Events in Russia


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Investments in precious metals by Russian banks increased in August, reaching almost $7.4 billion (568 billion rubles), data released by the country’s central bank (CBR) showed.

In terms of gold, reserves have amounted to a record 121 tons, which is 10.9 percent higher than the maximum reached in October 2019.
According to Maxim Osadchiy, an analyst at BKF Bank, last month, Russian banks increased their bullion reserves by 23.3 tons. He told RBC Daily that this was the most noticeable increase on the balance sheets of Russian banks for the entire period of statistics disclosure.

So far, only Sberbank has reported increasing its gold reserves – by 16.9 percent (or 3.1 tons) in August, Osadchiy said. He added that Sberbank, VTB, Otkritie, Gazprombank, and Sovcombank are now the top-five banks in terms of investments in gold.

CBR statistics showed that Russian banks increased investments in precious metals from May, after six months of sales. Experts explained that one factor was the rise in gold prices amid fears of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

TASS, September 23. The International Space Station (ISS) has completed an avoidance maneuver to avert a crash into unidentified space debris, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said via Twitter Tuesday.

"Maneuver Burn complete. The astronauts are coming out of safe haven," he noted.

Earlier, NASA reported that the ISS crew had had to take a precautionary measure to relocate to the Soyuz spacecraft as a fragment of space debris was approaching the ISS.

A source in the Russian Mission Control Center told TASS in Moscow earlier that the ISS was expected to come in dangerously close contact with an unidentified space object, an avoidance maneuver was planned.

Currently, Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner as well as American astronaut Chris Cassidy are onboard the ISS.

It was a busy day aboard the International Space Station as the Expedition 63 crew members traded roles as an eye doctor, orbital plumber and scientist. The station also boosted its orbit out of the way of an unknown piece of space debris today.

Once again, the U.S. commander and the two Russian flight engineers joined each other Tuesday afternoon for a series of eye checks planned for this week. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy took charge as the Crew Medical Officer and scanned the eyes of cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner using an ultrasound device. The scans look at the optic nerve, cornea and lens. The eye exams will continue through Thursday.

Cassidy is also readying the space station’s Tranquility module for a new toilet due to be delivered Oct. 3 on a Cygnus space freighter. The high-flying plumber installed a cable that will power the advanced toilet system, also called the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS). The new bathroom will support more personnel at the station and inform plumbing technologies for future deep space exploration missions.

The Combustion Integrated Rack’s fuel bottles were replaced today to support ongoing research into flames and fuels. Ivanishin serviced the science rack that provides insights helping scientists and engineers improve fire safety and fuel performance for both space and Earth systems.

Vagner set up Russian radiation detectors this morning and handed them off to Cassidy so he could deploy them in the U.S. segment’s seven-windowed cupola. The first-time cosmonaut also worked on plumbing tasks in the Russian side of the station transferring urine and collecting water samples from life support systems for analysis.

Using the ISS Progress 75 thrusters and with NASA and Russian flight controllers working in tandem, the International Space Station conducted a 150-second reboost Tuesday afternoon to avoid a possible conjunction with an unknown piece of space debris.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
What this article leaves out is the true nature of Mr Tsvetkov. Fake news Telegraphed.

By Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter 17 October 2020 • 7:30pm
It is a bizarre tale that involves a Siberian coal mine, a Russian military drone, the glamorous daughter of a senior Kremlin politician, and her tycoon husband living in one of Britain’s most luxurious mansions.

In a case that is likely to cause tension between Moscow and London, Dmitry Tsvetkov, a Russian businessman with British citizenship, has been placed on a Kremlin ‘wanted list’ accused of unknown offences. He claims that if he ever returns to Russia, he will be killed.
Mr Tsvetkov, 39, a father-of-two, has told The Telegraph he has done nothing wrong and instead is the victim of a campaign of intimidation and death threats in a row over ownership of a coal mine in Siberia, conservatively worth half a billion pounds. He is also embroiled in an inquiry into a Russian military drone contract.

He says the strain - he calls them ‘pressure points’ - has caused a temporary split in his marriage to Elsina Khayrova, a model and daughter of Rinat Khayrov, a Russian MP in Vladimir Putin’s ruling party and a former finance minister in the Republic of Tatarstan.

