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RUSSIAN EMBASSY WEEKLY #107
 

Saudi Arabia
 
Riyadh has hosted talks between the President of Russia and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The talks focused, among other things, on coordinating measures to stabilise oil prices, as well as the situation in Syria and the Persian Gulf region, and the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

In addition, the leaders discussed building up their multi-dimensional cooperation in various areas, such as energy, agriculture, industry and military-technical cooperation, as well as cultural and humanitarian exchanges.
The parties had a detailed exchange of views on current international issues, with an emphasis on the developments in the Middle East and North Africa.
Following the visit, a package of bilateral documents was signed, including both interagency and commercial agreements. The sides signed the Charter of Cooperation of Oil Producing Countries and the programme for high level Russian-Saudi strategic cooperation of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. Other documents concern cooperation in manned cosmonautics and the GLONASS global navigation satellite system, energy, culture, healthcare, mass communications, tourism, mutual visa facilitation agreements, encouragement and protection of capital investment and mutual expansion of agricultural and food exports. A number of documents regulate specific issues of joint investment and joint projects.

 
Later, Vladimir Putin held talks with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
 
 
 The United Arab Emirates
 
In Qasr Al Watan Palace in Aby Dhabi, Vladimir Putin held talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The official meeting ceremony between the President of Russia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi took place before the talks.
Topics on the agenda included the further development of bilateral cooperation in trade, the economy and investment as well as major international and regional issues.

 
A package of documents was signed following the talks. Memorandums of cooperation in energy and the peaceful use of nuclear energy were signed by the two countries’ corresponding agencies. In addition, a concession agreement on the Ghasha oil field between LUKOIL and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, a cooperation agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund, LUKOIL and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and a framework agreement on strategic cooperation between Gazprom and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company were signed, as well as a cooperation agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Mubadala Investment Company, which implements national projects, including projects on artificial intelligence.
Vladimir Putin briefly talked with the team of UAE astronauts
including
the first UAE astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri who launched aboard
the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft to the International Space Station
last September

 
Later, Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan toured the exhibition of investment projects dedicated to cooperation between Russia and the UAE.
The President of Russia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also took part in a meeting with representatives of business circles from Russia and the UAE.
In addition, the sides exchanged gifts. Vladimir Putin presented the Crown Prince with a white gyrfalcon and, in return, received a model of the Qasr Al Hosn Palace, former residence of the UAE President.
 
 
While discussing the settlement in Ukraine, the two leaders reaffirmed the importance of strict compliance with the Minsk package of measures and the agreements reached during top-level meetings in the Normandy format…
The situation in northeast Syria was examined as well. The President of Russia stressed that the achievement of a long-term and sustainable stabilisation in the Syrian Arab Republic is only possible based on respect for the principles of unity and territorial integrity of the country. At the same time, the interests of each ethnic and religious group in Syria must be taken into account.
 
Discover the history behind the greatest symbols of medieval Russian culture with historian of Russian architecture and Professor of Slavic studies at Tulane University William Brumfield.
 
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answered Interfax News Agency questions:

… In the very beginning, when the United States launched the official withdrawal from the INF Treaty on February 2, 2019, President Vladimir Putin said that we will provide a symmetric response. If the Americans suspend their participation in the Treaty, we will do the same. If they denounce it, we will have no choice in the situation. If, after the denunciation, they begin to develop such weapons, we will do that too. But when and if we create these weapons – and given that the Americans have already tested a cruise missile that was banned by the Treaty, we will create them – we will not deploy them in any region of the world until the US systems are deployed somewhere. This is not just words. We made a relevant proposal to the United States and NATO to adopt a mutual bilateral moratorium on the deployment of such weapons anywhere, from Europe to Asia. No response followed. Moreover, the US military publicly say that they will prepare to deploy such weapons in the Asian region. Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently commented on that. He said that we understand who the main target of these plans is. But the Americans plan to deploy these weapons in close vicinity to our borders, and we will take that into account too. I reiterate, we have not yet received a response to our suggestion to adopt a moratorium. This proposal is still on the table.
As for concrete measures regarding a military-technical response, they are being prepared by the relevant bodies. I will emphasise again that Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if such weapons are created, we will be forced to do the same.
 

