23 July 2018
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Interview given to “RIA Novosti” by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Lukashevich, regarding the visit of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to Finland

Question: With regard to the announcement of the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to Finland, how would you describe the current state of our bilateral relations?Answer: I would like to note that Sergey Lavrov will visit Finland on the 9-10 June at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country, Erkki Tuomioja. The negotiations between the heads of the foreign services will be held in Turku in the South-East of Finland. Sergey Lavrov’s talk with the President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistц, has been scheduled for the 10 June in his summer residence in Naantali.

Russian-Finnish relations have been an example of neighbourly relations, with equal and mutually beneficial cooperation in different areas for the last two decades. In a range of sectors, primarily the trade, economic and investment areas, our bilateral interaction has entered into the level of strategic partnership.

Our regular and substantial political dialogue has been the key component of Russian-Finnish neighbourly relations. Last year the presidents of our countries met three times, and there were talks between our heads of state. The heads of state talk on the phone regularly.

The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistц, and the Prime Minister, Jyrki Katainen, participated in the events at the XXII Olympics in Sochi.

Our interparliamentary cooperation is also gaining strength. The heads of both houses of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation made official visits to Finland in 2013. Our interregional ties are actively developing and contacts within the ambit of ministries and agencies are being maintained.

The contractual legal framework of our bilateral cooperation, which already includes about 90 interstate and intergovernmental documents, is constantly being extended.

Meanwhile, because of the position taken by Finland within the framework of the European Union’s policy towards Russia in the context of the Ukrainian events, a drop in the intensity of Russian-Finnish contacts has been observed over the last three months. Finland cancelled or postponed a range of joint events, including the session of the Russian-Finnish intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation, the visit of the Finnish Defence Minister, Carl Haglund to Russia, the meeting between the ministers of transport during which there was a plan to sign intergovernmental agreements, and the meeting between the ministers of the interior. The visit of the Finnish President of the Parliament, Eero Heinдluoma, was postponed to a later date.

For our part, we believe that such steps correspond neither to the spirit of Russian-Finnish neighbourly relations nor to the principles of mutual benefit. The restoration of the traditionally high dynamics of our bilateral interaction would comply with the long-term interests of our states.

Question: How do Moscow and Helsinki build cooperation on the international stage?

Answer: Russia and Finland are interacting constructively within the ambit of the Russia - EU partnership, the global agenda of the UN, in other international bodies, as well as in regional formats in Northern Europe and in the Arctic region, such as the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Arctic Council and the Northern Dimension.

The Russian and Finnish approaches match with regard to the UN’s leading role in global affairs, the need for unconditional observation of generally recognised norms of international law and the peaceful settlement of conflict situations.

Question: What is the situation regards our bilateral partnership in the trade and economic area?

Answer: Finland is one of Russia’s priority business partners. Russian-Finnish cooperation is directed at specific affairs, the launch of new projects, the creation of jobs and the improvement of the level of the welfare of nationals.

In 2013, a significant interaction project in the trade, economic and investment area was the launching of the high tech Nyagansk GRES, which was constructed by the Finnish energy flagship company, Fortum Corporation, in the Khanty-Mansijsk Autonomous District, and the opening ceremony of which, on the 24 September, was attended by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistц.

Since 2008 Russia has been in first place amongst Finland’s trading partners. As a result of 2013, the volume of our bilateral turnover increased by 10% compared to 2012 and reached 18.7 billion US dollars.

The weighty role in the coordination of our bilateral practical interaction belongs to the Intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation. Its XIII session was held last year, on the 27 March, in Turku.

We note the great interest of Finnish business in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was held on the 22-24 May. The Finnish delegation consisted of about 40 people, including the heads of companies, which are recognised flagship companies in the country’s economy.

Question: What is being done in the context of humanitarian cooperation with regard to the protection of the rights of children born in mixed marriages?

Answer: A mechanism of bilateral interaction to ensure the rights of children in conflict situations in Russian-speaking and mixed families, residing in Finland, is an important element of our joint practical work.

At the end of 2012, there was an exchange of lists of contact persons in competent Russian and Finnish agencies, which deal with family and legal matters. There were three expert meetings held in 2013 in Moscow and Helsinki.

This February the respective list was updated taking into consideration the staff changes in the Russian and Finnish agencies. There is an agreement to update such lists at the end of each year. The issue of holding another expert meeting this September is also being considered within the ambit of the Russian Ministry of Justice.


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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