22 January 2018
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Speech by Alexander Kramarenko, Russia’s Charge d’Affaires, a.i. at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial (9 May 2014, on the IWM grounds)


Your Grace the Mayor of Southwark,

Dear veterans,

Ladies and gentlemen, friends!

First of all, may I congratulate you on the anniversary of our Victory in WWII over Nazi Germany. It marked the triumph of good over evil, the liberation of Europe from the threat to the very existence of its civilization.

On this day we remember those who gave their lives for that great cause. The Second World War started in Europe. It was here that unheard-of atrocities, including Holocaust, were committed. We are proud that the peoples of the Soviet Union made a decisive contribution to our common Victory. We will always remember our allies - the United States, Great Britain, France and other countries, those who fought in the Resistance. Our special gratitude goes to the Arctic convoys veterans.

We also remember the lessons learnt from that tragic experience. Sadly, their relevance for Europe and the world doesn’t wane. As recent events in various parts of our continent and other regions show, there are still forces and persons, who espouse extreme nationalism and intolerance. Quite often it is rooted in WWII, when various nationalists fought on the side of Nazi Germany and, thus, on the wrong side of history. Now these forces are seeking revenge either by rewriting history or rejecting post-war settlement, including the Charter of the Nurenberg Tribunal.

That is why Russia and like-minded nations each year pass the UN General Assembly resolution on inadmissibility of all forms of intolerance and glorification of Nazism.

The enormity of that sacrifice, suffering and war effort made WWII a defining event in forging our national identity and the Victory a moral value of highest order, which explains our position on many issues of today, including international affairs.

I regret to say that, as recent events in and around Ukraine prove, old geopolitics and its zero-sum logic die hard. The lack of formal settlement in Euro- Atlantic after the end of the Cold War represents a fundamental flaw of the present regional security architecture. It is short of being a genuine collective security system, that is inclusive, transparent and comprehensive. The lack of clarity, ambivalence and ambiguities are ferfile ground for old prejudices and suspicions, misunderstanding and mistrust, rooted in ideological confrontation of the past. This generates demand for politics of division.

If a Europe whole and free is our common goal, than we cannot accept the double standards position that people’s interests are paramount in one part of it and interests of the State in another, that human security, responsibility to protect and humanitarian interventions are for some and iron-cast XlXth Century notions of independence and sovereignty for others, that visa-free regime in the west and Cold War borders in the east of our continent.

Perhaps, we managed the Cold War fine, but the peace has been badly mishandled. We hope that the Ukrainian crisis will serve as a wake-up call for all in Europe and will drive home that message. We owe it to those whose sacrifice we now remember, to ensure that this be the case, that goodwill prevail, at last, in our region.

I can assure you that as long as Russia exists, we’ll stand by that memory and the ideals our fathers and grandfathers fought for.

Today we also celebrate another memorable date – 15 years ago,
on May 9 1999, the Soviet Memorial was unveiled. From the very start this idea was supported by the UK government. Its existence became possible only due to joint efforts of Russian and British authorities, public and commercial organizations and ordinary people. The Memorial is a symbol of comradeship-in-arms and friendship between our two nations who stood up against the aggressor on the opposite ends of Europe.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the members of the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund, and especially its Chairman Phillip Matthews and its Secretary Ralph Gibson for all their hard work and for making the annual Victory Day ceremony and other events happen.



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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