Dmitri Hvorostovsky (1962–2017) was a renowned Russian opera singer (baritone) who performed on the stages of the most famous international opera houses and music festivals including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
The festival bearing the singer’s name is being held in his home town, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, uniting World Opera stars like Juan Diego Flórez.

 

Vladimir Putin congratulated the management, faculty, students, alumni and veterans of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its 85th anniversary on October 18 and on the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) on the 75th anniversary on October 14.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov graduated from MGIMO in 1972 and Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov – in 1978.

 
 
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.  – Read a full text of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Russia 24 Channel
 


Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin led a training session of the strategic deterrence forces as part of the Grom-2019 command-post exercises.
Command was conducted from the National Defence Management Centre of the Russian Federation. Practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles were carried out during the exercises from submarines of the Northern and Pacific fleets from the Barents and Okhotsk seas at the Kura testing ground on Kamchatka and the Chizha testing ground in Arkhangelsk Region…
About 12,000 service personnel, 213 launchers of the Strategic Missile Forces, up to 105 aircraft, up to 15 surface ships, five submarines and 310 units of combat and special equipment were engaged in the exercises.

 
 
The US signals readiness to invite Security Council chief to US, says Russian ambassador.
The US side has made it clear that they are ready to receive Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in the US, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov told Rossiya-24 television on Thursday.
"We hope very much that the contacts established between [former US national security adviser John] Bolton and Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev - important, efficient, pragmatic and useful contacts - will be continued," the ambassador said. "Moreover [the Americans] have signaled that they are ready to receive Nikolai Platonovich [Patrushev] here in Washington, on the American soil," the ambassador stressed.
 
On October 18, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington D.C. hosted a festive “Evening of Russia-China Friendship”.
The event organized by Russian and Chinese diplomats commemorated the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. The celebration included musical and artistic performances, a TASS photo exhibition “Russia-PRC”, as well as a photo contest.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov in his welcoming remarks emphasized the special importance of the two countries in maintaining international security. The Ambassador noted that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognize the People’s Republic of China the next day the young state was established. Traditions of good-natured relations are being developed by new generations of Russian and Chinese diplomats.
During the festive evening Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the U.S. Cui Tiankai indicated that China’s special friendship with Russia have been forged and strengthened in the course of history. Now the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has entered a new era. The two embassies stand ready to enhance exchanges and do our part for China-Russia relations and for the development of our two countries.
The event served as a symbol of reinforcing friendly contacts between our diplomatic missions, confirmed Russian and Chinese intentions to develop a mutually beneficial and equal dialogue through joint efforts both between Moscow and Beijing, as well as with Washington.
 
Remarks by Anatoly Antonov

 
Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador, dear friend Cui Tiankai!
Dear colleagues,
On behalf of the Russian Embassy in the U.S. I would like to cordially thank our Chinese friends for their contribution in today’s event. Our festivities commemorate a significant anniversary – 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (VIDEO).

The Soviet Union was the first country to recognize the young state –the day after the People’s Republic of China was set up. Russia became a reliable friend of China – we supported China in establishing its statehood.
Modern Russia-China relations are characterized by sustained development and a high level of political trust. They stand on a firm foundation of mutual respect. Today we have reached the highest level of cooperation in history, and we seek to bolster our friendly and mutually beneficial dialogue in each and every area. Comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with China is a priority of Russia’s foreign policy.

This year alone President Putin and Chairman Xi met 3 times. The number of events at ministerial and senior official events is steadily growing. We have great fruitful contacts at the parliamentarian, regional, municipal and, of course, people-to-people levels. This dynamics transforms into practical cooperation. Last year’s bilateral trade volumes showed record growth and surpassed 100 billion U.S. dollars. China is our largest trading partner. Russia, on its part, is ranked the 11th top trade partner of China, getting several points higher over the recent years.
Mutual interest in developing investment cooperation is on the rise. We continue to implement initiatives on conducting trade in national currencies. We successfully advance cooperation in energy and agricultural sectors as well as in high technology. We are rapidly developing humanitarian and cultural ties. 
The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China remain key partners in the international arena and consistently stand for
a polycentric world order. Our countries closely and productively cooperate within such multilateral platforms as the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, G-20 and BRICS. As permanent members of the UN Security Council we make a significant contribution to resolving different issues on the international agenda, maintaining international law and building foreign relations on the principles of sovereign equality of states, mutual respect and indivisible security.
These high standards lay the ground for the great powers relationships, including cooperation with the United States. Both Moscow and Beijing stand for noninterference in domestic affairs. We strongly oppose the language of threats and sanctions. Our agenda is always unifying, it takes into account interests of all partners. 

