RUSSIAN EMBASSY WEEKLY #118
President of Russia Vladimir Putin extended his greetings on Christmas and the New Year 2020 to heads of foreign states and governments, as well as leaders of international organisations.In a Christmas and New Year greeting message to President of the United States of America Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin noted that Russia and the US were historically responsible for ensuring global security and stability, and that Moscow speaks in favour of normalising bilateral relations and establishing an equal dialogue based on the mutual respect of interests. The President of Russia also reaffirmed his invitation to Donald Trump to visit Moscow to take part in the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
'Santa must be Russian!'
An anonymous Russian benefactor has paid $60,000 in medical fees so that a Florida girl with a 'Batman mask' birth mark can complete pioneering treatment to cure her condition.
'Santa must be Russian,' said the child's mother Carol Fenner, 36, after being told about the 'amazing generosity' over Christmas.
Her baby Luna, nine months old, has been receiving treatment in the Russian city of Krasnodar which is gradually removing her giant birthmark using specialist photodynamic therapy
The girl and her mother are currently in Florida for a vacation break and due to return to Russia early next year.
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Telephone conversation with President of France
The two presidents wished each other a happy New Year.
Both sides expressed concern over the death of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, who was killed as a result of a US strike on Baghdad’s airport. It was stated that this attack could escalate tensions in the region.
The two presidents also continued their exchange of opinion on Syria. Vladimir Putin informed his counterpart about the implementation of the Russian-Turkish agreements on northeastern Syria and Idlib. The two leaders stressed that it was necessary to continue the decisive joint fight against terrorism and reaffirmed the importance of promoting the intra-Syrian political process and providing humanitarian aid to civilians.
When discussing the developments in Libya, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron spoke in favour of settling the crisis in the country peacefully. They expressed their support for the political and diplomatic efforts, including with the mediation of the UN and Germany.
The presidents discussed the main aspects related to the settlement process of the Ukrainian crisis. They emphasised the importance of consistent implementation of the Minsk agreements and the agreements reached at the Normandy format summit held in Paris on December 9, 2019. They praised the exchange of prisoners between Kiev and Donbass, which took place on December 29, 2019, and the signing of the package deal on transiting Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine at the end of 2019.
The presidents also touched on certain issues on the bilateral agenda and agreed to stay in touch.
Journey to Christmas is Moscow Seasons’ most popular event and Europe’s largest winter festival! This year, the theme is European Christmas Traditions. It kicked off on December 13 and will continue through January 12 at 81 venues spread throughout Moscow’s downtown and residential areas, as well as its parks and suburbs. As always, dazzling light displays, ice ballets, theatrical performances, fabulous concerts, and exciting master classes await festivalgoers. And, of course, there are plenty of delicious Christmas treats for sale at our cozy chalets, as well as unique gifts on offer from all over Russia and Europe!
By the New Year, more than 300 artificial Christmas trees and over 4,000 light and decorative structures have been installed in the Russian capital. Find the largest, 30 m high festive tree on Lubyanskaya Square.
Fir trees and Christmas ornaments have appeared along Moscow's entry roads, in pedestrian areas, parks and railway stations. Photo zones opened in places of public celebrations, with decorative tunnels, big 2020 artworks, and fairy-tale characters mounted.
On January 3, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The parties discussed the situation in connection with the killing by the US military of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Major General Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike on Baghdad airport.
Sergey Lavrov stressed that targeted actions by a UN member state to eliminate officials of another UN member state, and on the territory of a third sovereign country without its knowledge grossly violate the principles of international law and deserve condemnation.
The Russian Minster pointed out that this act by the United States is fraught with grave consequences for the regional peace and stability, does not facilitate efforts to find solutions to the complicated issues that have built up in the Middle East but, on the contrary, leads to a new round of escalation. Moscow urges Washington to give up illegal military actions to achieve its goals on the international arena and to settle all problems at the negotiating table.
We were concerned to learn of the death of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US military strike on Baghdad airport. This step by Washington is fraught with grave consequences for the regional peace and stability. We firmly believe that such actions do not facilitate efforts to find solutions to the complicated problems that have built up in the Middle East. On the contrary, they lead to a new round of escalating tensions in the region.
On January 4, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the latter’s initiative.
Sergey Lavrov offered his condolences in the wake of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, Commander of the special-task Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, who was killed by the US military near Baghdad.
The ministers stressed that this US action was a grave violation of the fundamental standards of international law and does not contribute to resolving the complicated issues in the Middle East. Instead, it will trigger a new round of escalation in the region.
Russia remains fully committed to the nuclear deal after the next step made by Iran in reducing its obligations and urges other participants to do the same, the Russian Foreign Ministry says in a comment on Monday.
"The Russian side remains fully committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and goals set forth therein, and we are ready to continue working in order to achieve them," the Foreign Ministry said.
Participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should endeavor to keep the agreement and its sustainable implementation, the Russian Foreign Ministry says on Monday.
"Decisions taken by the Iranian side on January 5 regarding the necessitated continuation of suspension of voluntary obligations ensuing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for settlement around the Iranian nuclear program is the consequence of contradictions accumulated within the agreements, and all the currently participating countries should continue to working intensively in order to overcome them. We do not see any other effective recipe to rescue the nuclear deal. We assume that keeping of comprehensive agreements and provision of their sustainable implementation shall remain a priority task for all partners," the Ministry says.
Tehran’s abandonment of restrictions in developing its uranium enrichment capabilities does not pose any threat in itself in terms of proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Ministry noted.
"Iran is carrying all its activities in close cooperation and under ongoing control by IAEA," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "We note the commitment to cooperate with the Agency stated by the Iranian leaders and readiness to maintain it at the prior level, which is unprecedented in terms of scale and depth of inspections," it added.
