24 January 2021
Moscow: 01:35
London: 22:35

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1057 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1049 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

17.03.2017

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko about learning Russian: talking points for BBC interview

Foreign languages are an essential skill in the modern world. For example, in Russia, English is taught in all schools, mostly as primary and sometimes as secondary foreign language (2 foreign languages are now mandatory). Russian, the language that has most native speakers in Europe, is equally important for economic, cultural and political reasons. Learning Russian is in high demand in Asia, including China. Today you don’t even need to physically attend classes – online education is available, in some cases even for free, by Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Moscow State University and RT TV channel.

In UK, the demand for Russian is high: 21% of British employers are looking for Russian-speaking staff – this is no wonder since 600 British companies are working in our country, and the prospects are good: GDP is expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent this year.

But both the volume and quality of Russian studies in UK are in danger. Around 3000 students took GCSE and A-levels exams last year, it’s quite a good figure (more than Chinese and less than German), but still Edexcel considered discontinuing Russian exams. In Scotland, Russian has recently been removed from the regional “Curriculum for Excellence”. The number of schools (especially state-run) and universities where Russian is taught has also decreased. Quite often, British kids and adults go to supplementary education schools created by local Russian community. They are doing really well, but the very fact of their popularity among native Britons means the supply of Russian language classes does not meet the demand. The expertise on Russia is now definitely worse than during the Cold War, when language training for UK diplomatic and military service was truly excellent. It may seem a paradox, but many of those people, trained for conflict, acquired sincere love and admiration towards the Russian culture and they, in their 70s and 80s now, keep this feeling to present day. This is understandable – the more you learn the Russian language and culture, the more you love it. Even if we don’t agree on policy issues, expertise and understanding are vital. However, British academics have told us that their expertise on Russia is rarely taken into account by the government (unlike the times of Margaret Thatcher, for example). This is so short-sighted.

I hope that the Russia-UK Year of Language and Literature held in 2016 gave an impetus to Russian scholars here and raised some awareness about the importance of Russian. But one year is definitely not enough.

Still, I remain optimistic. Our peoples have a strong mutual cultural attraction. I think Britons made more film versions of “War and Peace” than of any German, or French, or Chinese novel. The Russian Film Week last year was the most popular foreign film festival in London. Everybody I met here loves Russian novels, Russian classical music and ballet, Russian art – I advise you to visit the “Revolution” exhibition at the Royal Academy while it’s still open. Contemporary Russian culture equally stands out in the world context. Russia matters in world politics, in economy, in science (we have Russia-UK Year of Science and Education in 2017) – so learning Russian is a really good choice. Start learning it now, before it becomes mainstream. 




LATEST EVENTS

21.01.2021 - Press release on the future of New START

When it comes to arms control, the previous US administration worked consistently and systematically to destroy the agreements which prevented Washington from arbitrarily building up, projecting and using military force and which it saw as an obstacle on its way to “victory” in the “great power rivalry” it itself declared.


19.01.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions at a news conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2020, Moscow, January 18, 2021

This is our traditional news conference on the foreign policy outcomes of 2020. It is traditional, but remote. We opted for a format that was widely used over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed in almost all countries, including Russia.


15.01.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions during a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Moscow, January 14, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, We had substantive and meaningful talks. We discussed the further development of the friendly and trustworthy relations between our countries in accordance with the agreements reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Riyadh in the autumn of 2019, and subsequent telephone conversations at top level.


01.01.2021 - President Vladimir Putin's New Year Address to the Nation

Citizens of Russia, friends, The year 2020 will be over in just a few minutes. As we were welcoming it a year ago today, just like people around the world, we thought and dreamed of changes for the better. No one could have imagined back then what kind of trials would come our way. Now, it appears that the outgoing year has taken in the burden of many years. It was a difficult year for all of us, with worries and serious financial difficulties, bitter experiences and, for some, loss of the loved ones.


29.12.2020 - Main Foreign Policy Results in 2020

In 2020, Russia’s foreign policy focused on making better use of the potential for international cooperation in the interests of protecting national security, promoting the country’s socioeconomic development and encouraging approaches to current global and regional problems that meet the interests of Russia.


22.12.2020 - Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

We consider the adoption by the European Union at the behest of its leading Member States of illegitimate restrictive measures against some of our fellow citizens under the pretext of their alleged involvement in the incident with Russian citizen Alexei Navalny to be absolutely unacceptable.


22.12.2020 - Foreign Ministry statement regarding OPCW response to Russia’s request for technical assistance to clarify the situation around Alexey Navalny

On October 1, we sent a request to Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW and head of its Technical Secretariat, for technical assistance under Clause 38 (е) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Two and a half months later, we are still waiting for a meaningful response. Their explanation is the absence of the German authorities’ permission for full-scale cooperation between the agency’s experts and competent Russian organisations to clarify the circumstances of what Berlin describes as the poisoning of the blogger. Russia’s suggestions regarding the main modalities of a planned visit of OPCW Technical Secretariat’s representatives to Russia have been rejected as well.


19.12.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Russian and Syrian efforts to eradicate terrorism in Syria

Moscow has taken note of a statement made by US Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn to the effect that Russia and the Assad regime are aggravating the problem of terrorism in Syria. He has accused Moscow and Damascus, without any substantiation, of involvement in the bombing and artillery raids on Idlib, which allegedly do not target terrorists but innocent civilians, infrastructure and armed opposition groups. He has also said that he believes that Russia and the Damascus regime are not doing enough to combat terrorism.


14.12.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the new round of British anti-Russia sanctions

We were puzzled by the decision announced by the British government on December 10, 2020 to impose sanctions against three Russian individuals and a unit of the National Guard over the alleged human rights violations in the Chechen Republic.


11.12.2020 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on a new set of US sanctions

Regrettably, the US authorities have decided to celebrate Human Rights Day, which is marked on December 10, by adopting new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities.



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