26 April 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.


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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