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RUSSIAN EMBASSY WEEKLY #148
 
 
PRESIDENT

 
The Presidents exchanged opinions on the developments in the Trans Caucasus related to the aggravation of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of preventing any steps that could cause an escalation in tensions. Both presidents spoke in favour of resolving the conflict through peaceful means, through talks. They expressed their interest in coordinating efforts to achieve stabilisation in the region. The two leaders also pointed out the lack of alternatives to a political or diplomatic settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one based on international law, in the interests of both the Armenian and Azerbaijani people.
They also touched on current issues on the bilateral agenda. In particular, they expressed appreciation for their cooperation in fighting the coronavirus, which allowed them to make the decision to partially resume regular flights between several Russian and Turkish cities from August 1.
 
The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Guatemala together with Valdai Discussion Club (Russia), American Chamber of Commerce AmCham (USA), U.S.-Russia Business Council (USA), Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), Regional Coordinator for Economic and Social Research (CRIES - Argentina) hold an interactive conference in the framework of the “Political and Economic Lecture Hall” on the topic: «USA – Latin America - Russia: Constructive Cooperation Agenda in the post-COVID-19 era».
Date: August 4th / 9.00 a.m Guatemala, 11.00 a.m. New York, 12.00 p.m. Buenos Aires, 17 p.m. Geneve, 18 p.m. Moscow
Vladimir Putin congratulated current and former Airborne Forces service personnel on their professional day and the 90th anniversary of the Airborne Forces.
The message reads, in part:
“You are rightfully proud of the glorious history of the legendary ‘winged infantry’ and the names of its founding fathers. You are modeling yourself on your predecessors and senior comrades, who have invariably handled the missions assigned to them with honour and demonstrated top-level training, fortitude and mutual assistance during special operations and peacekeeping missions. Of course, in this year of the 75th anniversary of Victory, special words of gratitude go to the paratrooper heroes, Great Patriotic War veterans.
Importantly, the current generation of soldiers and officers carries on with dignity the established military and patriotic traditions, holds sacred the laws of military brotherhood, and shows impeccable skills and loyalty to the Oath and the Fatherland in the most challenging emergency situations.
I am convinced that you will never fail us and will firmly stand guard over the interests of the Motherland, and make a significant contribution to the Russian Armed Forces and to strengthening the country's defence capability and national security.”


HAPPY Eid al-Adha
 
The message reads, in part:
“This religious holiday is important for all Muslims and is a symbol of the loyalty to the high spiritual ideals of virtue, justice, mercy and love for one’s neighbour that are the bedrock of the Holy Quran. Supporting the centuries-old Muslim traditions, Muslims make an important contribution to the preservation of our country’s cultural diversity and promote interethnic accord in society.”
 

 
NUCLEAR TECH
 
Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants in an official event marking the initial assembly of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and installation of its equipment.
The message reads in part:
“ITER that has become a major international science and technological project is an outstanding example of effective and mutually beneficial multilateral cooperation. As you may know, Russia is one of the countries that conceived this initiative, called on to make an important contribution to guaranteeing humankind’s energy security, and plays an active role in implementing it. The ITER project hinges on the TOKAMAK (Toroidal Chamber with Magnetic Coils) concept developed in our country.
Today, the ITER project is entering a decisive stage of its implementation. It became possible to continue working without interruption despite the restrictions linked with the coronavirus pandemic. This makes it possible to hope that the project’s goals can be achieved on time as planned, and that we will receive a unique energy source, in terms of its power and safety, in the foreseeable future. Doubtless, its operation will help accomplish sustainable development tasks and improve the quality of life of millions of people.
I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has been working on the ITER project for many years. My special thanks go to President of France Emmanuel Macron as the leader of a country hosting the project, providing the reactor site and invaluable assistance during its implementation.”


IN SPACE WE TRUST
 
 
Crewmembers of the new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) will start pre-flight training after arriving at the Baikonur Cosmodrome late September. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft will blast off in October, the press service for the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, told TASS.
"The crew is expected to fly to Baikonur in late September. The next expedition to the ISS with an international crew is starting aboard a Soyuz MS spacecraft in October 2020," the press service noted.
The crew includes Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov, Sergei Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and American astronaut Mark Vande Hei are standing-by as their backups.
Roscosmos clarified that the crew is currently completing training in the Moscow Region’s cosmonaut training center.


