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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the opening of the 28th International Educational Christmas Readings, “The Great Victory: Heritage and Inheritors,” Moscow, January 27, 2020

Your Holiness, colleagues, friends,

I am happy to join you in greeting the hosts, participants and guests of the 28th International Educational Christmas Readings.

It is a great honour for me to be able to speak again at the opening of this forum, which has firmly established itself as a respected platform for a constructive and candid exchange of views on many key issues of our time. The initiatives and recommendations that are developed as part of it make a meaningful contribution to ensuring harmonious development in Russia, strengthening civil, inter-ethnic, and inter-faith peace and harmony, and to rallying society around eternal values.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of victory over Nazism. At the cost of inconceivable sacrifices and massive efforts that were unprecedented in world history, our country played a decisive role in destroying the Nazi war machine and liberating the European nations and the world in general from the brown plague and the ideology of Nazism.

The threat to the Fatherland required the full mobilisation of not only our economic and organisational potential, but spiritual aspects as well. The peoples of the former Soviet Union illustrated examples of outstanding unity, courage, fortitude, patriotism, and a willingness to give up their lives for a just cause.

The Russian Orthodox Church also contributed to this common effort. In the very first days of the war, it called upon everyone to defend the Motherland, organised fundraising for defence, provided moral support to soldiers and civilians, including those who ended up in a territory temporarily occupied by the enemy. It strongly condemned collaborators and traitors.

Regretfully, I have to note that the attempts to rewrite the history of the war and use it as a tool in dirty geopolitical games have increased. This scourge has severely affected a number of European states, in which the glorification of Nazi henchmen had, in fact, become part of state ideology and policy. The shameful attacks on the monuments and graves of the liberating soldiers continue in Ukraine, the Baltic countries, Poland, the Czech Republic and a number of other countries in an enlightened Europe. Their goal is clear. It is to rake up historical and political complexes and phobias, to radically revise the international legal results of World War II and the results of Victory, including the fundamental principles of state-to-state communication as found in the UN Charter.

It is regrettable that the memory of the war, its lessons and legacy are increasingly becoming prey to fleeting political interests. This is absolutely unacceptable. Contemporary and future politicians, statesmen and public figures must protect the good name of both living and fallen heroes, civilians, and the victims and accomplices of the Nazis. President Putin spoke emotionally about this in detail at the opening ceremony for the monument in honour of the Leningrad Siege and the Holocaust commemoration forum in Jerusalem on January 23. Our ministry is working hard to preserve the historical truth about the Great Patriotic War. In addition to our CSTO and CIS allies and partners, the vast majority of the international community agrees with us on this. The annual Russian initiative, On Combating Glorification of Nazism, traditionally enjoys widespread support at the UN. On December 18, 2019, at a plenary meeting of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, a resolution was approved which condemns attempts to acquit Nazi movement members and the organisations recognised as criminal by the Nuremberg Tribunal rulings. The unacceptability of the destruction or desecration of memorials in honour of the liberators was emphasised.

A special item, “The 75th anniversary of the end of World War II,” was included on the agenda of the current 75th session of the UN General Assembly at our suggestion. A special UN General Assembly meeting is scheduled to coincide with this anniversary.

Commemorative, awareness and cultural events are being held abroad as part of the Victory anniversary celebration. We assign a special role to cooperating with the associations of Russian compatriots who have already begun organising sociopolitical actions, such as the St George Ribbon, Memory Watch, Red Star of Victory and, of course, the Immortal Regiment. The growing participation of young people in patriotic actions, which were not ordered from above, but are held at the call of the heart, is critically important.

The anniversary celebrations will culminate in May 9 celebrations in Moscow. We anticipate the participation of many official delegations from foreign states, representatives of foreign public circles and veterans living abroad.

Your Holiness, colleagues,

The legal foundation of international architecture laid in the wake of the Great Victory remains the most important pillar in effectively overcoming the challenges and threats that are common to all peoples and in maintaining global and regional stability. This is what President Putin’s initiative on holding, this year, a special summit with the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which, under the UN Charter, have a special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, is designed to achieve. The leaders of China and France have already supported this initiative. It is called, in the most serious way, without politicisation or ideologisation, and without regard to electoral cycles, to consider ways to reduce tensions, which have been dangerously mounting in recent years, and to stop the world from sliding into confrontation.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic service will continue to do its best to counter attempts to falsify history. We are open to close cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional religions in our country in the interest of educating young people in the spirit of continuity of eras and generations and strengthening Russian society’s moral and spiritual foundations.

I know that these Christmas Readings will make the most important and effective contribution to these efforts. I wish all participants every success and good health in 2020.



