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RUSSIAN EMBASSY WEEKLY #113


 
PRESIDENT 

The President of Russia took part in a meeting of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Bishkek. Subsequent talks involved members of delegations, including Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers and Secretaries of Security Councils of CSTO member states.Summit participants discussed key issues regarding intra-CSTO allied collaboration and exchanged views on topical regional and international matters.
The agenda includes measures to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border, collaboration with the UN to implement the global counter-terrorism strategy, and coordination of CSTO member countries’ foreign policy activities.
The leaders discussed the development of the Organisation’s military potential and efforts to streamline mechanisms for combating challenges and threats, including those in the field of information security, as well as the upcoming celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory.

In addition to this, Vladimir Putin set forth high-priority aspects of Russia’s presidency of the CSTO in 2020.
Following the meeting, the sides signed a package of documents, including the Joint Statement of Heads of State of CSTO Member Countries and resolutions On a Plan of Events to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 and On a Plan of Collective Actions of States, Members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, to Implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy for 2019–2021. Other signed documents deal with additional measures to scale down tension along the Tajik-Afghan border; co-production and integration ties between defence industry companies of the CSTO member states, and the procedure for organising and conducting joint intra-CSTO research and development projects.

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants in the 7th meeting of the United Russia-Communist Party of China dialogue mechanism, which is taking place in Beijing
 


In view of the Normandy format summit scheduled to take place on December 9, 2019 in Paris, Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky at the Ukrainian side’s initiative.
The two presidents touched upon the situation with the transfer of three warships used by Kiev in the provocation near the Kerch Strait in November 2018.
Gas issues, including the continuation of gas transit and the resumption of direct Russian gas supplies to Ukraine, were discussed in detail.
It was agreed to maintain contacts at various levels.
READ ALSO:  Meeting with World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Martin Schwab and President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Aleksander Čeferin
Accreditation is open for journalists to cover news conference of Vladimir Putin

 

VISIT RUSSIA 
 

Check out travel life hacks from the U.S. tourist who visited more than 100 Russian cities

Dustin Pfundheller, a 33-years-old dentist from Florida, is one of the most-travelled people in the world: at the age of 30, he’s already been to 236 countries (including all 193 UN states). He’s also managed to visit Russia 6 times between 2013-2019, covering 70 regions and over 100 cities. 
Most foreign tourists only visit Moscow, St. Petersburg and, maybe, Lake Baikal’ but Dustin insists Russia offers much more interesting places to see. He’s been in 70 of the country’s 85 regions, except the most unreachable ones in the east, like Kamchatka and Chukotka. “The first time, I was just in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the next time – Eastern Russia, and then North and South Ossetia, Chechnya; then I did several road trips where I drove all around Russia in a rental car”

VISIT TUVA

Discover the unique nature of Tuva, its Buddhist temples, the legendary Valley of the Kings, learn how to make traditional Tuvan cheese, make tea as nomads, cook meat dishes according to Tuvan recipes.

WATCH VIDEO:

 

GOVERNMENT
 

Dmitry Medvedev held talks with Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Antti Rinne

