26 April 2018
Moscow: 10:31
London: 08:31

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Ambassador’s Notebook: Economic Integration in the CIS – New Realities

Multilateral cooperation and economic integration in the CIS are not only a function of history and geography; they are an economy-driven process involving numerous levels and dimensions. This process involves simultaneously promoting various different integration formats in response to states’ differing levels of political and economic participation.

These include the creation of Free Trade Areas, the Customs Union, and the Common Economic Space with the broader aim of establishing a Eurasian Economic Union by 2015.

There has been considerable progress in the integration process across the region. The Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was launched on July 1, 2011. In January 2012, fundamental international agreements necessary for the establishment of the Common Economic Space came into effect. We are glad to see that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are displaying an active interest in the process.

The Eurasian Economic Commission, a supranational permanent regulating body for the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space has been up and running since February 2012. The establishment of a Eurasian Economic Union by 2015 is an ambitious, but attainable, task that will have a profound effect on the future of the entire CIS region.

A CIS Free Trade Agreement was signed in October 2011. Russia ratified it in April 2012. The treaty complies with WTO rules and will replace a series of multilateral and bilateral agreements in the region.

One important aspect of cooperation within the CIS is promoting technology and innovation cooperation as part of the broader modernization drive. This will be carried out on the basis of the Inter-State Program of Innovation Cooperation to 2020.

Integration is built around core agreements between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. This does not mean that we are distancing ourselves from the other CIS countries. Eurasian integration is an open process. We aim to further strengthen multifaceted, equitable, and mutually beneficial cooperation with all CIS States. At the same time, we are working to enhance trade and investment cooperation with international integration bodies in order to establish a common economic space. It is important to ensure that our CIS neighbors do not have to face an artificial choice between the Western and the Eastern integration vectors, and ensure that they are able to participate in a broader integration process embracing the Eurasian region as a whole. In fact, they are mutually compatible and complimentary.

We understand that Russia, as a pivot of CIS integration, bears particular responsibility. The prosperity of the whole group of integrating states depends on our economic performance. That is why our fundamental economic aim is to strengthen our competitiveness in key aspects of Russia’s business environment, from lending and taxation to bureaucratic procedures and a low inflation rate.

Ukraine occupies a special place in cooperation within the CIS. We are connected by a long history of friendly ties, economic cooperation, and a common cultural heritage. There is great potential for cooperation on trade and investment, infrastructure projects, science and technology. We are actively engaged in negotiations on the creation of an FTA with Ukraine. We will welcome Ukraine's participation in the CIS integration process.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that Russia, as a future G8 chair, intends to draw the international community’s attention to issues related to Eurasian integration within the context of accelerated integration processes and their increasing role in global economic development. This global trend will have a huge impact on our region. We believe that this integration process is very dynamic and we hope it will be successful.

The CIS integration process is open and based on the same principles that lie at the core of similar processes in Europe, as well as those that underpin the WTO. This gives us reason to believe that the fundamental goal of establishing a common economic and cultural space stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific is both realistic and attainable.


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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