25 October 2020
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966 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     958 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



National System of Payment Cards: more independence (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for RT)

The today’s geopolitical environment made urgent the task of creating the national payment system in Russia. That issue leapt to the top of the national agenda last year when, shortly after U.S. sanctions forced Visa and MasterCard to stop servicing some Russian banks. Such cutoffs obviously present a national security threat.
It is necessary to stress that previously we allowed our western partners in the field of electronic payments to provide services to more than 90% of all cardholders in Russia counting that economy is out of politics but it turned out that this was not the case. Economy has been submerged in politics and is being used as an instrument of political struggle and pressure. Given that fact, we made conclusions and Russian leadership promptly called for the creation of a national system of payment cards that would fence Russia from the risks of service “blackouts” in the future.
In May 2014, President Putin signed into law legislation establishing a national payment system that was called the National System of Payment Cards (NSPC) and was designed to ensure the smooth operation of electronic payments across Russia and beyond. Its introduction decreases Russian users' dependency on foreign analogues and provide a viable alternative.
The new act stipulates that payment system operators and service operators, in addition to participants of the payment system, are not entitled to unilaterally abandon the provision of services necessary for the successful execution of any transfers in Russia. Thus, international payment operators Visa and MasterCard had to fully transfer their transactions inside Russia to processing in the National System of Payment Cards instead of being routed through data centers in other countries. The system currently processes 12-14 million transactions a day and operates without any disruptions.
As we can now see it was the forced choice but surely the right one. Switching to a National System of Payment Cards was done in the interests of all users inside Russia and is intended for implementation of the operations within the international payment systems regardless of external factors.
The NSPC project also stipulates an establishment of a national payment card, which would appear in Russia by the New Year 2016 and will operate both inside the country and abroad. Its acceptance coverage will be very close to that of other major payment systems by the end of next year.
Russia's new national payment card has been given the name “Mir”, a word translating into English as both “Peace”, and “World”. This term is also associated in our country with the “Mir” space station, our planet's first modular space station constructed by Russia, which was assembled in orbit between 1986 and 1996 and had operated until 2001. This brand name was selected through a nationwide online vote on the card’s design entries submitted by companies and individuals across Russia.
According to the National System of Payment Cards department of the Russian Central Bank, we will be able to begin switching to the new payment cards later this year. It is planned issuing 100 million cards over the next two years, some of them co-badged with Visa, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, UnionPay and maybe others systems.
The establishment of the Russian national payment system and payment card is designed to foster investors’ trust and Russian citizens’ confidence in the country’s financial stability and sovereignty. The idea is not to become fully independent from MasterCard, Visa or American Express but to secure the proper and reliable way of using them on the Russian territory for the benefit of all interested parties.
We are trying to make our business environment more attractive for all the participants and therefore welcome a mutually beneficial co-operation with other payment systems.


22.10.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s welcoming remarks on the opening of “The Arctic: culture and climate” exhibition in the British Museum

Dear ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome you all at the opening of “The Arctic: culture and climate” exhibition, dedicated to the history of exploration of the Far North, traditions and culture of its native peoples, as well as the problem of global climate change.

05.08.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s interview to the Daily Mail, 4 August 2020

Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to the Daily Mail newspaper, covering the Russia Report, bilateral relations with UK and a broad international agenda.

21.07.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview with Sky News, 21 July 2020

Q: Thank you Mr Ambassador for speaking to us today. My first question is have you seen the report today, have you read it, what do you think? A: Yes, of course, I’ve seen it and and I have read it this morning. My first impression is that the Shakespeare’s phrase is very much applicable to it: much ado about nothing. The report is called “Russia”. But if you put the name of any other country, it will be the same, because this report is not about Russia. It is about the relationship between different intelligence agencies inside the UK.

03.07.2020 - Open Skies Clouded by Sham and Ambiguity (by Ambassador Andrei Kelin)

Ambassador Andrei Kelin's article published on the website of Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on 2 July 2020.

02.12.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's interview to Sputnik News Agency

On 27 November, 2019 Ambassador Andrei Kelin gave an interview to Sputnik News Agency during the V Russian-British Business Forum.

15.08.2019 - The liberal "end of history": what's next?

Following an interview with President Vladimir Putin published by the Financial Times a month ago, the issue of the future “liberal world order” in its idealistic version has been part of London’s political discussion agenda, with the emphasis being put on moral and political leadership in the present-day world.

09.07.2019 - What has happened to Western liberal idea? (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

In the recent interview with President Putin, the Financial Times seems to have launched a discussion on liberalism only at its own peril. Inadvertently, a real problem was touched upon, whose pressing nature is no longer denied by anyone in the West. The newspaper had to admit it in its Editorial of 29 June. Its authors claim that the threat to liberalism comes from within, including President Trump and his policies, Brexit and, certainly, the rise of “populist nationalism”. They refer to voters’ disillusionment with liberalism and loss of confidence in the economic system and trust in political elites. The latter are invited to redouble their efforts to take into consideration issues raised by voters and “to renew liberalism”.

09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.

24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.

03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.

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