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Opening Asia for Russia

12.11.2021 77 просмотров

Alexander Nurizade, Director of the Department for Work with Compatriots Abroad of the Russian Foreign Ministry, gave an exclusive interview to the Big Asia TV channel. Michael Gibson, host of the program "Capital Ideas Life" ("Moscow is the best city in the world"), is talking to him.







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Alexander Beyukovich Nurizade heads the Department for Work with Compatriots Abroad of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been in the diplomatic service for over 40 years. Behind him is a great experience of work both in the central office of the country's foreign ministry and in other states. Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 1st class, Alexander Beyukovich worked for 12 years as Consul General of Russia in Milan. That is why the topic of interaction with compatriots living abroad has been relevant and close to him for many years. On the eve of the VII World Congress of Compatriots Living Abroad, Alexander Nurizade gave an exclusive interview for the Big Asia TV channel. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia acted as the organizer of the global congress of the entire Russian world. And the Department for Work with Compatriots, headed by Alexander Nurizade, became the main manager of such a large-scale event.

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- Why is it important for the state to work with compatriots? What is the meaning of this work? 

- I think that the development of Russian statehood as such is historically inextricably linked with the strengthening of the Russian world, which extends far beyond the borders of our country. In general, what is the Russian world? In essence, this is the civilizational basis of Russia, a country that is sovereign, with its own values, with its ideals, with its own understanding of what is happening around it.

And, of course, support for those who belong to the united Russian world , wherever they are, whether in their own country or abroad, is an expressed need of our society. Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky spoke about this very beautifully in his famous Pushkin speech: “Our destiny is universality, and not acquired by the sword, but by the power of brotherhood and our fraternal desire for the reunification of people.” And this aspiration, by the way, was quite recently, last year, confirmed during the all-Russian vote on amendments to the Constitution. As you know, for the first time in the history of our country, a provision on supporting compatriots living abroad in exercising their rights, ensuring the protection of their interests and preserving the all-Russian cultural identity has been introduced into the Basic Law. 

Well, apparently, in this is the essence of our work with compatriots - in maintaining the Russian world.

In general, the fact that we work with compatriots is not a unique thing. All countries in the world are working in this direction in one form or another. Probably, the format of work depends on some of its specifics. Some countries operate on the basis of public policy, others use private funds for this work. Everyone is different. Everything depends on the history of the formation of the community.

In general, we are following this area of work in order to take into account, as far as possible, the rich positive experience that other countries have. As far as we know, 60 countries work in one way or another on state support with their compatriots.

I repeat, there are serious differences. But it seems to me, as it seems to us, when we studied this issue, the work carried out by Russia in this area is probably the most comprehensive, or something. It takes into account a variety of areas. We connect all the opportunities that exist - from state support to non-profit organizations, to public organizations.

The Russian community is generally a unique phenomenon. It is multi-confessional, multi-ethnic, located in more than a hundred countries on all continents that exist in the world, and one of the largest, we are among the four largest communities that exist abroad. Up to 20% of the country's population are our compatriots abroad. Our largest communities are in Germany, in Israel, in the USA, in France.  

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I won't get too far into the story. Probably, such a milestone "watershed" in the relations of our community is the 90s of the last century, when, against their will, a huge number, millions of our compatriots remained abroad. It was then that a real need arose to carry out specific programs aimed at providing assistance to our compatriots, providing assistance, including moral. 

Over 30 years, we have developed a fairly stable system of such interaction. For the last 15 years, we have mainly relied in our work on the established country Coordinating Councils of organizations of Russian compatriots. The most active of them self-organized into a single movement. This is due to our common values – language, common history, national literature and art, centuries-old traditions, spiritual foundations, achievements in education, science and technology. We proceed from the fact that the Coordinating Councils are the future. The experience of our work has shown that they have proved their legitimacy, demand and, most importantly, efficiency in their work. 

All our work is based on a serious legal basis. We have already spoken to you about the Constitution. The main law by which we are guided is the Federal Law, adopted in 1999, "On the state policy of the Russian Federation in relation to compatriots abroad." We also have a State Program to Assist Voluntary Resettlement in the Russian Federation, adopted in 2006, which has an unlimited duration. And in practical terms, for us, as a foreign policy institution of the country, the Foreign Policy Concept approved by the President is of particular importance. It lists the main foreign policy goals in relation to compatriots abroad: the consolidation of the diaspora in order to more effectively ensure their rights in the states of residence; protection of their interests; strengthening ties with the historical homeland; Strengthening the position of the Russian language in the world.