A news conference on Russian-Finnish talks was held after the meeting:
Dmitry Medvedev: Finland is an important partner for us and our close neighbour, and this is permanent. We must do everything we can to allow these relations to develop successfully. 
Overall, we are satisfied with the current trade numbers and economic and investment relations. In 2018, trade reached almost $15 billion, up 20 percent on 2017, which is not bad. We have seen better numbers, almost $22.5 billion in 2008. This is something we can achieve if we apply ourselves. Major projects are always good for trade numbers. The completion of an important phase in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was a major contribution. Finnish companies and two ports participated in the pipe-laying.
Investment is equally important.  According to analysts in both our countries, Finnish investment in Russia reached 14 billion euros. As the prime minister said during the expanded format of talks, this is the world’s largest per capita investment. This is probably so. I immediately started dividing $100 billion-plus into the Chinese population number and saw that it was clearly less.
There are top-performing companies and there are active investors, especially in the energy sector such as Fortum Energy Concern which has already invested $5 billion. The geography and areas of investment are vast. This investment is good and important, and we appreciate it.
We covered important matters like environmental protection cooperation in the Baltic Sea - truly our common asset, which we must take care of. In particular, we discussed cooperation in an area that is important for us, namely, municipal solid waste disposal. Finland has much expertise in this area. We believe cooperation in this area will be even more engaged and multifaceted. In fact, it has already started in specific projects.
Cooperation the humanitarian area, in culture and tourism is also important for our countries. Much has been done to promote tourism. As you may recall, about 950,000 Finnish tourists came to Russia and 3.4 million tourists from Russia to Finland in 2018. This is indicative of the potential of tourist volumes. Checkpoints are critical for promoting tourism, as are simplified entry documents, including electronic visas. All of that, including additional crossing points and new forms of visa documentation, are already operational. So, I am confident that this cooperation will only get stronger.
We discussed not only domestic matters, but the international agenda as well. We covered the situation in Europe and relations between Russia and the EU, especially so since Finland is currently chairing the Council of Europe. We discussed a number of regional problems and relations with Ukraine, as well as settling the situation there. Of course, we talked about our contacts and ways to cooperate in the Arctic, which is an important region of the planet. This is yet another area of ​​our interaction with Finland.

 

FOREIGN MINISTRY 
   
On November 27, Bishkek hosted a joint meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation’s Council of Foreign Ministers, Council of Defence Ministers and Committee of Security Council Secretaries, as part of the preparations for a session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).
The sides exchanged views on the military-political situation in the CSTO’s collective security regions. They discussed military cooperation between CSTO members and joint efforts to combat international terrorism and focused on the need to streamline foreign policy coordination of the CSTO member states.
They approved draft documents, due to be signed at the session of the CSTO Collective Security Council, including a draft of the Statement on Improving Interaction and Cooperation to Strengthen International and Regional Security and an Action Plan to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941−1945.
The parties adopted a Statement of Foreign Ministers of the CSTO Member States on Stablisation Efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. The heads of foreign ministries also approved a List of Topics for Joint Statements in 2020.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed the meeting participants on the priorities of Russia’s CSTO chairmanship. The Russian Federation will take over the CSTO chairmanship for next year from the Kyrgyz Republic. 

Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation on Stabilisation Efforts in the Middle East and North Africa, Bishkek, November 27, 2019

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions following the joint meeting of the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers, Council of Defence Ministers and Committee of Security Council Secretaries, Bishkek, November 27, 2019
 
Sergey Lavrov: Indeed, a number of countries – Great Britain, Norway, Chile, Australia and New Zealand – made claims for a part of the continent and adjacent waters of the Southern Ocean last century, which are called 'sectors.'
Sergey Brilyov: They marked triangles on the map.
Sergey Lavrov: That’s right, triangles. Back then, the Soviet Union and the United States made a joint statement on peremptory non-recognition of any claims and refusal to divide Antarctica into sectors, in order to preserve the continent as the common heritage of the humankind.
Sergey Brilyov: It appears that Russia’s and the United States’ stance on Antarctica is one of the issues that they have complete unanimity on.
Sergey Lavrov: That is true – and this is not the only issue. Since its discovery, Antarctica has been a sort of honeypot, a continent that everyone sought to claim a part of. It even came to serious interstate disputes.  
Sergey Brilyov: There was even shooting.
Sergey Lavrov: There was. But ultimately everything was settled by peaceful means, and I think this experience should be used to settle today's conflicts.
Sergey Brilyov: How sure can we be that the Antarctic Treaty will remain in effect and the world will not descend into another armed conflict?
Sergey Lavrov: I believe no one wants to undermine the Treaty. There are no signs of putting the Treaty at risk.  
   