TRAVEL LIKE A RUSSIAN
 
Two space tourists will be launched on a rocket to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2021, their names will be revealed early next year, the press service for the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, told TASS.
"In accordance with the agreement with [US] Space Adventures company, specializing in space tourism, a launch will take place, involving two tourists. The launch is scheduled for late 2021," the press service said, adding that their names will be announced in the beginning of 2021.
Roscosmos also informed that the agency is in talks with a few American companies to send tourists to the ISS. In February 2019, Roscosmos and Space Adventures signed a new contract to fly two space tourists to the ISS aboard one spacecraft before 2022.
The Russian state corporation then clarified that space industry facilities had already begun manufacturing a Soyuz-MS spacecraft and a Soyuz-2 carrier missile for the space flight. Roscosmos added that the tourists are covering all expenses to produce all the necessary equipment and hardware.
The Russian side and Space Adventures sent the first tourist, Dennis Tito, to space back in 2001. Overall, seven people travelled to space under their contracts (one did it twice). The last such flight took place in September 2009. In 2015, singer Sarah Brightman was supposed to travel to the ISS, but she later terminated her training and withdrew her application, citing family reasons.

 
FOREIGN MINISTRY
 

Russia-US expert consultations on strategic stability
 

Participants in the Russia-US expert consultations on strategic stability, which took place in Vienna on July 27-30, agreed to maintain contact, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry, experts held consultations on space security, doctrines and potentials, as well as on transparency and verification. "The parties agreed to maintain contact on all those issues," the statement reads.
"In light of the event’s results, the parties agreed to continue the work, holding regular meetings of the working group on space security," the ministry added.
The other two working groups particularly discussed the two countries’ approaches to arms control with regard to aspects affecting strategic stability, focusing on the looming expiration of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
 

New round of spy mania in the American media
 

On July 29, 2020, several American media outlets, including such presumably respectable ones as the Associated Press and the New York Times, reported that Russian intelligence services are allegedly using English-language sites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus epidemic in the United States.

We have noticed that the unsubstantiated claims about the alleged connection of some of these sites, namely InfoRos.ru, Infobrics.org and OneWorld.press, with the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, cite “US government officials” who spoke “on condition of anonymity” and a certain classified report, which is patently unverifiable information. It is notable that this simple method, this American know-how is being widely used in the Western media. Reporters and the authors of the concept of “Russian interference in everything” feel free to publish anything they want without providing any facts or proof, even if not quite reliable. This looks like the American version of Britain’s “highly likely” allegations, which was recently replaced with “almost certainly.”

One of their arguments is that between late May and early July these “bullhorns of the Russian intelligence services” have published “about 150 articles about the pandemic response, including coverage aimed either at propping up Russia or denigrating the US.” It is notable that any publications that express opinions unsuitable to media magnates are sharply criticised and immediately connected to Russian intelligence services.

Statements about Russia’s alleged “ongoing and persistent effort to advance false narratives and cause confusion” sound especially cynical amid the internal political situation and the accelerating presidential race in the United States. We have no doubt that the notorious “Russian card” will now be played often and without reason.

By the way, OneWorld has published a refutation of its alleged connection with Russian intelligence services.

Moreover, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman has more than once commented on the so-called infodemic. We encourage our audience to read her latest statement.
 

“Pilgrim” leaves Albany for Duluth

“Pilgrim”, replica of an ancient Russian sailboat, is now on its water way from Albany to Duluth, sister city of Petrozavodsk. The floating museum features models, dioramas, photos showcasing the history of Northern Old Russian wooden architecture and shipbuilding.
 

