23 October 2017
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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

12.03.2017

Ambassador Yakovenko's interview for Sunday Express

Q: As a precursor to Boris Johnson's visit to Moscow in the coming weeks, what is your understanding of the nature of the visit and the purpose of the invitation - given that he will be the most senior UK Government official to visit the Kremlin in a good number of years? What message does Russia hope that the visit will send to the rest of the world? 

A: It is going to be the first working visit at Foreign Ministers' level in our bilateral relation over the past three years. We hope that it means that our British partners are interested in resumption of political dialogue.

Q: Historically, and prior to the Cold War, Russia and Britain had strong cultural ties. But these have become strained throughout the 21st century. What can be done to restore these close links? 

A: We did have strong cultural ties even at the time of the Cold War. These are an ultimate pillar of the relations between our two nations. That’s why both governments did their best not to politicize cultural relationship.

Q: There has been talk only recently that the Stare of UK-Russian relations is in its worst state in peacetime - what do you make of these claims and how do these claims fit with the timing of the in invitation? What would you hope the visit will do for Russian-UK relations?
Sources close to Boris say the visit signals anything but a cosier relationship with Russia and will not reset the relationship but that he will use the visit to deliver some tough messages on the Ukraine, for example, how will that go down? 

A: Of course, the Foreign Secretary’s visit comes at a time when our official bilateral relationship is at the lowest point after the Cold War end.  We don’t need a cozy relationship with Britain, just the one based on mutual respect and national interest. The rhetoric does matter, but without a positive agenda it becomes an end in itself.

Q: How misunderstood is Russia by the British people? How can we change this perception?

A: I think the British people deserve better than the present official and media propaganda campaign. At least, it should be toned down. And whatever evidence there is to support accusations against Russia, it should be made public.

Q: What did you make of Britain's decision to leave the European Union? Obviously there has recently been a recommitment by UK and EU ministers to the sanctions in place against Russia but could you ever see a time when Russia becomes a trading partner to the UK - what is your ultimate hope for Russia's relationship with the UK? Does the Russian government take a view on the merits or otherwise of Brexit?

A: We don’t have an official view of ‘Brexit’ – it’s none of our business. We deal with our partners as they are.

Q: Can Britain and Russia work together militarily to solve the crisis in Syria? What would need to happen to make that work?

A: As to the Syrian crisis, it doesn’t have a military solution. But the terrorist organisations active in Syria have got to be defeated militarily. It is up to the British government to decide what military assets it has at its disposal to commit to that fight.

Q: What do you make of the UK Government's current strategy towards Russia - "engage but beware"? 

A: It’s also up to the British government to determine how to proceed in its relations with Russia. Personally I think its either “engage” or “beware”. Any way, pragmatism, traditionally espoused by the British, is synonymous with commonsense and sound assessment of the situation.

Q: Should Britain fear a resurgent Russia? What about the Baltic states? What about the frequent Blackjack incursions? (nuclear bombers buzzing Britsih aerospace)

A: Russia is just emerging from a painful period of transition/reconstruction. It includes a state of our military. Russia poses threat to no one, including the Baltic states. I have heard of no incursions of our strategic aircraft into the British airspace. They have been flying on their routine missions past the British Isles. It is pure geography.

Q: Cyber attacks are being blamed on Russia, as is a new front in the propaganda war. What does the Russian govenrment say? Boris is apparently going to deliver a message about not interfering in any of the elections in the EU following the allegations about the US - what do you make of this? 

A: It sounds ridiculous that Russia could influence the Western nations’ domestic affairs. Certainly, we have our views to air on various issues of public interest.

As to the accusations of hacking, we now see, given the latest disclosure of the CIA files by Wikileaks, that the US intelligence services have got an army of their own hackers on the government payroll. It appears that CIA has a library of “fingerprints”/identities of various foreign hackers which could be used to put blame on others. That makes the murky business of hacking even murkier. 

Abridged text published on the newspaper website




LATEST EVENTS

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?


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”).



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