05 ноября / 2015

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the Fifth World Congress of Compatriots, Moscow, November 5, 2015

Your Holiness,

Ms Matviyenko,

Friends,

I declare the {Fifth World Congress of Compatriots} Living Abroad open.

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Dear friends,

As chairman of the Government Commission for Compatriots Living Abroad, I would once again like to welcome all of our friends who have come here fr om 97 countries to represent the Russian World, which includes millions of people. All of you, regardless of wh ere you live or work, share a love for the Russian language, culture and traditions, and a sense of responsibility for the destiny of our Fatherland. We highly value this attitude of yours, which is shared by the absolute majority of our compatriots. Of course, we understand that the best recognition of your efforts lies in our homeland, the great Russia, being a strong country, which many generations of our predecessors dreamt about and worked to create over centuries.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945. We are deeply grateful to all of you for the care that you show to historical memory, for your active involvement in campaigns, such as The St George Ribbon and The Immortal Regiment, and for countering the attempts to falsify the history of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 and World War II, to hold equal victims and executioners, or to glorify Nazis and their accomplices.

Russia conducts an independent foreign policy, upholds the primacy of international law and the need to respect the central role of the UN. However, as President Putin has repeatedly pointed out, regardless of the actions of our colleagues, we will never take the path of self-isolation, or start searching for enemies. We will always be willing to cooperate with all those who are willing to cooperate with us, and to build relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect. I’m convinced that our compatriots who are familiar with the situation in their respective countries of residence, are in a position to effectively contribute to our cooperation.

Through joint efforts, we have achieved significant results since the previous congress. We have fulfilled the 2013–2014 Programme of Work and adopted a new three-year programme to gradually deepen cooperation with the Russian World, which remains our country’s key foreign policy priority.

The Foundation for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad, which was created three years ago, has proved successful and is highly regarded by those who enjoy its support and protection. The foundation provides expert legal assistance to many members of the Russian diaspora, especially in the Baltic states. It has organised and held over 200 country and 30 regional conferences, formed the interagency Council on Youth Affairs under the Government Commission, signed a Protocol on cooperation between the Civic Chamber of Russia and the World Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots. The diaspora and the Russian regions now enjoy closer ties.

Russia is a multiethnic country. The Government Commission for Compatriots Living Abroad supports the traditions of not only the Russian people, but also Tatars, Jews, and other Russian ethnicities. In conjunction with the World Congress of Tatars, which brings together representatives of the multi-million-people Tatar community in Russia and abroad, we plan to hold the All-European Sabantuy in the UK. The European Alliance of Tatars was established with the support of the Government Commission. Its second meeting was held in Paris last month. Next year, the Seventh World Forum of Tatar Youth, to which we will provide organisational and other assistance, will be held in Kazan.

In cooperation with the diaspora, we focus a great deal on information. In addition to the Russky Vek magazine, there are three regional magazines for compatriots. The organisations of compatriots receive help subscribing to Russian periodicals in more than 70 countries.

The fund for cooperation with Russian-language foreign press was established in October 2014 to promote objective information about Russia and Russians. Its potential is enormous, with over 3,000 Russian-language media outlets in 70 countries.

We focus major attention on working with young people and holding sporting events, which are widely popular among our compatriots.

Friends,

I’m convinced that our fellow citizens have a truly inexhaustible potential. We see and appreciate your desire to be useful to your historical homeland, to contribute to its progressive development, confidence-building and cooperation in international affairs. I hope that this congress will be productive.