The couple first made headlines in the UK when it emerged two years ago that they had gone on a property spending spree, buying a £22 million home on the Wentworth estate in Surrey (pictured below) and a £10 million flat close to Harrods in central London. The homes, heavily mortgaged, were bought in Ms Khayrova’s name. The couple have also bought four other flats in London.

A notice posted on the Russian Ministry of Interior website earlier this month names Mr Tsvetkov as wanted. The notification states: “Grounds for search: Wanted under an article of the Criminal Code” and goes on to detail Mr Tsvetkov’s date of birth and gives his birthplace as St Petersburg. It adds under the heading ‘Other’: “was on the wanted list previously; no court ruling on bail or jail.”

Mr Tsvetkov, who trained as a lawyer and was granted UK citizenship in 2010, said he had not even been aware he was wanted by the Russian authorities until being informed by The Telegraph last week, adding: “But I am not surprised. Put it this way, I was receiving numerous phone calls from police agencies in Tatarstan. They wanted me to go there. I am not surprised I am on the [wanted] list because I refused to go.

“From my understanding of Russian criminal proceedings, the moment I enter Russia I will be brought for interrogation in Tatarstan. I don’t think anybody else is interested in me.”

He believes that a gang in Russia has used the country’s corrupt criminal justice system to put pressure on him and his business partner and close friend Ildar Uzbekov to cede control or hand over shares in a vast Siberian coal mine called Polosukhinskaya, which until the Covid-19 pandemic was making about £100 million year in profits. A quarter of the shares are in Ms Khayrova’s name.

A further inquiry was opened into a contract in which Mr Tsvetkov was involved for the development of a Russian military and civilian drone. Mr Tsvetkov says that investigation - again he believes prompted by the gang looking to control the coal mine - has now been closed with no action taken.

Mr Tsvetkov says he first became aware of the threats against his life when a friend took him to one side during a holiday in Dubai in 2018 and said his business relationship with Mr Uzbekov had put him at risk.

“My friend said: ‘Be careful. The moment you get to Russia your life will be in danger’. Basically he said I will be killed,” recalled Mr Tsvetkov.

There have also been reports that the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has been looking at the numerous property transactions. The NCA has the power to investigate the super-rich and go to court to obtain an unexplained wealth order.

Targets unable to explain the source of a spending spree can have their assets seized. Mr Tsvetkov said he had had no contact from the NCA and that all transactions were carried out through UK lawyers and fully audited. “Everything is documented,” he said, “Everything is transparent…. Every single asset has been checked.”

He believes that with no prospect of an NCA inquiry, “that’s why probably, Russian criminal proceedings is the only way to put pressure on me,” he said, adding: “Russian money is manipulating the Russian criminal justice system.”

But the inquiries launched in Russia have taken their toll. He said: “At the moment our relationship [with his wife] is complicated,” he said, and that the investigations in Russia had put a strain on his marriage.

"He remains in the £22 million mansion in Surrey, with its £30,000 crystal taps, and spends his mornings playing golf and tennis at the prestigious Wentworth Club. He believes he is safe while in Britain although he points out his car is armour-plated.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The terrorist created a stash, where the FSB officers discovered components of an explosive device
MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) apprehended a Central Asian man, who sought to carry out a terror attack in one of the administrative buildings in the Moscow Region, the FSB press service told TASS Thursday.

"The FSB thwarted a terror attack in the capital’s region. The operation led to the apprehension of a man originating from the Central Asian region, born in 1999, who was plotting a terrorist attack in an administrative building using an improvised explosive device, acting under orders of members of international terror groups," the press service said.

The terrorist stashed away key items that FSB agents ferreted out, namely components for an explosive device. His communication devices contained a long history of messages with terrorists, downloaded instructions for concocting an explosive device, and video footage of his oath of allegiance to the terror group.

"The criminal planned to leave to a Middle East combat zone later in order to participate in the terrorist group’s activities," the press service said.

A criminal case has been initiated and an investigation is underway.

On Tuesday, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed to TASS earlier reports on the disposal of 45 lung ventilators delivered to the US from Russia this spring
MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. The Kremlin has rejected the possibility that the artificial lung ventilators that Russia had shipped to the US in the spring could have been of inferior quality, Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday, commenting on FEMA’s reported disposal of the Russian lung ventilators in the United States.