Moscow considers the Arctic to be an area for constructive dialogue and equal, conflict-free cooperation in the interests of all nations

The deployment of S-400 missile systems on Russia's Arctic islands is a logical step, needed exclusively for national defence, and it should not raise concerns, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large Nikolai Korchunov stated in an interview.
"As for the emergence of the S-400 systems on Russia's Arctic islands, this is a consistent move after the creation of a seamless radar field above the territory of our country. The S-400 system is intended solely for defence. Its deployment anywhere should not raise concerns — if those who express concerns do not develop aggressive intentions against an area or an object that the S-400 is meant to protect", Korchunov said.
Ivan Papanin
Russia's Ivan Papanin is not a classic icebreaker but a military ship, therefore the mounting of weapons on it should not trigger any questions, Korchunov stressed. This came as a comment to another statement by Adm. James Foggo, who noted that Ivan Papanin was designed to carry Kalibr cruise missiles and qualified this as a sign of "aggressive approach in the Arctic."
"The fact that weapons are mounted on a military ship should hardly generate questions, especially given that the weapons do not contradict international agreements that our country participates in, like in the case with the sea-based Kalibr missiles", Korchunov said. "The possibility to install containers with Kalibr or Uran cruise missiles on our icebreakers — which is, by the way, mentioned in Russian media as well — is envisioned only during a special period. For this period, it is planned that the vessels can be involved to strengthen the Northern Fleet's seaborne command, whose area of responsibility covers the entire Northern Sea Route and Russia's Arctic coast".

NATO Building Up Potential in Arctic
Korchunov went on to say that NATO countries use claims of Russia militarising the Arctic to continue ramping up own potential there.
"Despite the fact that at the ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi [in Finland in May 2019], a joint statement was adopted, in which all member countries of the Arctic Council reaffirmed commitment to maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic, NATO nations, hiding behind the claims of the region’s 'militarisation' against our country, have continued to build up military potential there, including through harnessing the potential of non-Arctic states, and expand military exercises north of the Arctic Circle under the scenario in which Russia is seen as the main threat", Nikolay Korchunov said.
The West has repeatedly expressed concerns over Russia increasing military presence and activities in the Arctic. Moscow has consistently dismissed the "militarisation" allegations, noting that it considers the Arctic to be an area for constructive dialogue and equal, conflict-free cooperation in the interests of all nations.
 Russia's Arctic Presence
The ambassador-at-large has rejected claims that Russia has been building up presence in the Arctic to challenge the United States, saying its operations do not go beyond territorial defence.
"The overhaul of the Russian armed forces and efforts to increase operational preparedness in the Arctic are not excessive and are defensive in nature. They correspond to the military and political situation", he underlined.
Korchunov argued that Russia's Arctic presence did not pose a national security threat to Arctic states and was not in breach of any international agreements. He added that Russia had never deployed its military to other Arctic states, hosted foreign troops in the Arctic or conducted drills close to "non-Arctic states."
Korchunov believes that Russia would continue advocating for pragmatism in ties among Arctic neighbors despite "anti-Russian propaganda."
"We have been closely monitoring the nature and undercurrents of Washington's statements on the Arctic. Donald Trump's administration has, on the whole, argued in favor of a special US role in northern matters and pushed through its agenda. Simultaneously, it has been trying to contain its 'opponents' in the region and relying on allies for a stronger claim to northern resources", he explained.
Russia too has a claim to an extended continental shelf in the Arctic, which is estimated to contain about 5 billion tonnes of fuel equivalent. It filed a revised submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in 2015. Korchunov said it was being reviewed by a subcommittee. An answer is expected by 2022.

EMERCOM to set up comprehensive security system for seafaring along the Northern Sea Route

 

 
VISIT RUSSIA
Blessed with one of the most picturesque ensembles of Russian wooden churches, the Lake Onega island Kizhi provides the most scenic destination on Russia's greatest waterway, the Volga. Situated in the geographical center of Europe's second largest lake, Kizhi has long since been a strategic stopover for travelers.
At one point in the 16th century, the island was declared a pogost (or parish center) by the Russian Orthodox Church and produced lumber and iron in an economy that sustained over 100 villages. After a two-year rebellion was quelled in 1771, Kizhi's importance waned until finally in the 1950s the island was almost forgotten. Most of the inhabitants left, all of the original villages disappeared, leaving behind impressive wooden relics.
Today, this collection of traditional log structures, centered on two churches and a bell tower set in an enclosure still called the Kizhi Pogost, lives on as one of Russia's greatest open-air museums. The pogost, as well as the other buildings from the region that were left behind, were augmented in the 1960s and restored within this newly established reserve for historical wooden buildings.
Beginning from 1999 an annual folk festival of traditional boatsPerson rowing boat has been held on Kizhi Island. The Kizhi r egatta is aimed at preservation of shipbuilding traditions.

