet know just how many events there will be during the Year. Last year’s Year of Language and Culture had just about 100, so we ought to try to beat that! And, before you say that it’s about quality not quantity – agreed – it’s always nice to aim for both! Certainly we have great supporters for events: The Royal Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry are already planning activities, as is the Natural History Museum.

There are always lots of stories about how we came to where we are in science, which almost always come down to person-to-person relationships. So, as we embark upon the UK Russia Year of Science and Education, clearly this is not so much the beginning of a relationship but another opportunity to remind ourselves of the great things we have done, are doing and shall do. And will it be beautiful? Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so let’s re-visit it in a year.




LATEST EVENTS

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.


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?



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