23 January 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.


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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