Sergey Lavrov: <…>We noted the Icelandic businesses’ growing interest in the Russian market. This led to the establishment of the Icelandic-Russian Chamber of Commerce, which includes over 30 Icelandic companies, last month.
We noted with satisfaction our expanded interregional ties. The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, the Kamchatka Territory, Chukotka, and the Murmansk Region are interested in interacting with their Icelandic partners. This is more than just a show of interest. Important projects involving innovative technology, telecommunications and geothermal energy are already being implemented in a number of Russian regions. In particular, geothermal energy is used as generating capacity for the energy bridge project connecting Kamchatka with the Kuril Islands and, in the future, Japan. Icelandic companies are involved in implementing this.
Icelandic companies are involved in upgrading the Russian fishing fleet, such as designing modern ships and supplying equipment.
Last month’s events are notable as well. The Skolkovo Foundation signed an agreement on cooperation with the Icelandic Innovation Centre. Last year, Russian S7 Airlines initiated regular service to Iceland during the summer season. Since the experience was positive, it began selling tickets for next season. Largely because of that, the tourist volume from Russia to Iceland was up by almost 20 percent last year, and our Icelandic colleagues are interested in consolidating this trend.
 

   
On November 25, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov met with prominent US political analyst, former special assistant to the US President on Russian affairs, Thomas Graham.
Opinions were exchanged on current issues of bilateral relations. They also touched on some international and regional issues.
 
 
Update on SyriaEfforts to stabilise the situation in line with the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of October 22, 2019 continue in the country’s northeast. Russia and Turkey jointly patrol the Syrian-Turkish border on a regular basis. In addition, efforts are taken to reduce tensions along the perimeter of the zone of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.
About falsification of information from the investigation of an incident in Douma - We have noted a publication on the WikiLeaks website that was widely reproduced and quoted in the media. I am talking about a letter by an OPCW expert about the falsification of information by the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria from an investigation into the incident in the Syrian city of Douma. <…>This letter addresses many of the issues that have been raised by Russian and international experts for a long time. Russia and a number of other countries have repeatedly questioned the validity of conclusions presented by the Fact-Finding Mission following this investigation.
 
Venezuela update - The national dialogue roundtable in Venezuela has made evident progress. According to public opinion polls, the roundtable is supported by the majority of Venezuelans. This format is bringing about tangible results. A process has been launched to renew the National Electoral Council, which is vitally important as regards the preparations for democratic elections to the national parliament and bringing the political struggle back to the constitutional track.
Bolivia update - The country got a chance to calm down and return to relative stability after the turbulent events of the past month. The extent to which this opportunity will be realised depends, first of all, on whether the interim authorities and politicians (including those who have already declared their intention to run for presidency) can abandon aggressive rhetoric regarding their opponents, representatives of indigenous peoples and low-income citizens.
 

DEFENSE MINISTRY 

   
It was done for the purpose of keeping the New START Treaty viable and effective, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
"Under the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, a US inspection group was shown the Avangard missile system with the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle on the territory of Russia on November 24-26, 2019," the ministry said in a statement.
Russia demonstrated its latest weapon for the purpose of keeping the New START Treaty viable and effective, the statement says.
Russia’s breakthrough Avangard missile system with the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle will assume combat duty in December this year, the Defense Ministry of Russia reported on Tuesday.
"This missile system is set to go on combat alert in December 2019," the ministry said in a statement.
 

Participants of the conversation exchanged their views on the current state and probable perspectives of the US-Russian relations, and received answers to their questions.
 


EMBASSY

   
Amnesty International USA
Equal Justice Initiative
Human Rights Watch
The Marshall Project
ACLU National Prison Project
The Sentencing Project
Southern Poverty Law Center
World Justice Project
 
