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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

27.09.2016

Speech by Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko at the RBCC Centenary Business Forum

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Exactly one hundred years ago (23rd October 1916) the RBCC was incorporated into Joint Stock Company in London aimed at “promotion of commerce between the British and Russian Empires”. It is remarkable that the RBCC has survived not only the two Empires but also two World Wars and the Cold War.

          Despite the fact that the Cold War has been made history, the Russian-British relationship in the recent years have been, regrettably, far from satisfactory. Let me be frank: a number of confrontational steps taken by the former British government has had a negative impact on trade and economic co-operation in general (bilateral trade declined by 50 percent in 2015 to US 11,2 bn).

Notwithstanding external pressure and unfavorable market situation, the Russian economy has held ground and began to recover. That has been possible largely due to an anti-crisis program launched by the Russian Government. The main aims of the program are to optimise public spending, support import substitution, recapitalise the banking system. Russia ranks 51st in the 2016 World Bank Ease of Doing Business index, coming well ahead of China, Brazil and India (who ranked 84, 116 and 130 accordingly). We have succeeded in bringing inflation dramatically down to 6 percent. This will allow us to harness a wide range of domestic development mechanisms. Next year we expect a revival of the GDP growth (at about 1 percent a year).

Let me stress that Russia is still open to resumption of constructive cooperation with the United Kingdom on a wide range of international and bilateral issues of mutual interest. We expect the new British Government to adopt a more balanced approach to Russia in general. At least, the recent meetings between Vladimir Putin and Theresa May on the margins of the G20 summit in China and of Sergey Lavrov and Boris Johnson at the UN General Assembly Session in New York, which have been held in a constructive manner, have inspired hope for a gradual normalisation.

We are satisfied with the progress of our business cooperation. Around 600 British companies continue to operate in Russia. In the course of the 2016 St Petersburg International Economic Forum a number of important bilateral deals were signed, including between such top players as Rosneft and BP, who will start joint exploration of large oil and gas deposits in Eastern Siberia. And between Gazprom and Shell on their “Baltyiskiy” and “Sakhalin-2” joint LNG production projects.

Regular biannual meetings of the Russo-British Joint Liaison Group on Creating International Financial Centre in Moscow continue to take place. Heads of BP, Shell, Unilever, AstraZeneca and others regularly take part in the meetings of the Foreign Investment Consultative Council chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; the next one is to take place on 17th October. All these British companies are members of the RBCC.

To summarise, I would say that despite the variable climate of Russian-British political relations over last century, the RBCC has always continued to be successful in fulfilling its main mission – to effectively promote the development of mutually beneficial business ties between our two countries. In this endeavour, the RBCC may always count on the support of the Russian Embassy and Russian Government at large.

I wish all the participants of this RBCC’s Centenary Business Forum successful and fruitful work!




LATEST EVENTS

13.12.2016 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for The Daily Mail (full text)

Question: Does Russia hope for better co-operation (both political and military) with the UK and how can this be achieved/ what would this look like? Answer: Unlike MI-6 Director Alex Younger’s portrayal of Russia, I can assure you that Russia doesn’t view Britain as a strategic adversary, and it just cannot be. There is nothing strategic for us to contest. We hope for real cooperation, not war of words, primarily in the fight against terrorism, including military and special services cooperation, in political settlement in Syria and other international issues.


05.12.2016 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers to media question regarding Russia’s efforts in Syria

Question: What is Russia’s position on a draft UNSC resolution on Aleppo recently presented to the Security Council? Answer: We believe that the introduction of this draft is utterly counterproductive. In the coming days experts from Russia and the United States are to begin their work on the withdrawal of all fighters from the eastern part of Aleppo and achieving an agreement on routes and timing of their exit from the city. After that the ceasefire will come into force.


30.11.2016 - Speech by Russian Ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko at the Russian-British Business Forum (30 November 2016, London)

I am pleased to witness the ongoing constructive cooperation between business communities of our two countries in spite of the unfavorable political situation. This year has seen a number of impressive business events, including those arranged by the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (as it marked its 100th anniversary), “VTB”, “Moscow Exchange” and the “Russian-British Working Group for the development of the International Financial Centre in Moscow”.


25.11.2016 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers to media question regarding listing Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam as terrorist organizations

Question: What was the Western partners’ reaction as regards Russia’s initiative at the UN Security Council on listing Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam as terrorist organizations?


23.11.2016 - Answers by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to media questions after the demonstration near the Embassy on the 23 of November

1. Question: How do you see today’s demonstration in support of Russia’s policy in Syria? Answer: From the very start of the Russian operation in Syria we have seen a lot of support from Britons who see that the war being waged there is а war against enemies of the whole European civilization, including Britain. This support can be felt now as well, despite the Whitehall instigated campaign to accuse Russia of “war crimes”. News of civilian suffering are cynically exploited to hamper the defeat of terrorists and their allies, to undermine the political process. It’s good that more and more people come to understand this.


09.11.2016 - Speech by Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko at the Reception at the Russian Embassy marking Russian’s participation in the World Travel Market

Russia has always paid a significant attention to developing tourist potential of the country and attracting foreign guests. This is the reason why Russia is well represented at the annual International Exhibition “World Travel Market” (7-9 November). I’m happy to have today here with us the representatives of two major Russian cities and tourist destinations - St Petersburg and Kazan, which are to make presentations of these two magnificent cities’ tourist and investment potential.


09.11.2016 - Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's response to a question of the “Rossiya” TV Channel

Question: What is the attitude in Britain toward the present presidential campaign in the US?


24.09.2016 - Why not give the Syrians a break? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH)

It was in the fertile soil of the ongoing civil conflict that ISIS expanded to Syria. Ever since, Russia has been urging the establishment of a common front of the international community against terrorists, including the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra, which despite its recent rebranding continues to be a terrorist organization. We agree on that with our U.S. partners, as testified to by the Lavrov-Kerry accords, reached in Geneva along the lines agreed by presidents Putin and Obama. Russia insists on declassifying this deal, so that there is not the slightest whiff of secret diplomacy about it. Terrorists played a key and leading role in the fight against government forces.


21.09.2016 - UN convoy attack: questions to be answered (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The attack on the UN aid convoy near Aleppo has been widely covered in UK, prominently featuring the assertions that either Russia or the Syrian Government was behind the tragic event. Even though media did report the statement of the Russian Ministry of Defence that both Russian and Syrian warplanes didn’t carry out strikes against the humanitarian convoy, they omitted a number of details pointing to a highly suspicious nature of this incident.


02.09.2016 - Agenda: I pay tribute to the dignity and modesty of the brave sailors of the Arctic convoys (by Consul General in Edinburgh Andrey A. Pritsepov to Herald Scotland)

Tonight I shall host a gala reception on board the Royal Yacht Britannia to mark the 75th anniversary of the first Arctic convoy with the codename Operation Dervish. It is meant to be a special event: a solemn and dignified tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. More than 50 Arctic convoys veterans living in Scotland are attending the celebrations.



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