20 July 2018
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

02.09.2016

Agenda: I pay tribute to the dignity and modesty of the brave sailors of the Arctic convoys (by Consul General in Edinburgh Andrey A. Pritsepov to Herald Scotland)

Tonight I shall host a gala reception on board the Royal Yacht Britannia to mark the 75th anniversary of the first Arctic convoy with the codename Operation Dervish. It is meant to be a special event: a solemn and dignified tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. More than 50 Arctic convoys veterans living in Scotland are attending the celebrations.

During the event I am going to read an address by the minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr Sergey Lavrov, to the veterans and guests as the event. He emphasises: “The chronicles of the convoys are an integral part of the history of Russian-British relations. 75 years ago, just a few weeks after the treacherous attack of the Nazis on our country, Archangel was greeting British ships which brought first aid from the allies in this most terrible war in the history of mankind. The first convoy was lucky to avoid any losses but there were still almost four long years ahead, filled with the trials and bitterness of sufferings."

He goes on: "The task of thousands of sailors of Great Britain, the USSR, the United States and other allied countries was to challenge the formidable Northern seas to confront an enemy ready to attack at any moment. Many of them didn’t reach their destination. Yet, the arrival of each ship at the harbours of the northern Russia was not just about the delivery of a valuable cargo; it was a sign that the Soviet people were not alone in their struggle against fascism. Your courage and dedication brought much closer the day when the hateful Nazi war machine was finally defeated."

With support from Scottish business, the Russian Consulate General has prepared for the veterans unique artifacts related to the Arctic Convoys. They include an exquisite Cold Seas and Warm Friendships photo-book by Commander Dairmid Gunn and photographer Kenneth Reynolds, containing life stories of 30 veterans and rare historical photographs; a limited anniversary edition Highland single malt whisky “in recognition and gratitude to all those who steadfastly served with honour and distinction”; and a three-piece set of woollen souvenirs, made of specially registered Russian Arctic convoy tartan.

A minute's silence will be observed in tribute to those who never came back. The memory of their sacrifice will be treasured in my country forever.

This week, as well as tonight, there is a series of commemorative events in Russia taking place in Archangel and Saint Petersburg. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne is attending the events. I am pleased that several guests from Scotland are there, among whom will be two Arctic convoy veterans.

Throughout my years as the Russian Consul General in Scotland, I have met many brave sailors from the Arctic convoys. I was honoured to present the esteemed Russian military award, the Ushakov Medal, personally to each of them, listen carefully to their stories, study the old photos and look into their eyes. I was impressed and humbled by the modesty and dignity of these brave men.

Conversations with the veterans left a deep impression on me. Going through the horrors of war, witnessing their brothers in arms lost to enemy attacks, the veterans truly understand the value of peace. I am saddened to say this but they might be the last generation to know exactly the right from the wrong.

The veterans are at a venerable age but, when they tell their war stories, I see their eyes light up as if they were young again and sailing the stormy waters of the Arctic, braving the elements and resisting the ruthless enemy. Each of them told me that he did nothing special, just his job. By doing that job properly, with courage and valour, they wrote themselves into a proud page in our shared history.

Now, more than ever, it is of the utmost importance to preserve the legacy of the Arctic convoys for future generations and recognize the heroism of these brave sailors who went through unimaginable hardships so that we could live in peace. The veterans are living proof of the fact that our countries, despite differences and setbacks, could work together successfully to address a common threat and be victorious.




LATEST EVENTS

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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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