24 January 2018
Moscow: 04:37
London: 01:37

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  
info@rusemb.org.uk  

 

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

11.05.2013

What World War II can teach us about today’s divided Europe (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

World War II was one of the most tragic pages in Russian history: We endured suffering unparalleled in modern history. The four-year struggle against a foreign invasion ended in victory over Nazi Germany, and still holds important lessons for us today.

One of the key lessons is that the fight against war must be waged before the outbreak of war, not after. Collective efforts by all peace-loving nations, by all who cherish freedom, are an absolute necessity. World War II was not inevitable. It could have been prevented but for political errors and strategic blunders made by elites blinded by ideological considerations that distorted the geopolitical calculus. It was Germany’s direct aggression both in the West and East that brought common sense back into strategic thinking.

The most important lesson of World War II lies in the fact that states with different ideologies could unite in the face of a common threat. “Today, when the world faces the rise of extremism and terrorism, such an experience of unity is especially valuable," President Vladimir Putin said.

The whole experience of the interwar period – from the Treaty of Versailles to the outbreak of WWII – shows that an effective system of collective security in Europe ought to be universal, with all countries of the continent – including Russia – taking part. There can be no security if it is based on somebody else’s insecurity, or done at somebody else’s expense.

Unfortunately, no conclusions were drawn from how Europe slid into the First World War, or the diplomatic preparations for it, including methods of secret diplomacy; the League of Nations and the Kellogg-Briand Pact were failures.

Finally, the history and results of World War II are still subject to acute ideological and scientific dispute. This dispute often contains distortions, bias and sometimes lies. And for obvious reasons: The Cold War that followed simply continued the tradition of confrontational politics in the Euro-Atlantic and worldwide.

The ideal of a Europe whole and free brought into being a set of principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act at the time of detente. Unfortunately, the OSCE has proved unable to evolve into a full-fledged regional security organization. So, Europe remains a patchwork of areas of various levels of security. This, no doubt, negatively impacts its ability to be an effective global player in security matters.

The answer to this challenge is clear. We have got to go beyond all the existing structures on the continent while leaving their integrity intact and drawing, finally, a line under the Cold War era, its instincts, prejudices and dangerous illusions of uniform existence.

If it is true that it took two world wars to make capitalism and democracy compatible, then it is hard to imagine how this historic achievement could be preserved in a divided and fragmented Europe. This is precisely the aim of a possible European/Euro-Atlantic security treaty: To help ensure a common space of indivisible security as a precondition for a politically united Europe.




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?



all messages