22 September 2017
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

14.02.2017

UK – RUSSIA YEAR OF SCIENCE AND EDUCATION: THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP? (Robin Grimes, FCO Chief Scientific Adviser, Part of Global Science and Innovation Network)

At the end of the classic film Casablanca, Rick says to the Chief of Police “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”. So, as we embark upon a year of UK Russia Science & (Science) Education events, what do we expect our scientific relationship to look like 12 months from now? There are some crucial points to bear in mind.

Firstly, it will be about dialogue. That doesn’t mean we will always agree. In fact, if we do, that would be a failure. Scientists need to argue, but through that process they make progress – and anyway they generally make up and reach consensus.

Secondly, we should embrace the unexpected outcome. Russia and the UK have very different education systems, which gives rise to different thinking and the ability to consider problems from different angles: But isn’t that exactly what we want? Real scientific progress happens when problems, the big problems, are addressed using a combination of different approaches. If we always look at issues from the same perspective we are unlikely to achieve the best results – there is a growing appreciation that scientific co-operation across borders is more productive than co-operation within.

Courtesy of Aleksei Zotov (British Council)

Thirdly, we will need to make a bit of a splash, a bit of a noise, to grab people’s imaginations. Well we’ve started in the best possible way. The first external mention of the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education was during the unveiling, at the London Science Museum, of British Astronaut Tim Peake’s Russian re-entry module – a great event that also demonstrated the increasingly close relationship between our Space Agencies and museums. The next day we officially launched the Year of Science and Education in Moscow at the TASS news agency. British Council are leading the UK contribution and their Chief Executive, Sir Ciarán Devane spoke at the launch. Following remarks by Russia’s Deputy Minister for Education and Science, Ludmila Ogorodova, I added my bit and importantly delivered a message of good-will from the Foreign Secretary who said that “when the UK followed British Astronaut Tim Peake’s journey into space on board a Russian-made spacecraft, alongside his Russian cosmonaut colleagues” it was “a reminder of what can be achieved by working together.”

Courtesy of Aleksei Zotov (British Council)

Finally, it must be about young people. We will have a number of events aimed at developing links between the next generations of Russian and British scientists. That doesn’t mean we ignore all the great achievements of previous collaborations. Of course, ‘celebrations of excellence’ are part of the way we encourage activity, including that by younger people. There will be a number of events where we look back. For example, at an event looking back at Mendeleev’s 19th century work on what he termed the Periodic System, later expanded into the Periodic Table, we shall also celebrate last years’ brand new additions to the Periodic Table.

We do not yet know just how many events there will be during the Year. Last year’s Year of Language and Culture had just about 100, so we ought to try to beat that! And, before you say that it’s about quality not quantity – agreed – it’s always nice to aim for both! Certainly we have great supporters for events: The Royal Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry are already planning activities, as is the Natural History Museum.

There are always lots of stories about how we came to where we are in science, which almost always come down to person-to-person relationships. So, as we embark upon the UK Russia Year of Science and Education, clearly this is not so much the beginning of a relationship but another opportunity to remind ourselves of the great things we have done, are doing and shall do. And will it be beautiful? Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so let’s re-visit it in a year.




LATEST EVENTS

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?


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?


03.07.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at breakfast event: Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia (3 July, British Museum)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m happy that Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia exhibition is gaining momentum. We have all seen the excellent teaser reviews in the papers. They are a good sign, but one always expects world class events from the State Hermitage and the British Museum. The public expectations are high and no doubt they will be met.


15.06.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at the British Library exhibition "Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths"

The exhibition "Hope, Tragedy, Myths" gives an excellent insight into the tragic events of 1917: why the revolution started, how it unfolded and evolved into the civil war. It explores the ideas behind the conflict and gives a comprehensive and accurate image. The exhibition gives a unique opportunity to see original documents related to the key personalities of the Russian history, and not only politicians - the section telling the story of the Russian emigration has valuable documents on Russian literature history.


13.06.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s speech at Russia’s National Day Reception (13 June 2017, London)

Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Dear friends, It is a privilege to welcome you all at my Residence on the occasion of Russia’s National Day. Thanks God for fine weather. Hope you will enjoy the time at our place. Ever since my country embarked upon the path of radical change 30 years ago, we have had a difficult, even painful journey. It was the price of profound transformation of a society, aspiring for freedom and justice. We abandoned any ideology as alien to common sense and real needs of real people. We have been seeing those tough decisions bearing fruit.


26.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s address at the RBCC Business Forum (25 May, “BMA House”, London)

It is my pleasure to welcome the participants of the annual Business Forum held under the auspices of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. Whatever the political situation, the Chamber has always been successful in its mission to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties (“Russo-British Chamber of Commerce” was registered on the 23rd of October, 1916, in London as a joint-stock company with the aim “to promote trade between the British and Russian Empires”).


19.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at opening of the "Travels in Holy Russia with the Temple Gallery” exhibition

Dear Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, It’s a real honor for me to be here today at the opening of exhibition of photographs: "Travels in Holy Russia with the Temple Gallery”.


11.05.2017 - The Worshipful Mayor of Southwark speech on Victory Day (May 9 2017, Imperial War Museum)

I welcome you all here today at the Soviet War Memorial as we remember those who gave their lives during the Second World War on the 72nd anniversary of the victory of the allied forces in Europe.


09.05.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s remarks at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial (London, 9 May 2017)

Today we honour and remember men and women who fought heroically, sacrificing their lives in the fight against fascism. We also honour all those who selflessly toiled at factories to bring the Victory Day nearer. All those who suffered one way or another, went through all the hardships and tragedies of that war



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