 
We have taken note of an article posted on the US Department of Defence website saying that missile defence is allegedly becoming an element of rivalry between the great powers. Citing an unnamed Pentagon official, the article claims that Russia and China are developing several increasingly sophisticated missile defence systems in the context of rivalry with the United States. As follows from the text, the US military sees this as a threat.
We take this post as part of a targeted disinformation campaign seeking to discredit Russia. Clearly, there are unscrupulous attempts to ascribe to us some aggressive and dangerous plans, this time in missile defence. Unmistakably, this is about the United States trying to justify its own large-scale and expensive programmes for creating and modernising weapons and plans to build up its military presence around the world. In order to substantiate these efforts by the United States to ensure overwhelming military superiority to the detriment of the security interests of other states, Pentagon propagandists are using the traditional “rivalry between powers” approach.
By itself, this fake news usually does not contain an in-depth analysis or even a balanced reflection of the situation. The attempts to create the appearance of a “responsible” US approach to anti-missiles made in the article do not hold water and are doomed from the start. We can begin by saying that Washington threw out the 1972 ABM Treaty, thus destroying one of the pillars of the global strategic stability system. Of course, the article doesn’t mention this. The fact that the United States has carried out numerous destabilising anti-missile projects is not mentioned, either.
Notably, the US military is deploying strategic missile defence infrastructure not only within the national boundaries of the United States, but around the world, which makes it a global system in nature. Washington is also thinking about developing the space segment of its missile defence system, in fact, planning to deploy attack weapons in outer space. In addition, in the context of missile defence at the doctrine level, the Pentagon has left open the possibility of delivering preventive “disarming” strikes against other countries in order to destroy missiles before they are launched. Moreover, the United States claims these are defensive actions.
<…>More than ever before, the world doesn’t need rivalry, which the current US administration is betting on, but cooperation, especially in security. We are ready to discuss missile defence issues with the United States as part of a bilateral strategic dialogue.
 
On July 28, we learned that the Google LLC has again blocked Russian news resources on a large scale. Last night, the official Tsargrad TV account was blocked on the YouTube video hosting site, with an audience of over a million subscribers, as were related channels Tsargrad News and Double-Headed Eagle. This was done without any notice or explanation, only with the warning, “no possibility of recovery.” The media were denied access to mail, cloud and other Google services.
At the same time, YouTube blocked the accounts of a number of Russian experts that share the views of Tsargrad’s editorial policy. In all cases, the video hosting administration ignored its own rules to send a warning of violation of a specific term of the user agreement, which was allegedly infringed upon. Google administrators have ignored the numerous messages from the TV Channel.
The moderators of this video platform chose a cynical moment to limit the streaming of a Russian medium that is promoting Russian Orthodox values. This happened on Rus Baptism Day, an important holiday to Christians.
This is not the first time a US tech giant has behaved like this. On May 20 of this year, the leading Crimean TV channel Krym 24 as well as Anna News and News Front agencies accounts were removed under similar circumstances. Earlier, the Federal News Agency was also blocked without explanation. In this context, it is no accident that over 300 Russian Facebook and Twitter accounts were removed last March.
All these facts make it clear that Google’s decision is yet another example of political censorship, a violation of freedom of speech and the principle of equal access to information. The US technology monopolists are again following in the wake of Washington’s attempts to remove Russian sources from the global information market with unscrupulous tactics.
We call on the related international organisations and human rights community to respond to this unacceptable example of censorship.

