MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Thank you for such a warm welcome. It’s nice that you invited me here. I have heard a lot about your educational institution. But it’s better to see once than hear a hundred times. Impressive. Amazing building, fantastic infrastructure. I heard that you have great teachers, the most up-to-date curriculum. In general, learn, learn and learn.
I want to say that the history of cadet corps in our country goes back more than one century. A huge number of glorious names of those who loved their homeland, defended its interests within the country and in the international arena. The fact that now this tradition continues, including in this boarding house, is of great importance for the continuity of generations, knowledge and defense of our history, truth within the state and in external affairs.
This is exactly what your cadet corps is aiming at. As far as I understand, you feel good here. I wish you all the best.
As for my life path, I don’t want to tell a long story. It’s not very short. I came into the profession because I was fond of English at school. I was interested in how people live in neighboring countries.
Our school is still located in Maryina Roshcha in Moscow. This is a very interesting historical area. It so happened that our school had a partner Gymnasium named after Ferenc Varos in Hungary. Every summer, the pupils who graduated from the 9th grade traveled from Moscow to Hungary, and from Budapest they came to us for three weeks. In our classrooms we cleaned desks, set up beds, and they did the same in their gymnasium. These were offset exchanges. We lived for a couple of weeks, saw the sights of the capitals, traveled around the country. This interested me. It was a novelty to see how people live in Hungary, to communicate with their peers.
I loved physics and wanted to enter the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, but exams there, like in any other university, began on August 1, and at MGIMO, on July 1. Mom said to me: “What does it cost you? Try. If it doesn’t work out, then you still have stock until August 1st. ” I tried. I had a silver medal, I had to pass not five exams, but two, which I did. I got two A’s. Then I thought: “Why do I still need to prepare for another institute?” This is how it happened – partly based on my interest, partly by chance.
As for my future affairs, growing up, career advancement, I do not want to read a long lecture. Let’s better you ask me about something, and I will react.
Question: Could you tell us a little about your studies at MGIMO? Was it easy for you? Did you think at the time that you would achieve such success?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: A soldier who does not dream of becoming a general is bad. Frankly, I didn’t think about ministerial work. All diplomats want to become ambassadors. It was among my desires as well. I studied quite easily and cheerfully. The institute is good, it has always been famous for the fact that, in addition to studying, there was a rich, eventful cultural life: skits wrote, staged them, there were not only annual evenings for each course, but also periodically organized “friendship evenings” with the Maurice Torez Institute of Foreign Languages … At MGIMO 90% were boys, in InYaz the same figure was for girls, it was always fun to talk to. We went to them, then they came to us: songs, skits, dances.
Learning played a significant role in everyday life. I was given the Sinhalese language, which is spoken on the island of Sri Lanka. There is a country that used to be called Ceylon. When I first entered, it changed its name. Not the whole island speaks this language, but about 74% of the population, 16 million people. and they don’t speak it anywhere else. I taught him, the second was English, the third was French. The study is interesting. First, history, political and economic geography. There was also military affairs, a military department. We specialize in military translators. Arranged fun lessons. There is a section in the curriculum – interrogation of a prisoner of war. Our teacher, Captain Nalyotov (speaking surname) was a sympathetic person who understood our youthful soul. We passed him the test for interrogating a prisoner of war in the form of a real dramatization: someone was the interrogator, and someone was a translator. These are the kind of fun “games” that helped to learn. The main thing is serious study, mastering the material. Teachers play a huge role, both here and here. Heard the highest reviews of your teachers, so you appreciate it. I guarantee that for many it will remain in their memory for the rest of their lives. Make friends with them when you are already graduates, graduate from this educational institution, go into adulthood.
Question: Are there countries that you haven’t been to yet? Which country do you want to return to the most?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Such countries exist. There are many of them. There are 193 member states in the UN alone. I’ve been to one and a half hundred. There are still unexplored countries. Oddly enough, I have never been to Canada.
Which country is the most attractive and where do you want to visit again? Of course, our own is the Russian Federation. Wherever you are, no matter what beauty you observe, it is always better at home. This is not a unique property of our citizens. Everyone wants to be closer to their home, at least most people. Although there are countries in which traditionally people left for work abroad, they stayed there. In the European Union, there are many such moves. For me, Russia is the place where I work, live, and rest. Every year I spend my vacation somewhere in the Siberian expanses, it strongly feeds the energy.