Responding to a question on whether the Russian side could have shipped faulty devices to the US, the Kremlin representative said:
"No, this couldn’t have [happened]." "These artificial lung ventilators are widely used in medical institutions in Russia in various cities,"
the spokesman said. He stated that any device may sometimes malfunction and require repair. "Arguments that they were designated for a different voltage are also questionable, because there are converters, surge protectors, and so on, there are no problems with that," he emphasized.

The spokesman recalled that this aid was sent at a critical time for the US and other countries due to the spread of the coronavirus. "That is why, everything that was within our power, within the technological and technical capacities of Russia, was done in order to send this aid," he stressed. "Then, the time came when [our] American colleagues decided what to do with it, so that’s not our issue anymore," the Kremlin representative pointed out.

Peskov emphasized that during that period, "many countries were exchanging aid," despite "sporadic and ugly attempts to politicize it." "We have always been against [politicizing the issue of aid during the pandemic]," the spokesman added.

On Tuesday, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed to TASS earlier reports about the disposal of 45 lung ventilators delivered to the US from Russia this spring.

In April, Russian artificial lung ventilators were shipped to warehouses in New York and New Jersey where due to the spread of the coronavirus a possible shortage of such medical equipment was expected. However, FEMA explained that the situation there had improved, which meant that the devices were not needed anymore, but were still kept in reserve. The FEMA representative did not respond to a request to specify whether the disposal of the devices was related to any problems with their use or a malfunction.

Diplomat lambasts UK claims that Russia tried to disrupt Tokyo Olympics as groundless
On October 19, the US Justice Department indicted six Russians as accomplices in high-profile cyber attacks around the world
MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The US indictment against Russian citizens on hacking charges and the UK Foreign Office claims that Russian special services tried to use cyber attacks to disrupt the Tokyo Olympics are unfounded, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova told a briefing Thursday.

"While the entire rational international community is trying to establish constructive cooperation in the sphere of international information security and to find ways to overcome the cyberpandemic, certain states continue to advance a policy of unsubstantiated accusations that Russia is carrying out wrongful actions in the information sphere. This is precisely the way we view the indictment against Russian citizens on hacking charges by US authorities. These accusations were made public, [just as] the claims published on the UK Foreign Office’s website on October 19 that Russian special services used cyber attacks to disrupt the upcoming Tokyo Olympics," she said.
"I would not be surprised at all if later we saw a version of events that said this Olympics was also postponed because of the Russian hackers’ actions," she sneered.

The diplomat also underlined that Moscow’s repeated proposals to hold an expert meeting to discuss the existing problems and complaints are left unanswered amid the constant accusations from the West about the actions of certain "omnipotent Russian hackers."

UK accusations

The Foreign Office and the British National Cyber Security Center earlier claimed that Russian hackers from the Russian Main Directorate of the General Staff carried out a "cyber-reconnaissance" operation aimed against organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, their sponsors and logistics companies. It was allegedly made to disable computer systems to disrupt the sports events.

The Tokyo Olympics were originally supposed to be held between July 24 and August 9, 2020 but had to be rescheduled by a year due to the pandemic. They will now take place between July 23 and August 8, 2021.

On Monday, the US Justice Department indicted six Russians as accomplices in high-profile cyber attacks around the world. Washington claims that they are former and current officers of the Russian military intelligence.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member

Allegations of election meddling
Western partners are capable of "latching onto anything" in attempt to prove Moscow’s supposed interference in the US elections, Vladimir Putin stated. "You know, I wouldn’t want to touch upon the US election topic because some of our partners will latch onto anything to prove Russia’s supposed interference in the US electoral process, whatever I would say," the president said.

At the same time, the Russian leader underscored that the US politics is very important in the global world. He emphasized that the US is a superpower and an economic supergiant which has its effect on the world as a whole.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The State Duma has approved the changes to the security laws proposed by Vladimir Putin.

So, from now on, the priority of the domestic code of laws over global ones is recognised – decisions that contradict it will not be implemented. The Federation Council was given the right to advise the government and even the president about the ministers of the siloviki bloc. The same procedure is present in the competition for the position of director of the FSB and director of the SVR.

The law also contains a clause prohibiting members of the Security Council from having deposits and accounts in foreign banks. For people who hold these positions, it is permissible to keep savings only at home.