Our diplomatic missions in Washington have developed amicable contacts. I would like to thank Ambassador Cui Tiankai and every member
of the Chinese Embassy for a constructive interaction with our diplomats. Friendship and good neighborly relations between the peoples of China and Russia will continue to evolve. We hope for further comprehensive development and strengthening of Russia-China relations.
Thank you.
  
 
Over the last 24 hours, the Russian party of the Russia-Turkey Commission on violations of the Joint Agreement has registered 15 cases of firing in the provinces of Latakia (3), Idlib (3), Aleppo (7), and Hama (2).
The Turkish side has registered 14 cases of ceasefire violations in in the provinces of Aleppo (3), Latakia (3), Idlib (5) and Hama (3).
Humanitarian aid provided for the Syrian population
Over the last 24 hours the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Refugee Migration Monitoring has held one humanitarian action in Bustan, al-Suwayda province. People received 750 food sets with a total weight 3.7125 tons.
The total number of humanitarian actions - 2,228 with a total weight of the cargo - 3,665.6785 tons.
Over the past day, in total 975 people returned to the Syrian Arab Republic from the territory of foreign states: 402 people (120 women and 205 children) left Lebanon for Syria via the Jaydet-Yabus and Talkalakh CPs, and 573 people (172 women and 292 children) from Jordan via the Nasib CP.
Since July 18, 2018, in total 443,310 Syrians have returned back to their homes from abroad.

 
"We'd like to express regret that a serious paper was manipulated by terrorists and British spies", Major General Igor Konashenkov said.
Konashenkov stressed that, on the contrary, the actual quality of life for Syrians living in the de-escalation zone, which is controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra, is not as high as the journalists imagine. Modern scanners, secure laptops, internet connection, everything is inaccessible to ordinary Syrian people, whose only concern is daily physical survival under the terrorists' oppression. All this equipment is used by false rescuers from the White Helmets, who are supervised and sponsored by the British. Moreover, Konashenkov also noted that the New York Times staff somehow was not surprised that the allegedly bombed hospital was in a cave, far away from any settlements, where it's impossible to provide even minimal conditions for the treatment of patients. Last week, 80 correspondents from various media outlets visited a similar cave during a press tour. They saw for themselves what was actually there: large supplies of weapons and ammunition belonging to terrorists, prisons, and places to hide tanks.
By a strange coincidence, the New York Times article was published right after the publication of revelatory materials about the real purpose of the terrorists' caves in Idlib.

 
The Kiev-based October 14 celebrations of the anniversary of the so-called Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which was notorious for its bloody #WWII massacres of civilians belonging to different ethnic groups, including Jews, Russians, Ukrainians and Poles, have become yet another manifestation of neo-Nazism and xenophobia. Radical organisations staged processions with Nazi symbols, which were accompanied by aggressive slogans and the glorification of Bandera and Shukhevich, who collaborated with the Hitler regime. Unfortunately, these actions are becoming commonplace in today’s Ukraine.


This year, the neo-Nazis presented the Ukrainian authorities with an ultimatum, urging them not to allow the implementation of the Normandy Format agreements on the disengagement of forces at the line of contact in Donbass and the implementation of the Steinmeier Formula. They openly called for civil disobedience and “war with Russia to the bitter end.”
It is disappointing that these actions have not received the response they deserve from either Ukraine’s leaders or the international community. Moreover, ahead of the processions, Ukrainian Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk gave a welcoming speech at an infamous concert given by a neo-Nazi rock group. Ukraine’s Western patrons, including those involved in the peace process in the east of the country, have failed to respond to neo-Nazi sentiments in Ukraine in any way. History shows that a policy of conniving and flirting with extremist movements can lead to extremely dangerous consequences.
We call on international organisations, including the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe, as well as on our Normandy Format partners, to respond with a principled assessment of these neo-Nazi actions and induce Kiev to oppose these trends, perform its commitments regarding the peace settlement in Donbass, and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all members of multiethnic Ukrainian society.