Question: How do you rest and recover after a hard day at work and numerous meetings?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: After a hard day at work, I usually rest by sleeping. We have irregular working hours, so some extracurricular activities take place every day. We do not work according to Russian time zones, but depending on where, at what point in the world, something is happening, which requires our reaction. And you need to make a report to the President if we are talking about serious events. I like to spend my vacation, rafting on mountain rivers. Recently, our company has become attached to Altai. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s my favorite pastime.
Question: Has the role of Russia in international relations changed over the past century, then what is the distinguishing feature?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: On the one hand, the role of Russia has changed, but on the other, it has not. If we take our thousand-year history, then the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union were the leading players in the international arena. Not everyone liked this. In many ways, this was the reason for intrigues around our country, which manifested itself in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the relations of the Soviet Union with the world “West”.
In the last years of the Soviet Union, they began to reckon with us less and less. This attitude lasted from the 1990s until the 2000s. There is such a philosopher F. Fukuyama, an American of Japanese descent. He wrote a long article “The End of History”, proclaiming that from now on and forever there can be no other ideology except liberal, neoliberal capitalism, communism is buried. All other competitors of this liberal democratic order have disappeared. From now on and forever it will be the way the West wants, especially the United States. But we quickly regained awareness of our own identity, role in world history. We went back to the roots of our genetic code, memory. They began to say what we think ourselves, and not what they want to hear from us. Russian President Vladimir Putin played an enormous role in returning Russia to this identity, to self-respect. His name is also associated with the revival of our role in the international arena, if we talk about foreign policy matters and, of course, the internal development of the country is connected with his name. The President himself, and the guests and participants of this important, epoch-making event, which marked the beginning of a powerful acceleration of the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia in general, spoke about this in detail at the Eastern Economic Forum 2021. The place of Russia in the world is now that which it is entitled to by right. We don’t care about someone else’s, but we don’t want to give up ours either. We will not do this. We want only one thing in the international arena – to be friends with everyone. Friendship is always better than enmity. But we will be friends and talk with our partners solely on the basis of equality, mutual respect and focus on finding a balance of interests. Do not impose your interests on the interlocutor, but seek a compromise. We are always ready for this. Almost the entire “collective West” says that it is ready to return Russia to the “circle of partners”, but first it must “change its behavior.” It’s not polite to talk to anyone like that, and even more so with the Russian Federation.
Our place in the world is absolutely legal. We have a huge number of allies, like-minded people, and strategic partners. Except for the historic “collective West”. These are all the other countries on the Eurasian continent, Africa, Latin America, as well as our allies in the CSTO, EAEU, CIS, SCO, BRICS and numerous colleagues on other continents. They treat us with respect and are ready to build relations precisely on the basis of mutual benefit – without dictates and ultimatums, which is what our Western colleagues are guilty of.
Question: Can we say that the meeting of the Presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and George Biden in Switzerland, is a step towards improving relations between our countries?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: There were conflicting assessments about the summit in Geneva on June 16 this year. President Biden, almost five days after he “entered” the White House, responded positively to our long-standing proposal to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3) for five years without any conditions. This was a positive signal. The previous administration categorically refused to do this, as well as stubbornly rejected the proposal to confirm what the United States and the USSR proclaimed in their time: there can be no winners in a nuclear war, it should never be unleashed.
For the last three years we have been proposing this to our American colleagues. They left without even talking. We pursued the goal of sending at least some positive signal to the world community. By that time, the United States withdrew not only from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, destroying the balance created by this Treaty in the field of strategic stability and nuclear parity, but also from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), the Open Skies Treaty (OON ). Only START-3 remained, which the Trump administration did not want to prolong. They offered to publicly, officially declare the impossibility and inadmissibility of nuclear war. The fact that this was done in Geneva sent an important signal in itself. Reaffirming this position on the inadmissibility of nuclear war, the presidents of Russia and the United States instructed their governments and administrations to begin a substantive dialogue on further arms limitation and control. The first round of consultations took place in July this year. The next one is slated for this fall. So far, the positions are far from each other, but meeting and talking is always better than not doing it. In this sense, the Geneva summit was positive.