Question: The Estonian authorities continue to claim that they took action towards the Sputnik bureau in Tallinn in line with EU sanctions although the EU resolutions only concern personal restrictions on Dmitry Kiselev. What does the Foreign Ministry think about this issue?
Maria Zakharova: We noticed that Tallinn repeatedly invoked the EU sanctions to justify the crude violation of the rights of Sputnik journalists to perform their professional activities in Estonia. We will say straight away that we consider illegal any similar restrictions from the EU.
Moreover, we do not know about any unilateral restrictions of the EU that would allow it to commit such a glaring violation of the freedom of speech and opinion. We call on the EU competent bodies, in particular the European Council and the European External Action Service, to give a proper assessment of the conduct of the Estonian authorities and their references to the EU position.
<…>Russia dynamically developed relations with most Latin American and Caribbean countries. The destructive plans of the United States and its allies as regards Venezuela were prevented.
Russia established contacts with the new leaders of the European Union and maintained a dialogue with the EU on countering terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. Several rounds of expert consultations on regional conflicts were held. The difficult phase of the persisting crisis was overcome in the Council of Europe where the lawful rights of Russian MPs were restored. It is necessary to continue working to strengthen the role of the OSCE as a unique forum designed to facilitate the construction of an equal, comprehensive and indivisible security system in Eurasia and the Euro-Atlantic Region.
The domestic political struggle in the United States obstructed the development of constructive dialogue with Washington. The sides maintained contacts on counter-terrorism and a number of regional issues, including the developments in Syria, Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula.
<…>In response to the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, Russia made a voluntary commitment to not be the first to deploy land-based medium- or shorter-range missiles and suggested that other countries join this moratorium. Moscow tried to compel Washington to fully abide by its commitments on the strategic arms reduction treaty. Its proposal to extend the treaty as soon as possible after it expires on February 5, 2021, remains valid.
Yakutia has gained attention as one of the coldest places in the world, but is worth a visit more for the great natural beauty of its surrounding countryside, unique cryogenic museums, diverse culture of native Yakut people, and just for the spirit of adventure in the most remote lands of the world. To get there, take Yakutia Airlines to Yakutsk. Seasonal summer flights from Anchorage resume on July 13, 2020 – with AirRussia.us
On December 30, 2019 Ambassador of Russia to the United States Anatoly Antonov met at his residence with the newly appointed Ambassador of the United States to Russia John Sullivan. They had an exchange of views on the current state of U.S.-Russia relations as well as prospects for their development.
Please accept my best wishes for the coming New Year!
May it be successful, prosperous and happy for Americans and Russians; bring peace, consent and harmony to each home and every family.
Let us join our efforts in order to achieve progress in normalizing U.S.-Russia relations. I am convinced that implementation of this task fully meets the interests of the peoples of the United States and Russia, will contribute to the strengthening of security and stability in the entire world.
I wish you good health and every success!
2020 – the Year of Memory and Glory in Russia
On July 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that proclaimed 2020 the Year of Memory and Glory in Russia. This decision was taken “in order to preserve historical memory and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War”, says the decree.
This follows a long tradition of dedicating the whole year to an important area or phenomenon, promoting it through various events throughout the year. For instance, 2018 was the Year of Volunteer, and 2019 – the Year of Theater.
The next year will feature around 10,000 events and activities, including 170 international venues, reports the National News Service.
According to the First Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko, the focus of all efforts during the next year will be to perpetuate the memory and cultivate a sense of "pride in the great Victory" among the new generation, and to educate the youth about the country's history.
75 years ago, the Information Bulletin of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC wished a Victorious and Happy New Year to our Comrades-in-Arms.
Veliky Ustyug is the birthplace of Ded Moroz, the Russian Santa Claus and our hero of the New Year Every winter he invites everyone to his estate and city residence to walk through the fairy forest and ride on sleighs and deer.
But there is more to see there than Ded Moroz. This city is a nature reserve with ecologically clean air, snowy winters, and taiga forests.
The landscape of the city features about 30 cathedrals, churches, and architectural landmarks. And local museums are happy to show off their ancient customs and crafts such as the art of blackening silver, carvings on birch bark and wood, and weaving.
You can take tourist trains to get there during the New Year holidays, but it’s not hard to reach any time of the year.
Take the train to Yadrikha or Kotlas stations, and from there Veliky Ustyug is just an hour away by bus or taxi!
Yandex, a technology company that builds intelligent products and services powered by machine learning, announced that it will be providing demonstration rides in its self-driving cars with no one behind the steering wheel on the public streets of Las Vegas during CES 2020. Following CES, Yandex will head to Detroit where it will provide an autonomous taxi service with an expanded fleet of self-driving vehicles for the visitors of the June 2020 North American International Auto Show.
In its second year at CES, Yandex is operating its self-driving vehicles in driverless mode, around the neighborhoods of the Hard Rock Hotel. For the CES 2020 demonstration rides, the cars will autonomously perform unprotected left turns, navigate around multilane streets and crosswalks in heavy traffic at speeds up to 45 mph. The retrofitted Toyota Prius cars operate with the latest generation of the Yandex’s autonomous hardware and software, including a new sensor array, which enables the vehicle to more accurately understand the world around it.
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Join us and Elizabeth City Historic Neighborhood Association on January 11, 2020 from 2 - 5 pm, for Project Zebra Day, for the 75th anniversary of the crash of a Project Zebra PBN-Nomad plane into the Pasquotank River. We will commemorate the anniversary with a wreath-laying ceremony at Waterfront Park.
Congrats to the Russian junior hokkey teams on winning bronze and silver at World Championships!
"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.
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