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PRESS RELEASES

14.10.2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks at an unveiling ceremony for the Alexander Gorchakov monument, Moscow, 13 October 2014

Dear friends,

Good morning. I am pleased to see so many graduates and friends of MGIMO here for this ceremony at such an early hour. But this occasion is truly significant: the unveiling of a monument to Alexander Gorchakov, who headed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for years during what was a very difficult period for Russia, the period that followed the Crimean War. This time was marked by a period of concentration, which Alexander Gorchakov referred to in explaining to everyone that rather than becoming angry, we would concentrate.

The foundations of the Russian Empire’s foreign policy that he laid retain all of their relevance even today, because they concern systematic issues of conducting affairs in the world. This implies, first, that we should staunchly defend our national interests; second, that we should promote understanding that is based on our national interests and that simultaneously takes into account the reasonable and legitimate interests of our partners; and third, we should follow the European vector of Russian foreign policy, combined with the essential development of our relations with the East: he paid special attention to China, India and Japan.

If we familiarise ourselves with the current Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, we will see that it relies on these basic principles: respect for our own interests and their consistent, albeit non-confrontational, advancement, and the multi-vector nature of foreign policy (which implies a readiness to do business with any country in any region that is ready to work with us on an equitable and mutually respectful basis, seeking to find a balance of interests).

These simple truths and the desire to always seek understanding with our partners, while securing a balance of interests, is the legacy that will always underlie our foreign policy activities. It is highly symbolic that the monument to Alexander Gorchakov is being unveiled at MGIMO, on our University’s wonderful campus, because, in the grand scheme of things, this is a school of life. Diplomacy is about relations between people and countries. Those graduating from the International Relations Department, the International Economic Relations Department, the International Journalism Department and various business schools will, in some way or another, be engaging in relations between people. In this sense, MGIMO’s educational traditions are invaluable. It is symbolic that this is where the monument to the great Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire is being unveiled.

Let me thank the MGIMO rector, Anatoly Torkunov, who showed the initiative to install this monument, and the sculptor, Ivan Cherapkin, who created the wonderful image that is going to be unveiled before us shortly.




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