Thus, the liberal bloc in the Security Council is also obliged to keep money in Russia. If for the “patriotic” circle this provision was one of the key ones, for the liberals it was controversial.

In addition to the above, the document prohibits foreign citizenship for employees of the FSB, foreign intelligence and other law enforcement agencies. However, there is one exception – the ban on residence is valid if it does not involve solving the tasks of operational and official activities or intelligence activities, respectively.

As a reminder, also on October 27th the law on the government was adopted. It strengthens the role of the Parliament, and members of the Cabinet are now approved in the State Duma (except for security forces and diplomats, who will be discussed by the Federation Council). In general, the new version should form an effective system of public power, according to Russian politicians. But members of the government who are not part of the siloviki bloc are also prohibited from having housing and accounts abroad.
Vasily Kuchin

Currently treding on MSN, and Tweeter....?

Vladimir Putin 'will quit as Russian President amid fears he has Parkinson's disease'



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
5 Nov, 2020 11:05
A bill submitted to the Russian parliament on Thursday would make all former presidents immune to prosecution, protecting Vladimir Putin from being taken to court for criminal or administrative offenses after leaving the Kremlin.

According to the proposal, any former Russian head of state, as well as their family members, would not only be immune from prosecution, but they could not legally be arrested, imprisoned, searched, or interrogated. The law would also protect Dmitry Medvedev, the only other ex-president still alive.

If passed, the bill would stretch current presidential immunity back to before the person took office, meaning Putin could not be held responsible for anything before his first term in 2000. The protection would also apply to the time he served as prime minister, between 2008 and 2012.

Under the current legislation, the ex-head of state cannot be held accountable for acts committed during their presidential term, but offenses committed outside of this timeframe are still prosecutable.

For some, the bill will be interpreted as a clear sign that Putin is preparing the ground to leave the post of president sooner rather than later, despite a recent constitutional amendment allowing him to potentially stay in power until 2036, should he win re-election.

The new law still leaves open the possibility of prosecution for more serious crimes, such as treason. For this to happen, charges would have to be confirmed by the country's Supreme and Constitutional Courts, before being passed through the State Duma. The upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, would then vote on lifting the president's immunity.

Last month, a bill submitted to Russia's parliament included the provision to allow ex-presidents to become senators for life following their term of office. This suggestion also sparked speculation that Putin is looking to leave his role as head of state but wants to remain involved in the country's politics. A similar system exists in Italy, where all former presidents are given the title of senator for life.

Putin weighs in on those who ‘offend the feelings of believers’ after spate of religion-related terror attacks in European cities
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a stark warning over growing religious violence in Europe, suggesting that "smouldering conflicts" over faith can linger for years, becoming a powder keg which can eventually explode.

4 Nov, 2020 21:03
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a stark warning over growing religious violence in Europe, suggesting that "smouldering conflicts" over faith can linger for years, becoming a powder keg which can eventually explode.

Speaking in Moscow on Wednesday, as Russia celebrated National Unity Day, he told reporters, “it is important to understand that the world is undergoing profound changes. Traditional values are facing serious challenges. The most complex, extremely sensitive issues of interethnic and inter-religious relations are, unfortunately, sometimes the subject of speculation, [and] untidy geopolitical games.”

His comments come a day after he sent condolences to the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, after an Islamist terror attack left four dead in the capital, Vienna. Putin reiterated that the international and interfaith world is of chief importance for Russia and required the concerted attention of authorities.

French President Emmanuel Macron has faced growing pressure from majority-Muslim countries over remarks made in the aftermath of the beheading of a schoolteacher in Paris. Samuel Paty, 47, was reportedly targeted after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his class. Mr Macron has since lashed out at what he called “Muslim separatism” in his country, leading to protests and a boycott of French goods across the Islamic world.

President Putin appeared to weigh into the debate over the cartoons, which have caused outrage among many Muslims, saying “we see what the actions of all kinds of provocateurs, those who, under the cover of freedom of speech, offend the feelings of believers, and those who use it as an excuse to justify violence and intolerance.”

He warned that Russia was not exempt from similar issues around religious freedom, adding “the result here is the same: conflicts are growing like snowballs in society, and they can fester for years and decades.”