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- The VII World Congress of Compatriots is a very important event, which, as you know, is held once every three years. How will this Congress differ from the previous ones?

- This is an exceptionally important event both for the state and for our community. The task of the Congress, in my opinion, is to give a strong signal to our community about the support from the state. This forum is exceptionally important, also because it is the most representative platform for dialogue between our people abroad and the state. And there are really a lot of questions that need to be discussed. 

The world does not stand still, it is undergoing significant changes. Therefore, it is important to organize such a discussion platform and discuss the issues that we are facing. It seems to me that this is especially relevant in the light of the growing Russophobia and the associated risks that members of the Russian diaspora are exposed to. Hence the common theme, the common slogan of our Congress - "Russia and compatriots in a changing world."

For the first time, the Congress is being held in a hybrid format: both face-to-face and online. Of course, we expect that most of the delegates will be able to come and participate in a direct discussion. But everything depends not only on us. We are closely monitoring the sanitary and epidemiological situation, but we hope that the delegates will come.  

Speaking about the conditions under which the Congress is being held, I cannot but recall one circumstance - the difficult period that our diaspora together with the whole world during a pandemic. It was extremely difficult. We know that they were in an extremely difficult situation, but it seems to me that this is the traditional breadth of the soul of a Russian person - they provided assistance to those who were in a difficult situation, those who were cut off from the country due to the fact that flights were stopped. They created support groups, provided targeted assistance. Many thanks to all of them for what they did.

Another example of how work with compatriots is going is the recent elections to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly. Compatriots participated in the informational support of the process, helped to explain the voting procedure to the citizens of Russia, some became observers. We are very grateful to them for their participation in this process. 

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- Moscow is the capital of the Russian world, the center of attraction for ideas. The Moscow government has been systematically working with compatriots for many years. What, in your opinion, are the most important projects being promoted by the Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations of the city of Moscow? How are other constituent entities of the Russian Federation working in this area?

- Moscow is indeed one of the leaders among Russian regions in terms of the effectiveness of work with compatriots. The Moscow Government actively participates in the work of the Government Commission for the Affairs of Compatriots Abroad and, in general, in the implementation of our state policy towards compatriots. It maintains contacts with a wide range of enthusiasts, diaspora communities and coordinating councils in more than fifty countries around the world.

This work is successfully coordinated by the Moscow House of Compatriots, operating under the auspices of the Moscow Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations. Foreign Houses of Moscow provide real assistance in promoting programs to support the Russian diaspora on the ground. 

It is probably difficult to give preference to individual initiatives - all of them are extremely important and cover a variety of areas of work. These are festivals, youth projects, conferences to support the Russian language, business platforms and much more. For example, I personally remember very well the very large-scale Days of Moscow in Milan, which were held by the Moscow Government. An amazing event, which was held in a variety of formats for a series of events. 

A separate niche, probably, is occupied by the Moscow House of Russian Abroad named after Alexander Solzhenitsyn. This is a unique complex that combines a museum, an archive, a library, a scientific and information center, a cultural and educational center and a publishing house. interact more actively with Russian compatriots in different areas.

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An important result of this activity was the beginnings in the field of establishing business relations with compatriot entrepreneurs. St. Petersburg, the Leningrad region, Tatarstan, the Yamalo-Nenets, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrugs, and many others have shown themselves well in this direction. The experience of regional events aimed at developing opportunities for promoting Russian exports and for the participation of compatriots in Russian investment and social projects has been accumulated. 

Ethnic organizations are actively worked in Tatarstan and Bashkiria. The Sverdlovsk and Orenburg regions involve representatives of the Russian diaspora in cross-border cooperation. 

The regions also solve the problems of implementing the State Resettlement Program. If at the initial stage of the program only 10 constituent entities of the Federation participated in it, today there are already 80 of them. But on May 24 of this year, a certificate was solemnly issued in Orenburg to the millionth participant of this program. 

The role of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation in the work with compatriots is extremely high, it is becoming more and more noticeable and in many ways, it seems to me, the future belongs to it. 