The meeting did not bring any radical breakthroughs and changes in relations. The United States still considers itself entitled to impose an internal agenda on us; it is unfoundedly accused of interfering in their internal affairs without presenting any specific facts. President J. Biden touched upon the problem of interference by foreign hackers (allegedly from Russia) in the work of industrial enterprises and infrastructure facilities in the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled that for several years now we have been proposing to Washington to create stable channels of dialogue between law enforcement agencies and special services on cyber security issues, so that this is systematic work. In response, they say that first Russia needs to “punish” those who allegedly interfere in American cyberspace, and then they will talk to us. This is not serious.
Now in Washington the understanding is ripening that it is necessary to create systemic channels and mechanisms that will make it possible to express and consider each other’s concerns. We also have complaints against the Americans. In contrast, we present facts when our Internet resources are attacked from American territory. The most important thing is a mutually respectful dialogue, with facts in hand. We are told that we allegedly poisoned the Skripals, but no facts are given. We are not even allowed to see S. Skripal’s daughter, a Russian citizen.
The trial on the MN-17 case continues. In July 2014, a Malaysian Boeing was shot down over Ukraine, over Donbass. The Americans then stated that it was allegedly “done by the Russians”, there are images from space that irrefutably prove this. Seven years have passed, no pictures have been presented to any court. The Dutch court was told that they were, but secret, but the court accepted. Nobody has proven anything to us. They say that we would not worry. Like, we ourselves know everything. They will not present anything. There are many such cases. The well-known blogger A. Navalny is allegedly poisoned. The Germans say that they cannot give proof that he was poisoned, because it’s secret. How to seriously talk to people in such a situation?
For each of these charges, sanctions were announced against our country. This is dishonorable on the part of a collective Western partner. All this rests on the desire to restrain Russia, our development, to lower the natural competitive advantages in the global world. For example, Nord Stream 2. The Biden administration has not changed its position. They are still against this project, but they understand that it cannot be stopped. If you are obsessed with an unrealizable task, then common sense should tell you to leave it and do something realistic. It is necessary to talk. In this sense, the summit was a plus sign.
Question: What do you see as Russia’s mission in contemporary international politics?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: The mission of Russia is subordinated not to an end in itself to sound as loud as possible in the international arena. The main thing in our Foreign Policy Concept, approved by President Vladimir Putin, is to strive to create the most favorable external conditions for the internal development of the country, ensure its security, sustained economic growth, solve social problems and improve the well-being of our citizens. We are engaged in specific foreign policy projects not for the sake of being “noted” in the international arena.
Of course, part of this task is to defend the interests of our citizens and compatriots abroad. This is already written in the Constitution within the framework of the amendments that were adopted by a popular vote a year ago. This work is reflected in what is now happening in Ukraine. Our position was manifested in the fact that we stood up for the residents of Crimea, when, after the bloody state unconstitutional coup in February 2014, neo-Nazis essentially came to power, who immediately began to demand the removal of the rights of the Russian-speaking population, incl. on the language, culture. They announced that they would drive the Russians out of Crimea when the population of Crimea began to be attacked by armed bandits, and the building of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea was stormed. When we stood up for their defense and responded to the results of a popular referendum in favor of reunification with Russia, the Western countries accused us of interfering in the affairs of Ukraine. This is all the more cynical, given that the European Union, represented by France and Germany, was the guarantor of the agreement concluded in February 2014 between the then President of Ukraine and the opposition. It didn’t last a day. The opposition trampled on him, and the West “swallowed” it all. Until now, the West indulges these nationalist, neo-Nazi habits and manners of the current Ukrainian government. The President of Ukraine V.A. Zelensky declares that if you feel that you are Russian in culture and language, but live in Ukraine, then it is better for you to go to Russia. This is said by a man who was elected in many respects by the votes of the Russian-speaking, because he promised to bring national peace to his country, but is engaged in a completely opposite matter. When in Donbass, in the East of Ukraine, people also rebelled against the anti-constitutional coup, against the fact that neo-Nazis, ultra-radicals came to power and began to oust everything connected with the Russian language and culture, they were declared terrorists. They didn’t attack anyone.
