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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

30.10.2013

Moving beyond ‘conflict of civilizations’ to multipolar equilibrium (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

 

It appears that the issues of ethnic and cultural identity play a growing role in international affairs, contrary to what was previously thought.

Not long ago there was a widespread belief that cultural and other differences between nations should be erased to avoid international conflicts.

Many in the West thought that globalization underpins the unification of the world on the basis of universal standards and values. Yet it is clear that wishing away cultural and other differences is a utopia. The price of that misleading notion is very high. The transformation of the Arab countries (the so-called “Arab Spring”) bears witness to this fact.
The American scholar Samuel Huntington foresaw it in his own way, when he wrote about the upcoming “conflict of civilizations.” He understood that “the global empire of the West” couldn’t last forever; new independent actors that represent other cultures and civilizations were stepping onto the international scene, including Russia, China, India and the Islamic world. We are dealing with a new reality. The roots of the conflicts lie in attempts to dictate what institutions should exist and what values shall be upheld by society. This is wrong and counterproductive. We must accept that every nation has its own traditions, core values, politics and public opinion. Imposition of one society’s values on the other can only be mechanical, causing conflicts and undermining trust and misunderstanding between nations.

The only way to avoid the conflict of civilizations is through dialogue. One has to accept the right of every nation and society to have its own values and way of life. This has to be a dialogue of equals based on the existing international order, with a central role for the United Nations and international law. It should include discussions on how to reform the world trade and financial architecture to reflect this reality. Only in this way can we ensure the stability of the global system.

This has to be a dialogue between cultures on ways to find common ground, given a common denominator existing at the level of traditional values, rooted in world religions. But for this dialogue to be successful, all attempts to pass off specific values of one’s culture as universal values, and make their promotion as a part of foreign policy, should be stopped. The world’s cultural diversity envisages different values and models of development.

What is frequently called “the rise” of China, India and Russia etc. doesn’t mean the end of the world for other leading nations. It means only the emergence of real global competition, which in the 20th century was suppressed by a highly ideological bipolar confrontation. That’s why I think that today the world is becoming more stable and natural. We must accept this reality and start harmonizing interests in this new, multipolar international equilibrium.

 




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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