26 October 2021
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1332 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1324 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

28.04.2016

"Shakespeare and Tolstoy – the best rescue team for Russia-UK relations" (By Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH)

“Two households, both alike in dignity, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny” – applying Shakespeare’s words to the current state of relations between London and Moscow wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration. Still, another poet, the Russian Sergei Yesenin, noted that “When face to face we cannot see the face, we should step back for better observation”. And while we have stepped back politically, we now have a clearer vision of the mutual cultural attraction. With diplomatic and economic contacts stalled, we realize the importance of the humanitarian dimension, people-to-people contacts which help get over whatever adverse geopolitical weather outdoors.
This year has seen the centenaries of WW1 events that fostered mutual understanding, like the Anglo-Russian Hospital, Russian Flag Day or the trip of Russian writers to Britain. And 100 years on, our Governments have had the political foresight to declare 2016 a Russia-UK Year of Language and Literature. While the Russian programme in Britain officially started on 25 February, the grand opening of the Year in Russia happened a few days ago, with the launch of a National Portrait Gallery exhibition at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery and coinciding with the Shakespearean anniversary.
Meanwhile, the parallel exhibition of the Tretyakov Gallery at NPG has been a huge hit from its start on 16 March, attracting up to 900 visitors a day. What is amazing is that the paintings now on display in London are not creations of the leaders of the Russian avant garde, well known in Britain – but rather of painters who may be household names in Russia, and are only now being discovered here: Repin, Perov, Serov and others. Unlike those who sat for them, including Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Akhmatova.
This is one of the main points this cultural season is to make, i.e. to go beyond the canon to discover the riches of literature and art. This is why Russian writers come to the London Book Fair: both in print and in person, among them Andrei Gelasimov or Guzel Yakhina who have their novels translated into more than 10 languages. We aim to widen the horizons of the sophisticated British public on Russian literature, old and contemporary, theatre, cinema, art and history. And obviously want to encourage more Britons to study Russian, which is already as popular at A-levels as German. But still below the Cold War numbers, when, oddly enough, many people who started learning the language for reasons we’d rather forget ended up falling in love with the Russian culture and people.
No introduction is needed for the Bolshoi Ballet (coming in July) or the Boris Eifman Ballet (in December). The Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra will give concerts virtually in all the major cities in October. It is refreshing to see new British takes on “War and Peace” on BBC or “Crime and Punishment” at Open Air Theatre near Tower Bridge this August. Our world views, as reflected in our cultures, differ but still, time and again, we feel like sharing each other’s.
We are confident that the better we know each other, the better is the understanding. Over the last five centuries Russia and Britain have been able to understand each other more often than one might think. There are many pages of common history to learn from - from Peter the Great to the Arctic Convoys in WW2. Researching them is an important task for scholars and volunteers from the recently formed “Russian Heritage in UK” committee. With assets like these, there is no doubt that when the time comes, we’ll have an overall relationship that our two great nations, sitting together in many world councils, deserve.




LATEST EVENTS

30.06.2021 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Daily Telegraph, 30 June 2021

Sir, Numerous media reports following the Crimea incident (including the Daily Telegraph piece of 28 June by Theo Merz) exploit the idea of Russian military ships “regularly visiting British waters”. This narrative, actively promoted by the Ministry of Defence, creates an impression of frequent violations of British sovereignty by Russia – but is a prime example of British state-sponsored disinformation.


28.06.2021 - Article by Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, “The Law, the Rights and the Rules”, Moscow, June 28, 2021

The frank and generally constructive conversation that took place at the June 16, 2021 summit meeting between presidents Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden in Geneva resulted in an agreement to launch a substantive dialogue on strategic stability, reaffirming the crucial premise that nuclear war is unacceptable. The two sides also reached an understanding on the advisability of engaging in consultations on cybersecurity, the operation of diplomatic missions, the fate of imprisoned Russian and US citizens and a number of regional conflicts.


18.11.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s address on the occasion of the ceremony dedicated to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys

It is an honour for me to welcome you all at this very impressive ceremony dedicated to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys. Whatever the circumstances may be around us, like the coronavirus and the due lockdown today, we should never forget the much more severe conditions that our nations had experienced in World War II.


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”.



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