22 October 2018
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Ambassador's Notebook: Combating Corruption Requires International Cooperation (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for RIA Novosti)

December 9 was International Anti-Corruption Day. Ironically, it coincided
with news of an ongoing investigation into a corrupt scheme that was
reportedly used to fix football matches in the UK, demonstrating that this
evil knows no boundaries. One of Russia's priorities during its G20
presidency is combating corruption, including in sports. We proposed a
Global Alliance for Clean Sports during the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg
in September, an idea supported by the leaders of the G20. What we have in
mind is an "umbrella platform" to combine numerous anti-corruption projects
in sports currently implemented by various countries, as well as by sports
governing bodies and other international organizations. We expect that the
creation of such a mechanism will make it possible to ensure effective
coordination of relevant efforts and will contribute significantly to the
elimination of corruption in sports.

Other initiatives promoted by the G20 are: a study of the impact of
corruption and anti-corruption measures on economic growth; guiding
principles on mutual legal assistance in corruption cases; an analysis of
corruption risks during the preparation and holding of major sporting
events; a report on possible ways to counter corruption in selling
state-owned property; a comparative analysis of anti-corruption training
courses for public servants in G20 countries; and a document on the
Strategic Framework for the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, which
outlines its long-term goals and principles.

More broadly, we believe that international anti-corruption cooperation
should be conducted with a central coordinating role for the UN and on the
basis of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), a unique global
agreement providing for a wide range of measures to address corruption.
Russia stands for a comprehensive strengthening of the regime established by
the Convention and for ensuring compliance by all participating states. The
advantages of the UNCAC review mechanism, namely its intergovernmental,
non-politicized and non-intrusive character, must be used in full.

For the Russian Federation, eradicating corruption is a national policy
priority, a prerequisite for the country's successful development.
Anti-corruption activities in Russia are based on a national action plan and
a solid legal framework that is constantly improving. Control over civil
servants' major expenses and the public procurement rules are just two
examples of recent measures. It's essential to ensure the inevitability of
punishment for corruption-related crimes. Charges have been brought against
3,500 persons just this year.

However it is impossible to overcome corruption through administrative and
law enforcement measures only. It is necessary to work towards removing its
economic drivers, increasing people's legal awareness, and fostering a
culture of zero-tolerance of corruption in society. Much depends on the
stance of media, educational institutions and civil society. We see civil
society as our key ally in combating corruption and we take specific steps
to strengthen this partnership.

Another key partner is the business community. Russia has adopted the
Anti-Corruption Charter of Russian Business that Russian companies and
business associations actively use as a guide. We are convinced that
public-private partnerships in combating corruption should be among the
priorities of work in this area.

Russia's progress in its fight against corruption has been acknowledged by
the international community. In 2012, Russia successfully passed the UNCAC
review procedure and, in 2013, that of the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development. In the annual Doing Business Report of the
World Bank, Russia climbed 18 positions in comparison with the previous

But we are far from complacent and still have a great deal to do. We must
take robust and consistent action in all areas to fight corruption. The UK's
experiences as well as the UK's problems are an important source of
knowledge. We count on fruitful constructive and de-politicized co-operation
with our British partners.


27.09.2018 - Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Security Council meeting, September 26, 2018

Mr President, Colleagues, In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda. I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.

07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.

06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.

22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.

16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”

24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.

20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.

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.

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