26 September 2021
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1302 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1294 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Russia and Scotland: new opportunities for old friends

I guess I will not reveal a big secret by saying that we look with confidence into the future of the Russo-British relationship. Dramatic increase in contacts of all sorts as well as Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent visit to Moscow with a number of essential documents signed is just a clear proof of us being right in our optimistic feelings and our vision being shared by the British partners.

What we should not forget though is that cooperation between Russia and Great Britain is not only the interchange of the top state officials and CEO’s but also the genuine and fruitful interaction between every part of our multi-national and diverse countries.

No need to say in this relation that one of the most distinctive regions of the United Kingdom that played special role in British history but also has historical relations with Russia is Scotland.

We have indeed long tradition of notable interchanges and friendship between the two nations full of exciting and encouraging examples of enterprise, hospitality and dignity. For the centuries the close links were maintained both at the level of individuals and entire communities, and many would agree that this was possible due to the similarities in the national character traits, rich cultures, harsh natural and historical environment. Since the XVI century Russia proved to be the second home for many Scots who were in turn ready to offer their knowledge and skills to the state that faced numerous challenges at the time. Among the prominent Scots who served in Russia were soldiers like Patrick Gordon and James Bruce in Peter the Great’s army, sailors like Catherine the Great’s admiral Samuel Graig, doctors like Sir James Wylie who governed Russian military medical bodies for a long time, architect’s like Charles Cameron who designed splendid Tsarkoe Selo palace not far from St Petersburg. All this people delivered remarkable services to Russia and were highly honoured and rewarded for that. Russians in their turn adored visiting Caledonia and were welcomed wholeheartedly by Scots. Princes Ekaterina Dashkova’s stay in Edinburgh in 1770s is still remembered as a highlight of the city’s social life at the Age of Enlightenment. Emperor Nicholas II was the colonel-in-chief of the famous Royal Scots Greys regiment. XVIII and XIX century saw intense and ever-growing exchange of ordinary people - merchants and craftsmen between the two countries: communication with Scots was the part of day-to-day life of Russia’s North and West, while people of Scotland’s East Coast made friends with Russian sailors and tradesmen. Even today there is Scotland Avenue not far from the port of St Petersburg, while one of the churches in Leith – Scotland’s busiest port at the time - is said to have ceiling copying this of one of the churches in Russia with design being brought home from Russia by the local artisans.

More recently, in the XXth century, our country and Great Britain proved to be not only allies but brother-in-arms during the World War Two. Scotland played special role here again. While its people have shown great support to the fighting Soviet Union, the region became a base for a numerous Arctic Convoys delivering important supplies to Murmansk and Archangel and even for some Soviet Navy units.

No doubt, the records of relations between Russians and Scots featured great mutual intellectual interest. It has been based both on the cultural heritage, be it Sir Walter Scott or Leo Tolstoy, but also on the encouraging events happening in the two countries, be it national development or fight against common enemy. Scottish higher education gained then reputation for their Russian studies while we are still proud of Robert Burns’ translations by the best Russian poets.

Despite the major changes of the recent past very good relations has been kept with the beautiful Northern land. 2011 alone saw a few major events. An official visit by the head of the Council of the Federation, one of the two chambers of the Russian Parliament, was paid to the Scottish capital in March. Representatives of the Scottish local authorities had traveled to their partner cities in Russia. On the other direction world famous Mariinsky company was once again the guests of the Edinburgh International Festival with Maestro Valery Gergiev being appointed the Festival’s Honorary President. The Arctic convoys were traditionally commemorated through the year with special attention to the 70th Anniversary of the first convoy sailing to the Soviet Union in August 1941. Close cooperation was shown by the universities, charities, museums and the links got broader and diverse. More and more tourists have been enjoying exciting journeys between Scotland to Russia in both directions.

 Yet, we are certainly able to reach further. There is a task of preserving the heritage of friendship but we should also develop new links or restore the old ones, as it’s not enough to remember the beauty of the past, but necessary to create the successful future. I believe the economic aspect is quite important in this respect. It goes indeed along with the recent trend in Russo-British relations where most dynamic area of cooperation is economic ties through trade and innovative investments. This point was particularly stressed by  President Medvedev and Prime Minister Cameron signing in Moscow the declaration on a knowledge-based partnership for modernisation as one of the most important documents of the visit.

So, I’m certain that there is a great potential for developing broader links between business partners in Russia and Scotland, and it’s the right moment now to do that.
We see that both Russian and Scottish business have shown impressive endurance at the time of the world economic crisis. It’s also obvious that due to the global economic situation there are still major challenges to deal with and success may be guaranteed only through expanding the external cooperation. At the same time both economies have today much to offer and would readily accept foreign contributions both in form of markets or export and in form of investments. It’s a pleasure to note the approach of the Scottish administration that welcomes and assists strengthening economic ties with the region and promotes it as a rewarding economic partner and investment destination. My meetings with Scottish officials earlier this year absolutely confirm that. As I know, energy with particular focus on renewables, IT, financial and business cervices, biotechnologies, tourism, food and drink producing are recognised as key sectors for cooperation in Scotland. This fields are definitely of great interest for Russian business too. Expanding and intensifying economic co-operation is also naturally supported by the Russian government. I’d stress that we don’t start from scratch here. There are already sustainable ties within quite a few fields, most notably in oil and gas sector where Scotland is so prominent with Aberdeen considered deservedly one of  the oil capitals of Europe. Scottish companies’ expertise and high-quality services, particularly dealing with oil and gas, are very much appreciated in Russia. At the same time we can provide our partners with best practices, resources, unique goods and services. There are Russian scientists who work both at the Scottish universities and major Russian-based innovation projects.

