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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

12.08.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas, Moscow, August 11, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, We have held constructive, trust-based and detailed talks with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas. We discussed the bilateral agenda and cooperation on international issues both at the UN and in Europe.


04.08.2020 - Statement by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation regarding discrimination of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation expresses its deep concern about the fact that as early as September 2020, when the new Ukrainian legislation on education will enter into force, teaching in educational institutions (except for pre-school and primary levels) in Ukraine – country where Russian is the mother tongue for millions of people – will be almost entirely in Ukrainian.


04.08.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the 25th anniversary of the Russian Federation’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime

August 4 marks the 25th anniversary of Russia's accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the only multilateral missile export control mechanism.


22.07.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif, Moscow, July 21, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif and I have held talks. We appreciate the fact that this is his second visit to Moscow this month amid the known problems that the coronavirus infection is creating for diplomacy. Prior to our talks, the minister conveyed a message from President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. The message was transmitted during a telephone conversation, and then we held talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Mansion.


14.07.2020 - Foreign Ministry statement on the fifth anniversary of concluding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Five years ago, on July 14, 2015, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, Germany, Iran, China, Russia, France and the United States, with the participation of the EU, concluded settlement agreements for the Iranian nuclear programme that were unique in their scope and reach. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action driven by the common political will of the countries participating in its development and reinforced by UNSC Resolution 2231 was a major achievement of multilateral diplomacy. It showed the benefits and effectiveness of the decisions made during the talks that prevailed over approaches based on threats, pressure and brute force.


09.07.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference following political consultations between the foreign ministers of Russia and three African Union countries (South Africa, Egypt and the Congo) via videoconference, Moscow, July 8, 2020

Colleagues, Today, we held the first political consultation meeting at the foreign minister level between Russia and three members of the African Union. This mechanism was established after the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi last October. These countries are the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are the former, current and next presidents of the African Union.


24.06.2020 - President Vladimir Putin's speech at the military parade marking 75th anniversary of Great Victory, 24 June 2020

People of Russia, Our dear veterans, Foreign guests, Soldiers and sailors, sergeants, warrant officers and ensigns, Officers, generals and admirals, I wish you all the best on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. A victory that determined the future of the planet for decades to come and went down in history as the grandest in its scale, significance and moral value. This year, the traditional Victory Day celebrations are being held in Russia on June 24. Exactly 75 years ago, the legendary victors paraded right here, along the Kremlin wall, to commemorate the end of the Great Patriotic War. That parade went down in history as a triumph of unprecedented scale, the triumph of good over evil, of peace over war, and life over death.


19.06.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions during a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei, Minsk, June 19, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to our Belarusian friends for the warm welcome accorded to our delegation.


18.06.2020 - Article by President of Russia Vladimir Putin '75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future'

75 years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War. Several generations have grown up over the years. The political map of the planet has changed. The Soviet Union that claimed an epic, crushing victory over Nazism and saved the entire world is gone. Besides, the events of that war have long become a distant memory, even for its participants. So why does Russia celebrate the 9th of May as the biggest holiday? Why does life almost come to a halt on June 22? And why does one feel a lump rise in their throat? They usually say that the war has left a deep imprint on every family's history. Behind these words, there are fates of millions of people, their sufferings and the pain of loss. Behind these words, there is also the pride, the truth and the memory.


18.06.2020 - Article co-authored by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Serbian Kurir on June 18, 2020

Public discussions about possible outcomes of the Kosovo knot have become noticeably livelier recently. The United States and the EU are striving to make themselves an indispensable part of the settlement and are competing for the leading role in this process. In addition, as it happened before, they often disregard the opinions of other stakeholders, which fact calls into question the very possibility of finding a fair solution. Looking back into the recent past and analysing the regrettable consequences of external interference in the region’s affairs is something that must be done if we want to avoid making more mistakes. We also believe it is important to provide a general assessment of the current state of affairs and to outline our fundamental approaches to the Kosovo settlement.



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