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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

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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