COVID-19 RESPONSE
 
The president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Sergeyev, and the president of the United States' National Academy of Sciences, Marcia McNutt, signed a protocol, regarding cooperation various fields of research into Covid-19, online on Thursday.
"This document is effectively a continuation of a whole catalogue of cooperation agreements between the two countries' scientists beginning from 1959," the Institute of World Economy and International Relations' director Fyodor Voitolovsky, who co-authored the protocol, told Interfax.
The protocol stipulates further cooperation on epidemiological and biomolecular studies.
Five areas of cooperation are outlined as being of particular importance, the scientist said. First, virological and epidemiological studies of Covid-19 and its varieties; secondly, pathophysiological studies where medics will be developing methods to diagnose and treat the disease. Thirdly, mathematical and computer-aided simulation of the global pandemic and its spread. The fourth area is socio-economic and psychological effects of the pandemic and its impact on society, the related humanitarian risks. And finally, boosting biosecurity in general and the U.S.-Russian dialogue on boosting biosecurity in general.
The protocol took more than four months to draw up, Voitolovsky said
"This process was difficult. The difficulties were mainly on the U.S. side, because despite this being such a topical issue the U.S. scientists had to overcome political restrictions and go through a whole host of difficult approval procedures. Unfortunately, cooperation among scientists even on such purely scientific problems faces quite serious political restrictions. The U.S. side had to go through a system of fairly difficult approval procedures," Voitolovsky said.
This kind of cooperation, which was laid down back in the 20th century, "concerns a wide circle of military and non-military security problems, including the bio threat and fighting dangerous diseases," he said.
The two academies already cooperated in fighting dangerous infectious diseases such as anthrax, Ebola and smallpox, he said.
"It should be noted that whenever Soviet-American relations ran into a difficulty, the dialogue between the two countries' scientists opened completely unexpected opportunities for exchange of information, for communication, for discussion, including military and nonmilitary security problems," Voitolovsky said.
The dialogue especially intensified in 1981 at a very high point of bilateral tensions, he said.
"At the time, the heads of the two countries' academies of sciences met and discussed cooperation possibilities and decided to interact on a wide range of security problems, including even biosecurity issues and fighting infectious diseases," Voitolovsky said.
 
 
The vaccine against the novel coronavirus, developed by Russian scientists, has created immunity in 100% of volunteers who took part in its trials, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev said in a CNN interview on Friday.
According to the Russian official, 100% of volunteers developed immunity on the 21st day after receiving the first dose. Their immunity doubled after the second injection.
"I can tell you, from first and second phase we have hundred percent of people developing immunity after day 21. It doubles after the second shot. Hundred percent of animals were also protected [against the novel coronavirus]," Dmitriev said.
When asked when Russia would publish its findings, the RDIF head replied that all information would be released in August.


RUSSIAN CULTURE
 
Today we celebrate Ivan Aivazovsky's birthday. One of the most prominent Russian artists of his time, he was also popular outside Russia and in the U.S.
Ivan Aivazovsky was a famous Russian artist specializing in seascape and landscape portraits. He was born into the family of a destitute Armenian merchant in the Crimean city of Feodosia on 29 July 1817.
Aivazovsky’s childhood was spent in poverty on the outskirts of the city facing the beautiful Feodosia Bay and the ruins of an ancient Greek fortress. Young Ivan was mesmerized by the grandeur of the view and the heroic stories told about the Greeks and the famous battles of the past.
His talent was discovered at a very early age. He was taken on as an apprentice by a local architect and later sent to a gymnasium in Simferopol where he showed such amazing artistic skills that influential locals helped him move to St. Petersburg to enter the Academy of Art. His first success came in 1835 when his sketch “Air Over Sea” received a silver medal in an art competition. It was at this time that Aivazovsky met Mikhail Glinka, Vissarion Belinsky, Ivan Krylov and Vassily Zhukovsky.
 
Photo: “Blizzard” by Ivan Aivazovsky hanging at the Russian Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, DC

 

VISIT RUSSIA
 

Muranovo Museum Estate named after Fyodor Tyutchev
[famous Russian poet and diplomat] turns 100

 Muranovo-museum.ru/en/

 

HAVE A NIСE WEEK
 

 


"Pipeline to Russia: The Alaska-Siberia Air Route in World War II" – now available online!

This publication by the U.S. National Park Service and Alaska-Siberia Research Center is free for the public. You are welcome to download and share this book with your friends, colleagues and affiliated institutions, and keep this title in your e-library.

The heroism and dedication of the Soviet and American participants of the Alaska–Siberia Airway will not be forgotten. It is our civic duty to express our deep respect to those whose efforts led to the program’s success and, in the process, brought the war to a close. This is our history. Future generations should be brought up with a respectful spirit of patriotism to understand this history of cooperation between our countries. This edition will preserve awareness of that massive effort for all time.

DOWNLOAD THE BOOK 

 
 
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