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Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at Joseph Brodsky monument unveil ceremony (Keele University, 6 June 2016)

Dear Vice-Chancellor,
Ladies and gentleman,
It is an honour for me to be here today, on the Day of the Russian Language. This holiday is celebrated on the birthday of our national poet Alexander Pushkin, whose descendants lived in this house, making it a special place for every Russian. Years later, this house became one of the main centres of Russian language and literature studies in Britain, to a great measure thanks to the efforts of Professor Valentina Polukhina, who will be celebrating her jubilee in a few days' time. She made Keele a home away from home for dozens of Russian poets, including Joseph Brodsky, who came here twice in his lifetime and today returns as a sculpture.
Brodsky didn't particularly like monuments. From his poems, two of which are dedicated to statues of Pushkin, one gets the impression that he saw them as something heavy and dead. In another poem, also paraphrasing Pushkin, he said that his own mind was his monument. And indeed, Brodsky's innovative and deep verse and essay in Russian and English say more than any statue would say. Still, the work of the young Russian sculptor Kirill Bobylev reflects as lively as bronze can the sublime and restless mind of the poet. I'm sure that this convincing portrayal of inspiration will itself inspire the students of Keele to read Brodsky and other Russian poets and writers, classical and contemporary.
In his Nobel Prize lecture the poet said: "for someone who has read a lot of Dickens, to shoot his like in the name of some idea is more problematic than for someone who has read no Dickens". This obviously can be referred to Brodsky himself as well. This is why despite the political tensions Russia and UK agreed to hold in 2016 a Year of Language and Literature - to foster cultural affinity as a vehicle of mutual understanding. Dickens and Brodsky, Shakespeare and Pushkin are in this way alive and working for peace.
Having said this, I have the pleasure to unveil this beautiful monument.
Welcome, Iosif Aleksandrovich!



03.12.2016 - Russian Embassy Spokesman comment on PMO’s statement on East Aleppo

Question: PMO spokeswoman told Daily Mail that “Russia should use its influence with the Assad regime to stop these appalling atrocities in Aleppo and let humanitarian aid through”. What is your comment on that? Answer: It seems that our British partners prefer living in denial, finding comfort in what is said to be a post-truth world. That is if the reality doesn’t suit their five-year old narrative tant pis for the reality.

30.11.2016 - Letter to the Editor, FT Magazine, sent on 24 November

Sir, I feel entitled to comment on Simon Kuper's `Trump: a liberal loser responds` (FT.com/Magazine November 19/20 2016), for he mentioned `the Russian taxi driver in Paris 1920's`, thus laying claim, in the name of Western liberal elite, to the fate of the White Russians. The present situation plainly doesn't fit the description for there is no prospect of armed civil war nor being driven out of one's own country.

24.11.2016 - Letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, published on 24 November 2016

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, published on 24 November 2016

24.11.2016 - Letter to the Editor of Financial Times, sent on 18 November 2016

Sir, It was surreal to read (“Aleppo residents suffer ‘surrender or starve’ onslaught”, 18 November) concerns about the wellbeing of Aleppo children voiced precisely by Nour al-Din al-Zinki group, best known for beheading a 12 year old boy in July.

21.10.2016 - Letter to the Editor of Financial Times, published on 19 October 2016

Sir, You are right to suggest (“America’s dilemma over Russian cyber attacks”) that international agreements on the rules of conduct in cyberspace are necessary. We realized it long ago, when Moscow proposed to Washington to hold consultations on the issue.

19.10.2016 - Russian Embassy on Philip Stephens' piece in “FT”

Philip Stephens (“How the West has lost the world”, 14 October) sows panic over the present state of the world. The world is not a thing to be lost or acquired. Everybody agrees that the world is undergoing a radical transformation. In fact, it is a living thing, so is in a state of constant change. Why panic? After all, the Western elites relied on automatic extension of their empire to the rest of the world after the Cold War. Why not allow laws of physics to continue doing the job? What is wrong with the Westphalian principles?

12.07.2016 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, Baku, July 12, 2016

During our discussion last evening and this morning we reviewed the spectrum of bilateral, regional and international issues. Let me highlight the long and frank conversation we had yesterday with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, which mostly focused on the objectives we all face regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As my colleague and friend Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov has said, this discussion was quite helpful. It will help us move forward along the lines outlined by the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia during their June 20 meeting in St Petersburg.

06.04.2016 - "Russia’s strategy based on diplomacy backed by force" (Letter to the Editor, FT)

Sir, In his otherwise brilliant analysis “The self-induced twilight of the west” (April 4), Edward Luce has got some things wrong. Particularly, he is uncritical of the US military’s allegation of the Russian Air Force “weaponising refugees” with no evidence provided. It is well known that the exodus of refugees from Turkey to Europe started well before we intervened militarily on September 30 2015.

23.03.2016 - Letter sent to the Editor of the FT on March 17

In his article “Lev Gumilev. Passion, Putin and Power” (FT Weekend Magazine, 12/13 March) Charles Clover omits crucial points in Lev Gumilev’s theory of passionarnost. Any simplification to fit some predetermined conclusion leads to distortion. In this particular case, omitted is the idea (supported by diagrams, which, by the way, are surprisingly in line with those of Oswald Spengler in his culturological “Decline of Europe”) of each ethnos having a peak in the development of its civilisation. It is the peak of passionarnost, i.e. its ability to make/create history.

23.03.2016 - Letter to the Editor of The Times, sent on 22 March

For quite a while the British Government has been referring to perceived Russia/the Kremlin’s interest in the Brexit debate. Unfortunately, Oliver Kamm makes the same point in the Times (“Brexit would play into the hands of Putin”, 21 March).

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