I would like to share my great concern about the case of Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian national incarcerated in the federal correctional facility in Connecticut.
In 2010 Konstantin Yaroshenko was detained in Liberia by officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and brought into the country to stand trial «for drug conspiracy». The single charge was conspiracy to transport drugs. The evidence consisted solely of recorded conversations and the testimonials of undercover agents who attempted to solicit Yaroshenko to transport drugs to the USA. The case was a clear entrapment with no jurisdictional ties to the United States. At that time, he spoke very poor English and could barely understand what was said to him.
Mr. Yaroshenko suffers from numerous medical and dental problems, including post-traumatic mental health issues caused by the abuse, solitary confinement and the circumstances of his extraordinary rendition into this country.
Prior to his arrest Mr. Yaroshenko had never set a foot
on the American soil. The language barrier prevents him from receiving education, participating in institutional work and rehabilitation programs.
Mr. Yaroshenko applied three times for a prisoner transfer to Russia to serve the remainder of his sentence in Russia pursuant to Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. His requests were unreasonably denied. Mr. Yaroshenko’s case is a matter of public interest in Russia.
Your organizations are well-known for its noble mission to defend and preserve human rights. We urge you to review Mr. Yaroshenko’s case and provide any assistance for his medical and legal issues. Please contact us if you wish to obtain additional information regarding this matter.
 

«Dear Dad» Premiere in Washington, D.C.

Premiere of the new Russian comedy “Dear Dad” took place at the Embassy. Members of the DC-based diplomatic corps were invited to the screening.

 
The Youth Forum, hosted by Russia’s Consulate General in New York, brings together young Russian speakers aged between 18 and 35, who live in the US. Its goal is to promote Russian culture and language and to bring together young Russian-speaking Americans.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov described attempts to treat Russia as a dangerous enemy that must be deterred as dangerous and unrealistic.
"In the local information space, one can often hear that Russia is a dangerous and unpredictable enemy that must be deterred by various means. This approach can hardly be described as a far-seeing one," he told the Youth Forum in New York on Saturday. "A focus on diminishing the role of our country in the world is unrealistic and even dangerous."
"I would like to underline that the Russian foreign policy is not anti-American," he said, adding that Moscow was ready for constructive cooperation. "All that we want is respect for our interests, a fair and equal dialogue."
The ambassador added that Russia-related topics in the US media are often very biased and one-sided, citing as an example the November 6 article by New York Times, which alleges that the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History at American University "presents too favorable a perspective on Russia."
"It is unclear that a one-sided approach of this kind will not benefit bilateral relations," Antonov said. "That is why I think that our joint task is to form an unbiased attitude to our country, an objective view of it among the Americans."
In his words, the Russian Embassy in Washington counts on Russian compatriots’ contribution into improving bilateral relations.
"I mean countering Russophobic sentiments and solving our key task - building friendly and mutually beneficial Russian-US relations," he said. "I’m sure their normalization is in line with key interests of both peoples."
 

Concert featuring Participants of the 2019 Baltimore International Piano Competition and Festival took place in the embassy on November 25

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov and Artistic Directors of Baltimore International Piano Competition and Festival Yury Shadrin and Tian Lu shared a wonderful evening with the Faculty and Participants of the 2019 Baltimore International Piano Competition and Festival.

VISIT RUSSIA 

 

VISIT PERM


 
Perm is a beautiful and unique Russian city in the foothills of the Urals with a lot of fascinating sights you just have to check out: Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration Monastery, the Museum of Local Lore, and the Perm Museum of Antiquities.
Most importantly, don’t forget about the Khokhlovka Architectural and Ethnographic Museum, with its collection of unique wooden buildings built in the 17–19th centuries.
To get from Moscow to Perm, just hop aboard the Kama train and enjoy the view as you cross three of Russia’s main rivers: the Kama, Vyatka, and Volga.


CULTURE


Russian Film Week in New York 2019

Russian Film Week in New York 2019, presented by the Cherry Orchard Festival (USA) and Studio Rock (Russia), will take place at SVA Theater December 6-13, 2019.
 

Local musicians met jazz promoters from around the globe, and bridges were built at the third annual Jazz Across Borders conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 15–16.
The brainchild of tenor saxophonist, bandleader and Russian jazz entrepreneur Igor Butman, the event gave hundreds of local musicians hungry for exposure the chance to hobnob with, and play for, jazz festival producers, club owners, promoters, label managers and journalists from all over Europe and as far away as North America.
The conference, part of the multi-faceted 8th St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum—which included theater, classical music, visual art and dance—was held at Freedom Space, a palatial museum and exhibition hall in the city’s downtown area. Simultaneous translation into English and Russian was provided at the workshops, panel discussions and master classes. In addition, showcases presented a dozen jazz groups selected by an international jury from several hundred applicants, eight from Russia and one each from Armenia, Switzerland, France and Estonia.