 

Moscow is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Riga from Nazi Germany by Soviet forces with a firework display at Poklonnaya Gora on Sunday, October 13. More than two thousand charges of more than 50 types of fireworks are lighting up the sky over the Russian capital in commemoration of the historic event. The show is accompanied by a cannonade by the ZiS-3 divisional field gun, which was used during World War II.
Latvia’s defense spending of about 2% of its GDP is in fact "payment for occupation" by NATO forces, including the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS on Saturday commenting on the Latvian foreign ministry’s statement on the 75th anniversary of Riga’s liberation from Nazis by the Red Army.
 
 

Anti-Russia articles in US media ahead of Russia-Africa Summit: In view of such awkward attempts to manipulate public opinion, Washington is apparently afraid that the Russia-Africa Summit will strengthen Russia’s trade, economic, political and diplomatic relations with the countries of this continent, including those that the US sees as its backyard, unaware of the fact that the nations of the region can select partners by themselves. I believe it is time to admit that neo-colonial approaches, attempts to impose their will on sovereign states, are being rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world community. Most African nations support a multipolar system of international relations and are quite capable of determining their own future.


Violations of travel rules by American diplomats: In general, this can be described as a routine situation. Now and again, American military attaches try to get into closed-off areas across our vast country, totally ignoring the notification requirements. It is an open question why they behave like this. It seems to me it is high time the US Embassy answered this question. Slight cheating like this, when they seemingly show concern over their diplomats having not been allowed to travel some place, while not disclosing the entire truth, has become repetitive and annoying. So, something has to be corrected here, given that our American colleagues comply with the lofty standards of freedom of speech, speaking endlessly about their desire to combat fabricated news and accusing everyone of being unscrupulous propagandists. I believe this is a good illustration of how one has to set an example.

Insinuations surrounding the US citizens’ arrests: We would like to ask the US media not to make up any conspiracy theories in order to scare their compatriots and prevent them from going to Russia.

The United States' debt to the UN regular budget has exceeded $1 billion. This can be interpreted as Washington’s attempts to disrupt work at the UN. It has complemented its unpredictable and biased policy of denying visas to delegation members with financial leverage.
Russia, which makes its payments on time, has paid its contributions for 2019 in full and promptly. Moscow has once again called on the other UN member states to exercise financial self-discipline.


 


The Moscow Operetta Theatre's 'Count Orlov Musical' is a remarkable tale of love and betrayal based on one of the most dramatic episodes in the history of the Russian Empire. Brilliantly told by renowned playwright and poet July Kim with music composed by Roman Ignatyev (the same team behind Anna Karenina Musical and The Count of Monte Cristo), the lavish production is set in the second half of the 18th century during the reign of Catherine the Great. Count Alexey Orlov, who had once contributed to Catherine’s rise to power, falls out of favor and is sent away in disgrace to Italy. While there, he meets a beautiful young woman, Elizabeth, supposedly the granddaughter of Peter the Great, who has aspirations for the Russian crown. In an attempt to win back Catherine's affection, Orlov reveals Elizabeth's plans, setting in motion a series of events that lead to an unimaginable end.

 
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 2nd - Alexandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin
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"Allies in Wartime: The Alaska-Siberia Airway During World War II." – now available online!

This publication by the 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.

This book is a collection of articles, essays and speeches that together illuminate a remarkable chapter in human history—the Alaska-Siberia Airway during World War II. The distinguished writers found herein include well-known historians, anthropologists, diplomats, and political leaders representing the United States, Russia, Great Britain, Canada and France—all among countries allied against Nazi Germany and its Axis powers during the war. Their inspirational memories and observations remind us of a time when cooperation and good will among peace-seeking nations arose victorious over evil.

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