18 January 2020
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685 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     677 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

23.09.2015

In times of official sulk, culture and people lead the way (Ambassador A.Yakovenko for RBTH, 22 September 2015)

The exhibition Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age was launched last week at the Science Museum in London to universal acclaim. It was a moving experience to see Russian and British cosmonauts and scientists whose names went down in history meet to unveil the largest display of its kind ever to be held in the museum.

The British public can see a vast range of items and artefacts (most of which have never been exhibited abroad, and some of which were declassified especially for the event). They tell the story of the space race – which was one of the most epic and thrilling sagas of the 20th century.

As the global powers were still reeling from tragedy of the Second World War, they found themselves locked into the Cold War mindset. From the very beginning, space research was destined to become just one of the aspects of this global competition.

But suddenly, it became more than that. The thrill of new discoveries and mastering new technologies became the universal drive for scientists, engineers and cosmonauts.

Their achievements were seen as crucial steps in mankind’s discovery of the new frontiers. Britain cheerfully greeted Yuri Gagarin – and few were bothered by the fact that he was a communist and a Soviet Air Force pilot.

Gagarin was the first man sent into space, and that managed to outweigh all ideological and political considerations. What was destined to be a field of fierce ideological and military confrontation went much further than that, giving birth to a mighty unifying idea, as well as to a whole range of astonishing commercial opportunities.

Today, this spectacular exhibition is held against the background of serious political disagreements between Russia and Britain. Even though it is not fuelled by an ideological divide, as was the case in the past, the differing narratives are here to stay.

However, this shouldn’t act as an obstacle to cultural exchanges. At the height of East-West confrontation, Moscow theatres staged Shakespeare’s immortal plays and London audiences flocked to the new renditions of Chekhov’s classic works.

Moreover, in the 20th century, all thaws in relations between nations have been ushered in by the holding of landmark cultural events – such as the groundbreaking tour of the Kirov Ballet to Britain in 1956.

Such events have always been a precursor of convergence at a political level, especially in matters of foreign policy and international affairs, where searching for middle ground and seeking compromise has been a cultural norm for a century.

True, culture has a value of its own, but in many ways cultural visionaries define the future more robustly than political leaders. “For a human being there is no other future save that outlined by art,” the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, who was recently honored with a plaque in Hampstead, said in his Nobel Prize lecture. Culture also has an important role in stopping us sliding into a denial of each other’s humanity.

Now, in the absence of political dialogue and intergovernmental co-operation, people-to-people contacts are more important than ever before. A civil forum, like the ones Russia takes part in with other major European nations, seems to be a timely natural vehicle for unofficial bilateral discourse on matters of mutual interest.

This is the way we can maintain and build up trust and understanding between our societies. It would be wrong to be at the mercy of adverse political weather. Let people help bring about a change for the better in our overall relationship.

 




LATEST EVENTS

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Good morning and bon appetit to those who have some food on their tables. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation. I understand this is a young forum, but it managed already in a few years to acquire importance, popularity and reputation. It is indeed very appropriate that we get together more often than in the past to discuss where we are in international relations and which way we are heading.


15.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Times of India newspaper, published on January 15, 2020

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14.01.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Times in response to the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki on World War II

Sir, Polish Ambassador Rzegocki, in his letter published on 9 January, proposes to “question the USSR’s status as liberator”, claiming that Molotov-Ribbentrop pact “sparked the war and a double totalitarian invasion of Poland”. Let me suggest to my Polish colleague to look deeper into the history of that time.


14.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Daily News Sri Lankan newspaper, published on January 13, 2020

Question: Since the end of the Cold War and the inception of the multipolar world order, you have spent many years engaged in international affairs and geopolitics. Are there any peculiarities in the relations between Sri Lanka and Russia originating in that period? Sergey Lavrov: The relations between our states have always been intrinsically valuable and independent from international developments. They have always been and continue to be based on the principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration of one another's interests. The peculiarities specific to certain periods of history are of marginal significance, since they do not affect the inviolability of the bonds of friendship uniting our peoples.


19.12.2019 - President Vladimir Putin replies to a BBC question during his annual press conference Moscow, 19 December 2019

I know what the interests of my country are. And whatever somebody might say about me, this has no importance whatsoever when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving. But of course, we see, we hear, we understand and we take those views into consideration in our work.


18.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article Neighbours in Europe. Russia-EU: Thirty Years of Relations for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 18, 2019

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06.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, Bratislava, December 5, 2019

Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.


29.11.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum. Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.


28.11.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s reply to a media question concerning the recent statement of the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff

Q: How would you comment on the statement made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Carter that the UK is in a state of cyber war with Russia? Has London raised this matter with Moscow? Has the British side provided any evidence? A.: This is not the first statement of this sort made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Carter, and it certainly needs to be considered in the context of the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign launched by the British government.


21.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moscow, November 20, 2019

We have had very good talks with my Bahraini colleague and friend, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and we have reached agreements on all the issues we discussed.



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