- Surely you know many interesting stories of compatriots. Which of them, as they say in Russia, has sunk into your soul?

- It is very difficult to say, abstracting from my native Italy, where I worked for many years. Indeed, Italy is a special thing. Here, the Russian-speaking diaspora is far from the largest, well, probably about 30-35 thousand people. However, compatriots managed to make a unique contribution to the culture of Italy, which the Italians themselves remember with pleasure even today.

Zinaida Volkonskaya, Nikolai Gogol, Maxim Gorky, Orest Kiprensky, Tarkovsky, Tchaikovsky< /b>, and many others. The name of the remarkable artist Nicolas Benois, who lived and worked in Milan, was the director of the production of the La Scala theater, is associated with Italy. I had a chance to personally know him, I'm just happy that I was able to get to know this wonderful person. There are more than three thousand items in the archives of the La Scala theater - his drawings, his scenery for performances. 

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In general, the Russian noble family, the Benoit family is a special phenomenon  in the history of world art. This family gave the world a huge number of wonderful artists - architects, set designers, decorators and more. Such famous names as Peter Ustinov, Zinaida Serebryakova, Lansere are directly related to this family. Back for a second to Nicholas Benois. Not only in Milan there is his archive. We also have it in Russia, in St. Petersburg. In Peterhof there is a unique museum dedicated to the Benois family - the only Benois museum in the world, which contains household items, decorations, everything related to his family.

Alexander Ivanov created in Italy the monumental painting "The Appearance of Christ to the People", Karl Bryullov and his famous "Last Day of Pompeii". A memorial plaque in honor of the commander Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov was opened in Milan and the city of Lecco. For the mission of commanding the combined Russian-Austrian troops, he was awarded the title of Prince of Italy. 

difficult period of the pandemic. No matter how hard it was for our compatriots, no matter how difficult the circumstances they themselves were during this period of the pandemic, they did amazing things. So we talked about the breadth of the Russian soul, it just really sinks into the soul. During this period I worked in Italy just. This was, in particular, during the first wave, when no one understood and did not know what was happening and air communication with the homeland was stopped. Compatriots called the Russian foreign missions, offered their help, offered to stay in their apartments. It's worth it, really. We remember everyone, we really appreciate and thank you for every good deed and for the manifestation of this spiritual generosity. 

Perhaps one more example, also our days. Our compatriots did not stand aside from the work to overcome the pandemic. The use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in Latin America actually began in Argentina. And this is a significant merit of our community, which took the initiative to promote the drug in the region and went all the way from doubt to trust. As a result, Argentina became the third country after Russia and Belarus where they began to officially use our vaccine, and today more than ten Latin American national regulators have approved the use of the Sputnik V vaccine. This is a classic example, a successful example of the combination of people's diplomacy and state policy. By the way, our diaspora in Argentina is far from being the smallest - about 300,000 people. The descendants of Chancellor Gorchakov, Prince Menshikov, Princess Dolgorukay, composer Rimsky-Korsakov live and store the Russian heritage here. 

Another great example from the same continent is Brazil. This summer, the Brazilian municipality of Campina das Missois was officially declared by the local authorities as the "Cradle of Russian Culture in the State of Rio Grande do Sul". This is the first time that such a special status has been given to an entire city that has become a stronghold of our compatriots in southern Brazil. The first Russian settlers appeared there 112 years ago, in 1909. 

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- Today is the age of new information technologies. Internet, mobile communications, gadgets, artificial intelligence, social networks, digital radio and television. Is it worth waiting for the appearance of a web-platform that will unite all the resources of the media activity of compatriots? Can the Internet channel "The World of Compatriots" be organized on this platform?

- Such a platform actually already exists - the Internet portal of the World Coordinating Council of Compatriots. Last year, its deep modernization was carried out, it acquired a qualitatively new content, actual content and appearance. The latest news, articles, interviews are constantly published. The development of this digital platform continues, so it cannot be ruled out that in the near future there will also be an Internet channel dedicated to the life of our compatriots abroad. 

I would like to use our conversation today in order to attract the attention of all our coordinating councils of compatriots, and there are already more than a hundred of them today, and in general all associations of the diaspora, to the exceptional importance of information support for their social activities. It is very good that there is World Council website, but it is equally important not to reduce activity at the country and regional levels. Here is what is happening on the spot - it is very interesting and absolutely everyone who uses the Internet can get acquainted with it. Therefore, I repeat: it is important to continue such active information work.  