Russia is home to more than 14 million Muslims, making it the second most widely observed religion after Orthodox Christianity.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t congratulate Joe Biden on winning the US presidential election until the results are official, the Kremlin said on Monday, citing the possibility of court challenges.

Unlike many other world leaders, Putin has remained silent since the US media called the election in the Democratic candidate’s favor and said Biden had achieved the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to clinch victory over the incumbent president, Donald Trump.

“Anticipating your possible question about Putin’s congratulations to the US president-elect, I want to say the following: we consider it proper to wait for the official results,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

In 2016, when Trump was elected, the Kremlin congratulated the New York-born businessman almost immediately after the result became clear. According to Putin’s spokesman, the circumstances are more complicated this time around. Four years ago, losing candidate Hillary Clinton conceded defeat, whereas Trump hasn’t so far made such a move.

“The difference is quite obvious,” Peskov explained. “The current president has announced certain legal procedures. This is what makes the situation different. Therefore, we believe it’s right to wait for the official results of the elections to be announced.”

The spokesman added that the Russian president is willing to work with whomever is crowned the victor, and hopes to establish a dialogue with the US.

The US presidential election was held on November 3. Due to slow counting and the high number of mail-in ballots received, the final vote tally is not yet known. However, according to all major US news networks, Joe Biden is the clear winner and cannot be superseded. In response, Trump has accused the Democrats of widescale fraud and, on Friday, declared the contest to be “far from over.” He is expected to mount a legal challenge against the result.

On Saturday, Biden was congratulated by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Indian PM Narendra Modi, among others.

MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has conducted a major government reshuffle since its present line-up was appointed in January. Five ministers are leaving their posts at once, while the State Duma, lower house of parliament, is yet to approve the nominees, who will replace them under the new law.

Alexander Novak, who has headed the Energy Ministry since 2012, may become the tenth Deputy of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Earlier on Monday, Putin signed the decree establishing the position of a new Deputy Prime Minister. At the Energy Ministry Novak is to be replaced by the general director of RusHydro Nikolai Shulginov - the Prime Minister has already submitted his candidacy to the lower house of parliament.

Vladimir Yakushev, who has headed the Construction Ministry since 2018, has been appointed Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Urals Federal District instead of Nikolai Tsukanov, who has held this post for almost the same period of time.

Prime Minister submitted the candidacy of Irek Fayzullin for the post of Construction Minister. Until now, Fayzuillin has been first deputy of Yakushev.

The Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexander Kozlov, will become new Natural Resources and Environment Minister, if approved by the lower house of parliament. However, outgoing ministers of Natural Resources and Transport Evgeny Dietrich have not received new appointments yet.

Vitaly Savelyev, CEO of Aeroflot airline may become new Transport Minister. He has been in charge of the national carrier since 2009, and in 2018 his powers were extended for another five years.

Mishustin also proposed appointing Aleksey Chekunkov, who previously headed the Far East and Arctic Development Fund (part of the VEB.RF Group), as the head of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East.

On November 9, as a result of an attack by a serviceman in the Voronezh region, three people were killed. We compiled a chronology of cases of the murder of several colleagues at once by Russian servicemen, when at least three people became victims
TASS-DOSSIER. On November 9, 2020, a serviceman from the daily squad in the park of one of the military units deployed in the Voronezh region carried out an armed attack on the officials of the squad who arrived to check the duty. As a result, three people died (according to a TASS source in law enforcement agencies - a major, a corporal and a conscript soldier).

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, the attack was carried out by Private Anton Makarov. The shooter took possession of the officer's weapon and disappeared, he is being searched for.

TASS has compiled a chronology of cases of the murder of several colleagues at once by Russian military personnel, when at least three people became victims.


This video shows a lot, I understand why Vladimir Putin maybe did not go against Corona lies. Looking at all these people protesting because Navalny is in prison, we can say that if Putin exposed Corona virus lies and fought openly against them, a lot more brainwashed people could be on the streets and threaten Russia.

