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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

29.11.2012

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko: History proves the need for collective leadership

Global development processes are going through a transition phase, and so are international relations. What we may be witnessing now is yet another change of epochs. This change also marks the completion of processes of various durations Р from the Cold War and its intellectual and geostrategic momentum to the 500-year long domination of the West in global politics, economics and finance.
 
What is happening now has clear causes. We shouldn't panic when trying to respond to the current developments. We need to have a cold-eyed analysis in a broader historical context making use of the categories going beyond the narrow framework of the ideological discourse of the Cold War. History didnХt start in 1945, and neither did international relations. We can draw some really reassuring conclusions from this broader unbiased perspective and identify the real potential for convergence and synthesis in North Atlantic politics.
 
Seeing things in a historical perspective is not just useful, but often imperative. Upsetting the European balance, which had secured peace in Europe for more than 40 years, the Crimean War started the countdown for the First World War and the tragedies that occurred in Europe and the world throughout the 20th century. It paved the way for the aggressive nationalistic mutual demonisation of the leading European nations as an excuse for not only the war, but also the subsequent humiliation of the loser, including its territorial partition. Russia was followed by Denmark, Austria, France and, finally, Germany, which caused a collapse of the European and world order.

Karl Jaspers wrote in the middle of the 20th century that there could be two options for the world to continue: either a global empire or a world order. The developments of the past two decades make it clear that the former option is impossible, which makes the latter the only one worth pursuing.
 
History also shows that we shouldn't take what we have for granted, especially the United Nations, which was quite wisely established to balance our multipolar world. The bipolar confrontation became a time warp. We can't tear it all down to the ground the way Bolsheviks and Puritan fanatics before them wanted to; to build a whole new world from scratch while denying others their right of salvage.

The question is how the UN has managed to adapt to reality. However, the fundamental health of the postwar adjustment shouldn't be questioned. This includes the principles of the UN Charter and international rule of law.

The main feature of the current epoch is the variety of scenarios, according to which things can develop, and the lack of definiteness, hence the need for diplomatic instruments to pursue flexibility. There are no more reasons to have the cumbersome military and political alliances of the past. A network of multivector diplomacy is a good alternative. It has been Russia's official strategy since the Foreign Policy Concept was adopted in July 2008. Since then, this idea has gained public support, including in the United States and the UK.

An essential common denominator is for all countries to make development challenges their chief priority. Everyone agrees that sustainable socioeconomic (as well as other) development is a key foreign policy resource. It should become a rallying principle, because unlike in the colonial epoch, global development can't remain a zero-sum game.

The new challenges and threats emphasise the need for bringing development levels closer, the more so because the growth potential of large dynamic developing economies and ordinary developing economies is to become the main source of the economic revival of the industrially developed nations.
To effectively address the insecurity issue, one needs to overcome the downturn and restore its paying capacity.

Globalisation (and Gordon Brown was speaking about the threat of de-globalisation) calls for a new level of understanding. So far, unfortunately, it has addressed challenges in the same way empires did in the past, namely, it has exploited development potential in a zero-sum game. Only "capital-intense" social groups became winners, which impaired social integrity. Incomes on investments were essentially removed from the country, disregarding national development priorities. It appears that this globalisation pattern became one of the reasons behind the current crisis in the West, the kind of crisis that virtually eliminated the middle class in one European country.
 
The "new" players will get what they want sooner or later, albeit based on their own development progress and benefiting from other nations' development experience. A challenge for "old" players is how to formulate their foreign policy objectives in a way for them to be compatible with the interests of the international community as a whole. This would be possible if all nations were making concerted efforts to tackle the entire range of international problems, including the form of collective leadership of the leading nations of the world. This mutual engagement envisions the phasing down of unilateral response, let alone forceful response.

The article is based on a speech given at the recent conference Global Power Shifts in Ditchley Park.




LATEST EVENTS

17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.


13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.


08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)


25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.


20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.


16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation


25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.


23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.


12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?



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