And one more important idea, which, I think, should be emphasized. Due to objective circumstances, in the conditions of this pandemic, we were forced to actively use online platforms, use the Internet in our work with compatriots. It's very nice. I repeat, it was a forced but necessary measure. We managed to do what was difficult to do in face-to-face communication. For example, we have finally managed to involve them more actively in the work of those compatriots who live very far away and cannot take part in our conferences. It's even great. But at the same time, of course, we must not forget that the main thing is still face-to-face communication, because a real discussion is born only when you can look a person in the eyes, when you can really shake his hand, and only then do you understand, really feel that he really wants. Therefore, we will, naturally, closely monitor what is happening in the world and in specific countries, we will monitor the sanitary and epidemiological situation, and when a certain window of opportunity appears, we will naturally try to hold traditional classical face-to-face events, and our Congress is an example. which we are waiting for. Let's hope many delegates come.  

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In The Seventh World Congress of compatriots living abroad was attended by about four hundred leaders and activists of public associations of compatriots from 102 countries. The main theme of the large-scale forum is "Russia and compatriots in a changing world." For two days, key issues on the agenda of the Russian diaspora were discussed. The Congress was followed by a conference on the interaction of Russian regions with compatriots from other countries, organized by the Government of Moscow. Especially for the Big Asia TV channel Alexander Nurizade summed up the results of the global congress of representatives of the Russian world.< /i>

- It was two days of hard, but joyful, interesting work. And what can I say: we chose the topic very well. We looked at how the world is changing - this is from everything, from the challenges that the pandemic has thrown at us, from the challenges that new information technologies throw at us, but the challenges can be listed and listed. And how we respond to these challenges, and how our compatriots respond to these challenges - it seemed to me that we were able to look at it from such a skeptical, I would say, angle of view, in order to understand whether we are keeping pace with him or not. Congress very clearly highlighted those of our weaknesses where we are not yet improving, and determined where we should go next. First of all, I think it was a clear understanding that our community should be even more consolidated. I will not repeat myself, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also spoke about this - we must resist attempts to blur the Russian world. The Russian world is big, we are convinced of this. This is our country, this is our civil society. In general, what is civil society? This is us, and our abroad, the Russian abroad - all together we are one and we will not let ourselves be blurred, no matter how active attempts are made in this direction. 

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The second theme, the second thought, which is very clear sounded at the Congress - these are the Coordinating Councils of organizations of Russian compatriots. This is our cell, the cell of the society of this abroad, which must be strengthened, must be strengthened organizationally, and along this line we will continue to work. Naturally, we do not close ourselves at all - there is only the CCORS of some country and that's it, there is no one else - by no means. All these CORCs, all these organizations of compatriots should be as inclusive as possible, accept proposals from other associations, which, perhaps, for some reason, are not yet included in these Coordinating Councils. We will work in this direction. 

A lot has been said about the Russian language, and the Russian language is our everything. But, unfortunately, there really are such moments when a Russian-speaking family moves abroad, and the children already speak Russian poorly. Everything must be done to prevent this. And to open new Russian schools, and circles of the Russian language, and promote more actively, promote our history, our culture. History, preservation of memory is a separate issue altogether. All the speakers said that this is our genetic code, this is the matrix that allows us to be the Russian world. We talked a lot about events dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. If you remember what you had before, then you have a future. 

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The regions have a huge potential to work with compatriots, and it seems to me that not all regions still understand that it is possible to work with those compatriots who live abroad. Their experience, their knowledge, knowledge of local conditions – you need to be able to work with all this and, of course, help your compatriots in some way. The regions have their own opportunities for this. The Moscow government is a perfect example. A separate program, they work great. And it's very good that such conferences as today are held, for the exchange of experience - it's great.  

Interaction between Russian regions and our compatriots living abroad was included in the final resolution of the VII World Congress. There are 27 points in the document, which reflect the priority tasks for the entire Russian diaspora for the next three years. These are strengthening the international position of the Russian language, uniting Russian communities in different countries, protecting the rights and legitimate interests, countering Russophobia, preserving common historical memory, and activating the work of youth organizations , expanding the activities of the Russian media abroad and much more.

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