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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

15.06.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at the British Library exhibition "Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths"

The exhibition "Hope, Tragedy, Myths" gives an excellent insight into the tragic events of 1917: why the revolution started, how it unfolded and evolved into the civil war. It explores the ideas behind the conflict and gives a comprehensive and accurate image. The exhibition gives a unique opportunity to see original documents related to the key personalities of the Russian history, and not only politicians - the section telling the story of the Russian emigration has valuable documents on Russian literature history.


26.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s address at the RBCC Business Forum (25 May, “BMA House”, London)

It is my pleasure to welcome the participants of the annual Business Forum held under the auspices of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. Whatever the political situation, the Chamber has always been successful in its mission to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties (“Russo-British Chamber of Commerce” was registered on the 23rd of October, 1916, in London as a joint-stock company with the aim “to promote trade between the British and Russian Empires”).


19.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at opening of the "Travels in Holy Russia with the Temple Gallery” exhibition

Dear Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, It’s a real honor for me to be here today at the opening of exhibition of photographs: "Travels in Holy Russia with the Temple Gallery”.


11.05.2017 - The Worshipful Mayor of Southwark speech on Victory Day (May 9 2017, Imperial War Museum)

I welcome you all here today at the Soviet War Memorial as we remember those who gave their lives during the Second World War on the 72nd anniversary of the victory of the allied forces in Europe.


09.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial (London, 9 May 2017)

Today we honour and remember men and women who fought heroically, sacrificing their lives in the fight against fascism. We also honour all those who selflessly toiled at factories to bring the Victory Day nearer. All those who suffered one way or another, went through all the hardships and tragedies of that war


17.04.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers the Daily Mail questions (17 April 2017)

1. Theresa May said today (Thursday) that Russia was on the “wrong side of the argument” when it comes to Syria, what is your response to that? Answer: With all my respect for Prime Minister Theresa May I’ve got to say that the opposite is true. Even former British Ambassador in Damascus Peter Ford (on the BBC the other day) said that there is no moderate opposition alternative to the present government is Syria. That’s why there is urgent need for lasting ceasefire and political process among the Syrians, so that they can decide for themselves. It seems that our Western partners don’t like this approach and want to decide for the Syrians who will take part in the political process and who shall not. I think the reason is they know well what the choice of the Syrians is going to be after the 6 years of civil war.


10.04.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's opening remarks at Quantum Workshop (7 April 2017)

I am honoured to be at the opening the Trilateral Quantum Workshop organised by the Russian Quantum Centre. This is an unprecedented and very timely event. Even as somebody rather uninitiated in quantum science, I hear more and more about the advances in this area and find myself reading up on the basics of quantum technology. Luckily, wider public now has the benefit of learning more from Internet.


17.03.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko about learning Russian: talking points for BBC interview

Foreign languages are an essential skill in the modern world. For example, in Russia, English is taught in all schools, mostly as primary and sometimes as secondary foreign language (2 foreign languages are now mandatory). Russian, the language that has most native speakers in Europe, is equally important for economic, cultural and political reasons. Learning Russian is in high demand in Asia, including China. Today you don’t even need to physically attend classes – online education is available, in some cases even for free, by Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Moscow State University and RT TV channel. In UK, the demand for Russian is high: 21% of British employers are looking for Russian-speaking staff – this is no wonder since 600 British companies are working in our country, and the prospects are good: GDP is expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent this year.


15.03.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at Valentina Tereshkova concert (March 14, Ambassador’s Residence)

It’s an honour and real pleasure for me to welcome a legendary woman – Dr Valentina Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut, engineer, politician, mother and friend. You are a real Russian star, our pride and a true example of patriotism.


12.03.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko's interview for Sunday Express

Q: As a precursor to Boris Johnson's visit to Moscow in the coming weeks, what is your understanding of the nature of the visit and the purpose of the invitation - given that he will be the most senior UK Government official to visit the Kremlin in a good number of years? What message does Russia hope that the visit will send to the rest of the world? A: It is going to be the first working visit at Foreign Ministers' level in our bilateral relation over the past three years. We hope that it means that our British partners are interested in resumption of political dialogue.



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