Looking from this perspective, it would maybe be better if Putin invaded Ukraine back in the 2014 and made a border on the Dnjepar, for the sake of the both Ukrainian people and Russian people. Maybe even whole country. I do not want nor wish slavery upon Ukraine or Ukrainian people but I am not sure if NATO and EU want to help them.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
New statistics reveal that number of Russians living below poverty line jumped by 400k during Covid pandemic to 19.6 million
Jan 29, 2021

A done deal: Following agreement with Biden, law extending New START nuclear treaty with US for 5 years signed into law by Putin
Jan 29, 2021

29 Jan, 2021 14:48
By Jonny Tickle
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has called on Washington to destroy its chemical weapons and end the “baseless insinuations” that Moscow still has its own stockpiles. Russia says it has eliminated its entire supply.
The comments came after Antonov was asked about accusations from the US State Department that Russia is developing its own military chemical program.

“This is not the first time we see such groundless accusations against our country, without any actual proof,” the ambassador said. “We have repeatedly requested such information from our foreign partners and proposed to establish a professional dialogue in order to find the truth.”

According to Moscow, Russia fully implemented its obligations to destroy its stockpiles three years ago, under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW also regularly sends inspectors to the country.

“At the same time, the USA remains the only state party to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CWC) that has not yet fulfilled its obligations to destroy its chemical weapons stocks,” Antonov concluded.

“We call on Washington to finalize its chemical demilitarization and stop spreading baseless insinuations about our country.”

Chemical weapons came back to the forefront of international discussions following the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. After German scientists declared that they found the nerve agent Novichok in Navalny’s system, the activist accused the Kremlin of being behind an attempt on his life. Moscow has consistently denied that it played any part in the attack.

On January 26, a joint statement by the G7 foreign ministers called on the Russian authorities to “credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil.”“We remain strongly committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to our support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia, as well as to bolstering our support to Russian civil society,” the press release concluded.

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. Aeroflot has extended closure of a portion of scheduled international flights until April 30, the air carrier says on Wednesday. The closure refers to destinations without formally resumed air traffic at the moment.

"Aeroflot makes changes in the scheduled flight program in connection with the continued effect of restrictions related to the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) spread," the airline says.

88 flights in total are covered by the closure.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The West propagates that Christianity is an old concept. Not appropriate in the 21 century. And even now as an oppressive system that must be completely destroyed.

In Russia they are proving the opposite. New churches are being built at a rapid pace.

The word of Christ, family values and the traditional way of life are the pillars that keep a civilization afloat. Once the West has collapsed, Russia offers the way back.


FOTCM Member
Interesting interview with Lavrov (interviewer, Solovyov) from Feb 12/2021, which delves into a number of subjects - much on Donbass et cetera. It is long, however a few quotes are included here:

Vladimir Solovyov: In this whole situation, I am most concerned about Donbass. Russia, as one of the guarantors of the Minsk Agreements, has no other choice but to maintain dialogue with our German and French colleagues. Apparently, they have lost sight of their role in this dialogue, and no longer know why they are even there. The war in Donbass has been going on for seven years. This is not a direct function of the Russian Foreign Ministry, but it’s a tragedy for those people. And you have to look your colleagues in the eye all this time. They don’t seem to want anything there, just waiting for a change of government in Russia. They think we are oblivious to it, and will play their game.

Sergey Lavrov: This is a sad story, and every day it is taking on a more and more perverse nature. Paris and Berlin now almost unquestioningly demand that issues be resolved in the Normandy format only, which means without Donbass. We argue that the Minsk agreements say that the Contact Group formed under those agreements should resolve issues directly between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. They tell us no, the Contact Group plays a supporting role, while everything will be decided in the Normandy format, and Donetsk and Lugansk will be given ready-made solutions. It is a lousy position with regard to the people who were declared terrorists, although they never attacked anyone. They are still considered terrorists only because they have expressed dissatisfaction with what was happening in Kiev, and declared its moves unconstitutional, and asked to be left alone. They were actually attacked by the illegal regime that came to power as a result of a coup d’etat.

The West stomached it all: the coup itself, and its instigators’ new Russophobic approach to the Russian language in Ukraine, or their banish-everything-Russian-from-Crimea rhetoric. In response to this, the people revolted, on a political plane. Donbass said it wanted to be independent, and later agreed to negotiations, and Crimea voted for reunification with Russia. The Russophobic wave that brought with it the geopolitical changes in Ukraine and Crimea had been approved by the West, or at least the West did not object to it and even encouraged it to a certain extent. But Russia has been punished for it.

