25 April 2018
Moscow: 23:22
London: 21:22

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Ambassador's Notebook: Bilateral Relations in 2012: Highlights

This past year has been very fruitful in terms of developing broad political dialogue between Russia and Great Britain. President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met Prime Minister David Cameron at the G8 and G20 summits and during the Olympic Games in London.

Our Foreign Ministers have been in regular contact. In May 2012, William Hague visited Moscow, where an agreement was reached on establishing a new bilateral mechanism for high level strategic dialogue and on holding seasons of culture in 2014. Both ministers have been regularly exchanging views on topical international issues, last time at their meeting in Dublin early this month. We also saw a number of consultations and other forms of contact between departments in the MFA and the FCO.

It has been a difficult year in international affairs, with crises in various parts of the world reflecting the transitory and transformational nature of our time. Russia and Britain have been busy cooperating on a host of international issues in various international fora, including the UN Security Council, G8 and G20, OSCE and Council of Europe, the Middle East Quartet, and the “3+3” on the Iranian nuclear program. Britain is also a party to Russia’s relationships with the EU and NATO.

We witnessed an increase in the levels of parliamentary contact. Lord-Speaker of the House of Lords Baroness D’Souza visited Russia in autumn. Her visit was followed by a series of exchanges between Russian and British MPs. There has been a rise in the traffic between our legal communities, judiciaries and law-enforcement bodies.

This renewed political dialogue has provided active support for the further strengthening of our economic co-operation. On October 29, the 9th Session of the Russia-UK Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Investment took place in London, with a broad involvement of the business communities. It addressed new trade and investment opportunities opening up within the framework of the Russia-UK Declaration on a Knowledge-Based Partnership for Modernization of 2011, that provides for the further diversification of our economic partnership and its stakeholders through the wider engagement of small and medium-sized businesses supported by credit and export guarantees, an expansion of the regional dimension, joint hi-tech projects in production and research, as well as strategic initiatives in gas and nuclear energy.

According to the understanding reached between our leaders in 2011, British and Russian veterinary authorities have worked together, and thanks to this cooperation British meat exports could resume by the end of the year.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the Rusnano Corporation, Skolkovo Innovation Center, and Russian regions have been advancing their co-operation with their British partners throughout the year, concluding new agreements and investment deals. The Joint Liaison Group on Moscow as an International Financial Center continued its expert work, holding two meetings in Moscow and London. A landmark strategic partnership was agreed between Rosneft and BP in November that would allow them to expand their co-operation in Russia and in third countries.

Overall, the trade and investment ties between our countries are on the rise. Bilateral trade grew to pre-crisis levels last year, and reached $ 19 bln over the 10 months of this year, an 8.3 percent increase. Accumulated British investment also recovered and stood at $ 25.7 bln, or 7.7 percent of the total accumulated foreign investment in Russia as of July 1, 2012.

Cultural cooperation has also enjoyed an upswing. This eventful year saw a rich exchange in various cultural missions, such as the British exhibition “The Golden Age” of the English Court: From Henry VIII to Charles I” at the Moscow Kremlin and the Russian exhibition “Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress” at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Specialists from the State Hermitage and the National Gallery worked jointly on a unique restoration project on Titian’s Flight into Egypt. The masterpiece was then exhibited in London. That was the first time the work has been on display outside Russia since 1768. World famous Russian maestros Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev were also regular guests in Britain.

Our national teams performed extremely well at the London Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympic legacy is a major area of our partnership, particularly in view of the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi in 2014.

In 2012, London saw a series of events commemorating the Bicentenary of Russia’s victory over Napoleon. They were organized by the Russian Embassy, with support from British enthusiasts and members of the Russian community in the UK. These events emphasized our shared legacy of being on the right side in European and world history at critical junctures. On December 19, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the Arctic Convoy Star would be awarded to the surviving British participants of that heroic chapter of our alliance in WWII.

Overall, the year’s events hold the promise of our moving towards a fuller use of our two nations’ potential in a genuine partnership that rises to meet the requirements of our time.


21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.

17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.

26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

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.

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