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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

29.01.2014

Sochi: new beginnings when the party is over (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

 

In little more than a week, the Winter Olympic Games start in Sochi, but the prospects after this landmark event are visible now. I am talking about the development of the region and the increased attractiveness of Russia for foreign investors.

A successful Games, organised on the principles of sustainable development, will leave a rich legacy. This legacy means positive changes in social, economic and environmental areas after the Games.

Construction of all Olympic venues in Sochi is successfully accomplished. The Olympic legacy today is more than 400 building projects, 140 of which will be owned by the city. During the preparation for Sochi 2014, more than 220 miles of roads and 125 miles of railways, and more than 100 bridges and 22 tunnels were built in the region. Many innovative approaches are applied in Sochi: the city is the first in Russia to introduce the “zero waste” principle. Both municipal landfills are closed and all waste is removed outside the resort.

Direct investment for the specific preparation of the Olympic Games in Sochi comes to approximately Ј4bn; the overall cost for getting the Sochi area into shape for the Games is Ј30bn.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was able to see in person the progress made in Sochi, when he visited the city in May 2013 and met President Vladimir Putin.

As practice shows, the economic impact of the Games becomes feasible only after three to five years, but if foreign investors want to take advantage of this huge opportunity they should act now. In other words, the warm subtropical Sochi climate could turn into a good investment climate.

Many British companies are already contributing to Sochi’s Olympic preparations in such sectors as construction, design, ecology, security, power supply, legal and financial services, education, marketing and PR. They include Mace, Populous, Arup, JCB and Aggreko – a few dozen in all.

Russia demonstrates the intention to increase the pace of co-operation with foreign companies and already has all the necessary conditions for that. Tourist agencies now offer excellent travel packages to Krasnodar – the region in which Sochi is located. Those who have never been to Russia, and shape their views on the basis of newspaper and television reports, or even rumour, should take this opportunity to see the country for themselves.

For example, the largely critical reaction of some western countries to the new Russian legislation banning promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors is largely caused by the lack of understanding of the details of this law. Simply put, it is not a prohibition of non-traditional relationships in Russia, but a guarantee that they will not influence the younger generation, which has the right to make their own choice.

In this regard, the fears expressed by many people that gay Olympic athletes will be in danger upon arrival in Russia have no basis whatsoever.

When Sochi was chosen as an Olympic host, it became part of a brand which draws on the recognition, success and reliability afforded to previous Olympic cities. This brand is a guarantee of worldwide recognition for investors.

Summing up, we emphasise that now is the best time for foreign companies intending to launch new business projects

or to increase their presence in Russia. Many Russian regions are ready to provide favourable conditions for investors.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will begin in a week, but the competition for promising new projects in Russia has already begun. And the results of these “games” will benefit more people by far.


Alexander Yakovenko, special to RBTH (RUSSIA BEYOND THE HEADLINES)




LATEST EVENTS

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.


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.



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