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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

12.05.2014

The need to combat modern fascism (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)

Every year on 8 and 9 May Europe celebrates the liberation from fascism. It is a day to commemorate those who died during the Second World War, but also, it is a day to recall that our generations must do what we can to prevent a new resurgence of the Nazi ideology (let alone practice!) that poisoned our continent and led to unheard-of atrocities, that tarnished our continent in international community.

Unfortunately, neo-Nazism and neo-fascism are again finding their way into public life. Russia has been raising this issue for many years, in particular with respect to the Baltic states, notably Latvia and Estonia. That their countrymen who fought against the Soviet Union and anti-Hitlerite coalition on the Nazi side are “heroes” of a “national liberation movement”, has become the mainstream idea in those countries. Monuments are erected and public rallies are held dedicated to those fighters, including members of the SS, an organisation proclaimed criminal in its entirety by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Crimes committed by the Nazis, including those from Latvia and Estonia, against the Jewish and Slavic populations, are hushed up. And, in parallel, monuments to the Red Army soldiers are being demolished or removed. The European Union continues to turn a blind eye to these manifestations that are qualified as a matter of “freedom of expression”. Does the same go for anti-Semitism?

Ironically, other parts of the world seem to remember European history better and do understand the problem. This realisation has led the UN General Assembly to adopt, on annual basis, a resolution on Combating glorification of Nazism. It is worth mentioning that EU countries abstained from voting, while the United States and Canada were among those who voted against the draft, something that is extremely perplexing.

Unfortunately, the calls by the General Assembly have not yet led to this worrying trend subsiding. Most recently, we have been seeing an unprecedented rise of the neo-fascist movement in Ukraine. The anti-corruption and pro-democracy movement uprising in that country was swiftly hijacked by armed national-radical extremists who do not hide their anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi credentials. Suffice it to mention that almost a third of seats in the current government in Kiev are occupied by representatives of the Svoboda (“Freedom”) party, an organisation that the European Parliament has declared racist and xenophobic. And the armed groups behind the Ukrainian “revolution” are fighters of the so-called “Right Sector” that has brought together all kinds of ideologic followers of the Third Reich and its nationalist collaborators.

Instead of suppressing these activists, the interim authorities seem to be relying on them in their divisive politics, including with respect to the south-eastern regions, whose concerns they wouldn’t address. Most worryingly, it is these extremists who are used as the main source of recruits for the newly formed “National Guard”, which means replacing traditional national security forces by armed formations based on partisan and political allegiances. The fear of the Russian-speaking population in the East in the face of their punitive operations is easy to understand. People don’t want to live in a country where the head of the government, apparently controlled by far-right elements, uses the Victory Day to praise the “heroism” of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators on an equal footing with Red Army veterans, as Mr Yatsenyuk did on 9 May, where nationalists sing the national anthem while people are burnt alive, like it took place in Odessa.

Russia reiterates its call upon all European partners, governments and peoples alike: don’t let yourselves be drawn into an illusion that neo-fascism can be used safely for reaching immediate political objectives. There are plenty of problems to be addressed across the continent related to ethnic and national identities, role of religious communities, minority rights etc., and connivance of the rise of far-right extremism in some countries can only complicate the search for solutions in other ones.




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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