Vladimir Solovyov: But we put up with this for some reason. For some reason, we cannot just tell them that if they are not going to fulfil the Minsk agreements, then we will decide the fate of the Russian people there. It is our legitimate right to protect the interests of our compatriots.

Sergey Lavrov: We are protecting them. Not only in Ukraine, but also in the Baltics, and in other countries. This is not even helplessness on the part of the EU. I think it is a conscious policy of turning a blind eye to Russians being persecuted, be it the media or the Russian-speaking population. In the Baltics, they are denied access to information in their native language, contrary to what is guaranteed under the local laws and international conventions. This attitude to the Russian language problems in the European Union, as well as their stories that they have their own mechanisms and will use them to influence the situation, it is all lies. They will not do anything, will not lift a finger to bring the Baltics to their senses and make them stop their Russophobic hysteria. I could not even imagine this.

But let’s go back to Ukraine. We are interested in keeping the Minsk agreements on the table. They were approved by the UN Security Council and contain arrangements that are very difficult to abandon.
Sergey Lavrov: Ukraine wants the Minsk agreements to cease to exist. Let them say so themselves. President Zelensky says that the Minsk agreements are bad, but they help keep sanctions on Russia in place. We are telling the Germans and the French: you wrote down that you would resume normal communication with Russia once it fulfilled the Minsk agreements, even though there’s no mention of us there. They talk only about Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. So, if they keep intact their five principles requiring Moscow to fulfil the Minsk agreements, President Zelensky will respond that way. He is not doing anything. They say Russia must comply, but the sanctions remain in place which makes him happy.

Frankly, I’m even happy with that sanctions situation. Not fully yet, but we have realised that we must rely only on ourselves. No, we do not want to self-isolate. We want to take advantage of the international division of labour, but if someone is saying that there will be competition, but we will be “cut off” here, here and also there... As Minister Maas put it, they will impose sanctions just to make sure our actions don’t go unnoticed. What kind of a reliable partner are you then?
Vladimir Solovyov: It should be said that our coronavirus vaccine has come as a blow to them. They never expected this to happen. It turns out that they don’t know anything about Russia and don’t understand it. They are shocked to see that our economy is not in tatters, and that we have [advanced] research and scientists.

Sergey Lavrov: It was Barack Obama who said that Russia’s economy was in tatters. They haven’t learned from others’ mistakes. And it appears that they are unable to learn from their own mistakes either.

Vladimir Solovyov: Will you miss President Donald Trump?

Sergey Lavrov: He is an outstanding person. I remember my two meetings with him, once when I was on a visit to Washington, and also the talks he had with President Vladimir Putin, which I attended.

Donald Trump is a remarkable politician acting from his own experience. Where there is benefit, everything must be done to maximise it; where there is no benefit, let things take their course.

As for respect for our, Spanish or American laws, I am shocked by the impeachment proceedings. The charges brought against him… You can watch and listen to Trump’s video addresses again and again…

Vladimir Solovyov: And find nothing criminal in them?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes. Just compare them to what Leonid Volkov or Vladimir Ashurkov are saying. As many people say, have they ever urged young people and children to take to the streets? No, they have not. But I have heard them say, “What’s wrong with this?”

Vladimir Solovyov: Right. This is exactly what Volkov said.

Sergey Lavrov: They believe that if children want to join a protest rally, there is nothing wrong with it. This means that they are becoming part of civil society.
Vladimir Solovyov: Do you ever make friends with your international colleagues when you feel like you get each other?

Sergey Lavrov: There are quite a few of them. I am afraid to list them.

Vladimir Solovyov: So they won’t be hounded?

Sergey Lavrov: Many of them hold very high posts in the European Union. They are good guys. I don’t want to give them up.

Vladimir Solovyov: Has it really become that bad?

Sergey Lavrov: I think so. We are “toxic” after all. I mean for them.

Vladimir Solovyov: Us? I think it’s the other way round: we are the only ones who follow their principles.

Sergey Lavrov: They think we are “toxic” but we don’t care. If they want cordial working relationships (President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the Foreign Ministry have said this many times), the foundation has to be mutual respect, not interfering in each other’s internal affairs, and cooperating on issues of mutual interest. Striking a balance between our interests is the only possible outcome of such talks, not merely our consent to their proposals.
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