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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

13.06.2017

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s speech at Russia’s National Day Reception (13 June 2017, London)

Your Royal Highness,

Excellencies,

Dear friends,

It is a privilege to welcome you all at my Residence on the occasion of Russia’s National Day. Thanks God for fine weather. Hope you will enjoy the time at our place.

Ever since my country embarked upon the path of radical change 30 years ago, we have had a difficult, even painful journey. It was the price of profound transformation of a society, aspiring for freedom and justice. We abandoned any ideology as alien to common sense and real needs of real people. We have been seeing those tough decisions bearing fruit.

But that is a journey that never ends for there is no such a thing as an end of history. Russia is again one of the leading nations of the world, doing its bit in countering global threats and challenges, among them climate change and the scourge of international terrorism.

One of the lessons we learnt early on is the fact that post-Cold War the world changed for all. Problems of development have come on top of national and international agendas. The Western nations make no exclusion from this global trend. The same issues of adapting socio-economic and political models to the imperatives of our time have caught up with the West. There is a lot of talk of deglobalisation or the need to do something about globalisation’s overreach, which left many behind.

It seems that whatever could be done collectively, through broad international cooperation, economic growth has got to be restored within each nation, first of all, by way of national effort. Some external factors, like sanctions and drastic fall in the price of oil, helped drive that message home for us. Thanks to that Russia is now in a better position to withstand bad international weather, to ensure stability at home and security on our borders and in wider regions adjoining Russia east and west, north and south.

The scale and outcomes of the recent Saint-Petersburg International Economic Forum provide ample proof that those efforts and policies are paying off in terms of our own prosperity and attractiveness for international business partners.

Whatever the state of our bilateral relationship with Britain, we have always been of the view that there is much more to it than political dialogue and the whole range of intergovernmental cooperation.

Although we are always willing to resume political contacts whenever our British partners are ready for that. And let me be frank with you. We expect that with each political change here, in Britain. We’ll never give up hope and will have enough strategic patience. All the more so, that the international issues, on which we are at odds, are being managed multilaterally, either with direct participation of Britain or with participation of her close allies.

In the meantime we focus on people-to-people exchanges, especially in the cultural area, and, of course, on trade and economic ties between British and Russian business. Those have always been, and are especially now, the two pillars of our bilateral relations beyond mere diplomatic ones. For example, this year is our bilateral Year of Science and Education. We are also doing our best in the area of public diplomacy, including in digital media.

Thus, we have been able to keep up our relationship in a way that steadily contributes to better understanding and building up of mutual confidence between our two nations.

Today, as has become a tradition, it gives me a special pleasure to present letters of recognition to a number of persons who have made an outstanding contribution to cultural cooperation between Russia and Britain in the past months. 

May I invite Dr Rosalind Blakesley – a scholar of Russian painting, curator of last year's very successful exhibition "Russia and the Arts" at the National Portrait Gallery. Her book "The Russian Canvas" is a real discovery of Russian XVIII and XIX century painting and winner of this year's Pushkin Prize. 

The second is Dr Natalia Murray, a distinguished art scholar, her achivements include curating the recent "Revolution" exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Let me continue with Ms Susan Reed, who also curated an extraordinary exhibition, this time the ongoing event "Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths" at the British Library. Ms Reed together with Ekaterina Rogachevskaya, who is not here today and to whom the letter of recognition will be presented separately, has succeeded in delivering an insightful exhibition which gives an excellent illustration to the turbulent period in our history 100 years ago.

Next is Ms Eszter Steierhoffer yet another curator, responsible for the "Imagine Moscow" exhibition at the newly reopened Design Museum, exploring early Soviet ideas in architecture.

I would also like to present letters of recognition to two very active members of the Russian community in Northern Ireland, Ms Oksana Shelest and Ms Elena Geddis, of the First Russian School in Belfast. In just 4 years they have organized many events in Belfast and other towns of Northern Ireland, built excellent relations with the local government and communities. 

Thank you very much and enjoy the day.




LATEST EVENTS

20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.


21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.


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



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