So, here we definitely have a solid common ground for mutually beneficial enterprise and multiple opportunities for the exchange of skills and technologies. That’s why I’ve recently invited the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government to have a meeting with the senior representatives of the major Russian companies and investment funds at the Embassy of Russia in the United Kingdom to present the overview of the regional economy and share his expert vision on the prospective fields for economic cooperation with Scotland. I believe this event and other similar steps will encourage Russian and Scottish business to establish and develop close and beneficial ties that will provide for successful overall relations between Russia and Scotland and Russia and the United Kingdom. For my part, I would also like to reassure both Russian and Scottish business that Russian diplomacy in Britain is always here to give any support possible to the companies willing to explore and enter either market.


16.09.2021 - Presiden Putin's address to citizens of Russia ahead of State Duma elections

President Vladimir Putin addressed the citizens of Russia ahead of the State Duma election.

04.08.2021 - Russia`s position at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

1. The goal of the 76-th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) is to reaffirm the central and coordinating role of the Organization in international affairs. Owing to its representativeness and universality, the UN is rightfully viewed as a unique platform for an equitable dialogue aimed at reaching compromise solutions with due regard to different opinions. Attempts to undermine the authority and legitimacy of the UN are, in our view, extremely dangerous, as they can lead to the dismantlement of the multipolar system of international relations.

04.08.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Moscow, August 4, 2021

Question: Russia was not only the first country to register a vaccine – Sputnik V – but has also extended a helping hand to many countries that urgently needed it. Some of them accepted Russia’s assistance with gratitude. Tiny San Marino overcame the pandemic within just a matter of seven days. Thanks to Sputnik V, the number of new cases in Argentina is now down to less than one percent. Do other countries really appreciate our support, and should we continue helping them? Sergey Lavrov: Indeed, we were not only the first to register a vaccine, but we also declared our readiness to supply it on a transparent and non-discriminating basis. I am quite sure that our partners appreciate what we are doing.

23.07.2021 - Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on recent statements by MI5 Director General Ken McCallum

We have noted statements by MI5 Director General Ken McCallum, which have been taken up by the British media, referring to security threats facing the United Kingdom, allegedly emanating from the actions of hostile states, namely, cyber-attacks, misinformation, etc. Director General Ken McCallum also lists Russia among such hostile states. At the same time, all of his assertions are in the well-known “highly likely” style. He provides no evidence or specific facts and merely speaks about certain hybrid threats. There is no specific example to confirm all this; however, this creates a narrative that is detrimental for and has a destructive effect on interstate dialogue and the normal development of bilateral ties.

22.07.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview with Interfax news agency, Moscow, July 21, 2021

Question: The German-US draft agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline ties up Ukraine's energy security with new sanctions on Russia that the Germans will be able to impose. Does Russia think the latest threat of sanctions is acceptable? Will it affect the implementation of the project? Sergey Lavrov: Any threat of sanctions, be it new, old or ongoing, is unacceptable, because only the UN Security Council can impose them. Our Western colleagues, primarily the United States and the European Union, which is quickly adopting these “bad habits,” are quite often carried away by sanctions. They are no longer interested in the culture of diplomacy or talks. In fact, they are losing it. They want instant results.

17.07.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation between China and Russia, published by the newspapers Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia) and Renmin Ribao (China), July 16, 2021

Relations between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have reached an all-time high, setting an example of interstate cooperation in the 21st century. Just as in any story of success, there are backbone pillars in our relations that set the tune for our forward development in the years ahead. One such pillar in the development of modern Russian-Chinese ties was the signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation. Twenty years ago, it was signed by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Jiang Zemin.

13.07.2021 - Article by Vladimir Putin ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“, 12.07.2021

During the recent Direct Line, when I was asked about Russian-Ukrainian relations, I said that Russians and Ukrainians were one people – a single whole. These words were not driven by some short-term considerations or prompted by the current political context. It is what I have said on numerous occasions and what I firmly believe. I therefore feel it necessary to explain my position in detail and share my assessments of today's situation.

09.07.2021 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address on Russia’s International Activities for Russian Regions’ Development, delivered at Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), and answers to questions from students and faculty, Vladivostok, July 8, 2021

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here. I have returned from a short Asian tour, during which I visited Indonesia and Laos. We also held a meeting of the Russian and ASEAN foreign ministers in a hybrid format. What we do during our foreign trips and talks with our foreign partners is not done for its own sake. We do it to implement our foreign policy, which was approved by the President of Russia in the Foreign Policy Concept adopted in 2016.

22.06.2021 - Article by President Vladimir Putin ”Being Open, Despite the Past“ published in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, 22 June 2021

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09.05.2021 - President Putin's address at the military parade marking the 76th Anniversary of Victory

Citizens of Russia, Dear veterans, Comrades soldiers and sailors, sergeants and warrant officers, midshipmen and sergeant majors, Comrades officers, generals and admirals, Happy Victory Day! The Victory had a colossal historic significance for the fate of the entire world. It is a holiday that has always been and will remain a sacred day for Russia, for our nation. It is our holiday by right, for we are blood relatives of those who defeated, crushed, destroyed Nazism. It is ours because we descend from the generation of victors, a generation we are proud of and hold in great honour.

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