26 January 2020
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693 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     685 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.



16.01.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at a plenary session of the Raisina Dialogue international conference, New Delhi, January 15, 2020

Good morning and bon appetit to those who have some food on their tables. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation. I understand this is a young forum, but it managed already in a few years to acquire importance, popularity and reputation. It is indeed very appropriate that we get together more often than in the past to discuss where we are in international relations and which way we are heading.

15.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Times of India newspaper, published on January 15, 2020

Question: What areas of cooperation will be in the focus of your visit to India and will determine the strategic partnership between the two states in 2020? What do you think about the Indian-Russian cooperation in general? Sergey Lavrov: This is a special year for our countries. Twenty years ago, India and Russia signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership.

14.01.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Times in response to the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki on World War II

Sir, Polish Ambassador Rzegocki, in his letter published on 9 January, proposes to “question the USSR’s status as liberator”, claiming that Molotov-Ribbentrop pact “sparked the war and a double totalitarian invasion of Poland”. Let me suggest to my Polish colleague to look deeper into the history of that time.

14.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Daily News Sri Lankan newspaper, published on January 13, 2020

Question: Since the end of the Cold War and the inception of the multipolar world order, you have spent many years engaged in international affairs and geopolitics. Are there any peculiarities in the relations between Sri Lanka and Russia originating in that period? Sergey Lavrov: The relations between our states have always been intrinsically valuable and independent from international developments. They have always been and continue to be based on the principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration of one another's interests. The peculiarities specific to certain periods of history are of marginal significance, since they do not affect the inviolability of the bonds of friendship uniting our peoples.

19.12.2019 - President Vladimir Putin replies to a BBC question during his annual press conference Moscow, 19 December 2019

I know what the interests of my country are. And whatever somebody might say about me, this has no importance whatsoever when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving. But of course, we see, we hear, we understand and we take those views into consideration in our work.

18.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article Neighbours in Europe. Russia-EU: Thirty Years of Relations for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 18, 2019

Thirty years ago, on December 18, 1989, Brussels hosted the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the USSR and the European communities. This date became the point of departure for official relations between Russia as the successor state of the USSR and the European Union. Symbolically, the Agreement was signed slightly over a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that came down in history as a landmark signifying the end of the Cold War, a period, when the continent was divided into two opposing ideological blocs. The founders of the Russia-EU partnership knew that it would be impossible to erase the centuries-old divides on the continent unless a broad framework for cooperation was created in Europe. Both sides intended to make it mutually beneficial, long-term, and resistant to economic and political fluctuations.

06.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, Bratislava, December 5, 2019

Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.

29.11.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum. Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.

28.11.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s reply to a media question concerning the recent statement of the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff

Q: How would you comment on the statement made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Carter that the UK is in a state of cyber war with Russia? Has London raised this matter with Moscow? Has the British side provided any evidence? A.: This is not the first statement of this sort made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Carter, and it certainly needs to be considered in the context of the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign launched by the British government.

21.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moscow, November 20, 2019

We have had very good talks with my Bahraini colleague and friend, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and we have reached agreements on all the issues we discussed.

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