We did a lot to convince these regions of Ukraine not to insist on independence, as they initially decided, but to conclude an agreement with Kiev. And such an agreement was signed in February 2015 within the framework of the so-called. Norman Four (Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, France and the Chancellor of Germany). That is, France and Germany here too put their signatures under an agreement designed to end the conflict, as it was in February 2014. But then France and Germany “threw up their hands” and did not demand that the Kiev putschists fulfill their obligations, which were guaranteed by Berlin and Paris … And now, these two countries in every possible way evade from insisting on the fulfillment by Kiev of the obligations arising from the Minsk agreements. First of all, we are talking about ensuring the special status of Donbass, including the rights to the Russian language, special ties with the Russian Federation, holding elections in this part of Ukraine on the basis of principles agreed with Donetsk and Luhansk under the supervision of the OSCE, amnesty for all participants in the events in this part of Ukraine and much friend. All this is publicly and officially rejected by the President of Ukraine V.A. Zelensky. This is also opposed by the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada. Berlin and Paris also only “give up”, bashfully “avert their eyes” and offer to hold a summit of the “Normandy Four”, because the President of Ukraine V.A.Zelensky wants it. That’s all they tell us. We present them with facts that cannot be ignored. They are burning not just about evading the implementation of the Minsk agreements, but about their undermining. Ukrainian officials responsible for the settlement process declare that the Minsk agreements are dead and new mediators need to be involved, Berlin and Paris silently avert their eyes and cannot say anything in response. The same Ukraine, through the lips of its leaders, members of the Government, declares that the United States, Great Britain and Poland should be taken as mediators – this is a direct insult to Berlin and Paris. Is it really incomprehensible ?!
Nevertheless, they continue to admonish us: “let’s meet.” We don’t need a meeting for a meeting. We need a meeting that will at least confirm the implementation of the last Normandy format summit, which took place in Paris in December 2019. Ukraine refuses to do everything that is written there. And everyone knows this.
Question: Can ecology, against the background of the disunity of the world powers, become a factor of unification? What is the potential for green diplomacy?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I think not only can and should, but it is already becoming a factor of unification. The main thing is that international discussions on this topic – and there are many of them, and they will be more and more intense – should be based on the search for a balance of interests on a universal scale, which I have already spoken about, and only this can be a reliable result of negotiations. Any imposed decisions will not be durable simply because they contradict the interests of certain countries to which these decisions have been imposed.
In this sense, it is important to avoid what is now receiving the name “green protectionism”, as mentioned by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, incl. at the Eastern Economic Forum and in his other speeches. The European Union has invented a new tax – on the carbon footprint. Goods that the European Union considers to have a carbon footprint exceeding a certain level set by the European Union will be subject to an additional tax. Our lawyers looked at this idea. To put it mildly, it “does not fit” into the norms of the World Trade Organization, but directly contradicts them. We posed this question to the European Union and asked them to explain. We are waiting for a reaction, but such things should be avoided at all costs.
Only voluntary, agreed targets to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, other substances that create the greenhouse effect, can be durable. It was not for nothing that the Paris Agreement on Climate was signed in December 2015, which does not establish any uniform levels, but requires each country to voluntarily take on commitments to reduce these emissions. We ratified it only when we were convinced that it was voluntariness based on responsibility: each state takes on obligations. In general, the effect will be positive.
It is clear that highly developed countries, which used their industry for 200-300 years and thereby ensured their growth, and then moved dirty industries to developing countries, and themselves created the so-called. the post-industrial economy, are interested in the fact that polluters in other countries take on increased obligations. Countries that have lagged industrial development behind the historic West say that because Western countries have benefited from industry-led growth and deepening, others must also be allowed to catch up. There are many questions. Each has its own truth.
Only compromises can put us on the right path. Ecology, climate protection, the environment should be unifying factors, as one of the transboundary problems, from which no one can hide.
Question: Do you consider glasses a sign of intelligence?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Which ones are we wearing?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: No, I don’t think so. Please do not be offended. If you want to get rid of myopia and have an operation, your intellect will not decrease, but glasses will no longer be needed.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.