15 July 2020
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864 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     856 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Russia 24 Channel for Interview with Maria Bondareva programme, Moscow, October 14, 2019

Question: We are living in a time of “fake news” and “information plants” and there are instances of wiretapping, hacking of mailboxes, etc. What should a 21st century diplomat be aware of? Do they teach this sort of thing at MGIMO?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not think a diplomat needs to be aware of the technical or technological methods of hacking, wiretapping or anything like that. A diplomat should be prepared to see the information space flooded by fake and false news. Amateurs, including hackers, and states are doing this as well. Our Government and relevant services have repeatedly provided statistics on the number of hacking attempts at the websites of our government agencies, including the security services, intelligence, the Foreign Ministry, the Central Bank and Sberbank. Clearly, we will have to live with that for a long time. The genie is out of the bottle. Technical progress has come that far. One can probably only hope that the next stage of the technological revolution will be less painful for normal interaction between states and governments.

However, without getting into the technicalities, MGIMO students should be aware that they will have to deal with the aftermath of these events and phenomena. When a lie is thrown out there, it goes straight to the front pages of newspapers, television prime time and it clogs the social media. Later, after the situation gets digested and the sources of these allegations are identified, the facts that debunk the lie come to the surface, but nobody is interested in a debunked lie. At best, a nondescript footnote will mention a slight inaccuracy in a previous publication. In order to fight and overcome this, you need to be extremely knowledgeable and be prepared for a debate. This has become a major requirement for the diplomats. Not only those who work at the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe or other public forums, but also the diplomats who work at our Embassies. Communication with the press never ends, and we constantly have to respond to all kinds of information plants. This must be done quickly, convincingly and, most importantly, be based on the facts.

Question: What rules are still applicable in diplomacy if we go back to the time you studied at MGIMO? We know from one interview, for example, that talks should be held on a “one-on-one” basis.

Sergey Lavrov: No. This is probably an important, but by far not the only form of diplomacy. If I am invited to talks, I fully rely on the arrangements provided by our hosts. If the hosts suggest starting with a one-on-one conversation, and continue with  an expanded format, we are fine with that. If it is the other way round, we are ready to go along with that as well. Talking one-on-one is always better if you want to understand a person, unlike when they are in front of a camera and have to give formal statements and do what is expected of them. But you can see now what, for instance, Washington thinks about one-on-one talks. They are trying to make them a mortal sin. Many questions arise in this regard. What are we supposed to do with free access to information then?

If we absolutise this principle, which is what the Democrats are trying to do on Capitol Hill, then it is necessary to drop all charges against Edward Snowden, release Julian Assange and stop using torture, which he, in all likelihood, is subjected to in a British pre-trial detention centre.

Anyway, I think one-on-one conversations provide an opportunity to look a person in the eye and see if they are willing to be open. I have much respect for those who can be open without causing any damage to their country’s position, which they must uphold. On the one hand, this sounds rather paradoxical. An unlikely combination, but I assure you, it works. I do not remember that any one of my colleagues who spoke openly with me caused any damage to the policy of their country.

Question: What can you tell today’s MGIMO students or those who want to go study there? Of course, all of them see you as an example. How does a person become a foreign minister?

Sergey Lavrov: Do not think about it, but try to do your job honestly. I will say this openly, without false modesty: I did not ask to be promoted to any of my positions. If what I did was considered correct and good for the country, I can only feel a sense of deep satisfaction, as we used to say.

I am sure MGIMO students will be better than us. Several generations of students that came after us have been studying in a different environment. In addition to the classical MGIMO school, which has been famous since the Soviet times, there are excellent professors, brilliant language specialists and historians specialising in a variety of subjects ranging from the history of ancient Rome to the history of modern diplomacy. We had amazing educational opportunities. But current MGIMO students, like students at our other universities, have, on top of this, an opportunity to communicate with their peers and universities from around the world. MGIMO is involved in the Bologna Process and has partnerships with numerous universities. Of course, this is mutual enrichment, and a glimpse into the practices of other advanced universities. I hope our students will take full advantage of these great and unique opportunities.

Question: We talked with Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, also a graduate of MGIMO. He said he had learned to make glue with flour at the university. They put a student newspaper up on the wall, he said. He claims this was the best glue he has ever made. Do you have any student memories like this?

Sergey Lavrov: I did not put newspapers on the wall. The Mezhdunarodnik newspaper, which continues to be published, was then handwritten and illustrated with our drawings. It was made of several large Whatman sheets that were glued together and laid out on a stairwell in the old building. After classes, four or five students, as much as could fit on that stairwell, agreed on the design, and each went into his own corner and wrote, drew and designed the newspaper.

Question: So you made your own newspaper?

Sergey Lavrov: It was a university paper. I participated in several issues. I do not remember exactly what I did. I wrote articles or did something else. In our student construction brigades, we also did some cooking, but we cooked concrete. I worked at construction sites for four consecutive years after Ostankino Tower. We went to Tuva, Khakassia, Yakutia, and near Vladivostok. All the work we did was also related to cooking, but we cooked up concrete.



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.

17.06.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on US Officials’ Statements on Russia's manipulation of the International Criminal Court

Last week, Washington announced more unilateral sanctions. Unfortunately, this has already become common practice for the United States. These sanctions are directed at an unusual target - not one of the many countries that are out of US favour, but the International Criminal Court and its staff. This event was the subject of a joint briefing by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defence, the Attorney General and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

02.06.2020 - Appeal by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the parliaments of foreign States and the peoples of the world with regard to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism

Appeal by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to the parliaments of foreign States and the peoples of the world with regard to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism

28.05.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article about the world amid the coronavirus pandemic for Chinese newspaper Global Times, Moscow, May 28, 2020

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus changed life on the planet virtually overnight. It also became a crush test for international relations, both at the level of individual countries and multilateral associations. The obvious consequences include an economic recession, a crisis of global governance and the growth of protectionist and isolationist sentiments. The pandemic has seriously limited humanitarian, cultural and tourist exchanges, as well as people to people contacts. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

27.05.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the joint news conference with CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas following the CSTO Foreign Ministers Council videoconference, Moscow, May 26, 2020

We have held a CSTO Foreign Ministers Council meeting via videoconference. Russia is chairing the CSTO this year. Considering the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus infection, we approached the preparations and holding of this meeting with certain precautions.

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