 
COMING

On December 19, 2019, at 12:00 pm (Moscow time), President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin will hold his major annual news conference. The Presidential Press and Information Office’s Department of Accreditation is now taking accreditation requests to cover the event.

 
 
The Day of the Unknown Soldier is celebrated in Russia on December 3rd. On this day in 1966 the solemn burial of the Unknown Soldier took place along the wall of the Kremlin. The remains of a soldier who died near Moscow in 1941 were taken from a mass grave on the Leningrad highway. On May 8th, 1967 a memorial complex was opened, the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” and the Eternal Flame was kindled. The inscription on the granite tile reads: “Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal”.


HISTORY
 

Marcel Albert birth anniversry 

On November 25, 1917, Marcel Albert French pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union, was born in Paris. He died in 2010 in the US. Hopefully his bust will soon come to Chipley, FL where he rests. Read Information Bulletin of the Soviet Embassy report on Normandie Niemen heroes from December 1944.
On November 25, 1942, the USSR and France signed an agreement on forming a French squadron called Normandie in the Red Army’s Air Force. It came to be known as Normandie-Niemen.
The Normandie squadron is the most famous air force unit of an allied foreign state that fought on Soviet territory during the Great Patriotic War.
The French aces scored their first victories in the beginning of April 1943 during the fighting on the Orlov front. In July 1944, the Fighter Wing was awarded the honorary title of Niemen for the merits of the French pilots in the fighting to liberate Lithuania, in part, during the crossing of the Niemen River.

Legendary Alaska-Siberia air route to be retracted in 2020

In 2020, the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II / The Great Patriotic War to honor our veterans and remember the millions of civilians who lost their lives. The BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation is leading an international team as part of a friendship flight paying tribute and telling the history of the united effort between the United States, Russia and other Allies that led to the great victory over fascism.
ALSIB2020 will:
Commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II by retracing the Alaska-Siberia (ALSIB) air route from Great Falls, Montana through western Canada and across Russia in World War II era aircraft
Present the rich and undiscovered history of Lend-Lease and the Allied effort that has never been completely told
Recognize the sacrifice of millions of men and women on the home front who served just as bravely and gallantly as those on the battlefields but have, literally, been forgotten
Produce a historically and technically accurate documentary film and book in English and Russian, Code Name: ALSIB, the complete story of Lend-Lease and the Alaska-Siberia air route
Work with the Russian and United States governments to further develop the B369 air route between Alaska and Siberia into a viable commercial and general aviation trade route
Honor the pilots and crews who ferried and supported aircraft along the treacherous ALSIB air route from 1942 through 1945

LEARN MORE: JEFF GEER: "IT WAS A FORGOTTEN STORY, AND I WANTED TO TELL IT"

  <…> The ceremony at the Fort Richardson cemetery was quite a moving experience. The Russian delegation included Russian historians and even military officers. Each of the 11 Russian WWII veterans are named on the headstones of their graves, which are identical to the headstones of their U.S. compatriots in the cemetery. As the rain fell, each of them was saluted and flowers laid in their honor.
A small sample of the Alaska soil where they are buried was taken and placed in a ceremonial wooden box to be returned to Moscow. It will be included in a memorial monument to be consecrated on May 9, 2020, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi fascism. President Donald Trump has been invited to attend this ceremony and is reportedly considering attending. I do hope he will attend and that he will also honor the contribution that Alaska made to this effort.
 
Russian Embassy to the U.S.
Russian Embassy to the U.S.
Russian Embassy to the U.S.
Russian Embassy to the U.S.
Write us on rusembusa@mid.ru
2018 Russian Embassy to the U.S.


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