07.04.2020 - President Vladimir Putin's message to Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson

Dear Prime Minister, Let me express my sincere support for you at this difficult moment. I am sure that your energy, optimism and sense of humour will help you defeat the illness. With all my heart, I wish you a speedy and full recovery. Sincerely yours, Vladimir Putin

23.03.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Saturday news show Vesti v Subbotu, Moscow, March 21, 2020

Question: For you, Sri Lanka is your youth. What did you feel when you came back here? We are now in the new Embassy building, while you worked in the old building. Still, what memories did it stir up from when you worked here? Sergey Lavrov: Of course, I mostly remember the old building where I worked for four years. I was an aide to Soviet Ambassador Rafik Nishanov, God bless him. We created a tight-knit group of MGIMO graduates and more experienced personnel, including first secretaries and councillors.

27.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the ceremony of signing a cooperation agreement between the Foreign Ministry, the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) and the Federal Archive Agency (Rosarkhiv) on information coverage of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Moscow, February 26, 2020

We have just signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS on covering the events that will be devoted to and are already being held to honour the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our Foreign Ministry has established very close, collaborative and friendly relations with our colleagues – the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS. We are combining the capabilities of federal executive bodies and our media on a very topical theme.

21.02.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's welcoming words at the reception to honour the Russian Armed Forces

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen, We have gathered today to honour the Russian Armed Forces. Our Army has seen many glorious victories. Those who liberated Europe and all humanity from fascism on the battlefields of the World War II are still among us. After that terrible war, 75 years ago, the leaders of the USSR, United Kingdom and United States agreed to create the United Nations Organisation designed to prevent such devastating tragedies.

19.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the joint news conference following Russian-Italian talks between foreign and defence ministers in the two-plus-two format, Rome, February 18, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my gratitude for the hospitality we traditionally receive in Italy. I completely agree that the fourth joint meeting between the Russian and Italian foreign and defence ministers was held in a constructive manner. The last time we met in this format was in 2013. We find that resuming work in this format is timely and important.

18.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following the 56th Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 17, 2020

The Munich Security Conference is over. You have seen all the speeches. Our media have already made assessments. I will be glad to answer your questions. Question: Did you discuss with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo President Donald Trump’s participation in the meeting of the UN Security Council permanent members proposed by Russia? Is the US position now clear? Did you discuss extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)? Did you manage to reach any agreement?

17.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the 56th Munich Security Conference, Global Disorder – Other Opportunities for a New Agenda, Munich, February 15, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Sadly, there are attempts to brazenly distort history and to equate the liberators of Europe with Nazi murderers. These attempts will remain on the conscience of those behind them. No one and nothing can belittle the decisive role of the Red Army and the Soviet people in defeating Nazism. At the same time, we will always keep in our minds the spirit of Alliance during the War and the ability of the states to unite and fight the common threat regardless of ideological differences.

10.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from Rossiyskaya Gazeta editorial office and its regional partners during a business breakfast, Moscow, February 10, 2020

Question: There are numerous reports in the media about preparations for the upcoming Defender-Europe 20 military exercise, due to take place this May in a number of Eastern European countries. This will be the largest US military exercise in the past 25 years. Given the considerable cooling in relations between Russia and NATO, are we witnessing the birth of a new Cold War?

06.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Prensa Latina News Agency, February 5, 2020

Question: What is your opinion of the new US punitive measures to toughen the embargo against Cuba that has been in place for almost 60 years? Sergey Lavrov: We can see that US attempts to reformat the Latin American region in line with its geopolitical interests aim to overthrow the “undesirable regimes” in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The archaic Monroe Doctrine serves as the ideological foundation. In the run-up to the presidential election, the White House continues to ratchet up sanctions against those states which preserve their national independence, sovereignty and identity. This openly anti-human policy runs counter to the generally accepted principles of international law, including the UN Charter.

03.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya 1 television channel for the documentary Antarctica: 200 Years of Peace, Moscow, February 2, 2020

Sergey Lavrov: Antarctica, which was discovered 200 years ago by the first Russian expedition of Faddey Bellinsgauzen and Mikhail Lazarev, is a continent where international relations, as it was decided after long disputes, are guided by the Antarctic Treaty signed 60 years ago. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty sets out the principles that regulate the activities of all countries in Antarctica. First of all, the contracting parties pledged to use Antarctica for peaceful purposes only, preserve its biological resources and prohibit all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific research (the latter provision was confirmed by the contracting parties for at least 50 years at their meeting in Madrid in 1991). The treaty also bans any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapons. There is also a provision on cooperation based on mutual respect and conducted in the interests of the whole of humankind.

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