The Minister’s meetings
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with Russian compatriot community activists residing in Austria, Vienna, August 25, 2021
I’m delighted to see you. Thank you for accepting our invitation. Working with our compatriots is important to us. We are determined to provide you with equal rights in every possible way, including access to Russian culture and the Russian language, as well as maintaining ties with your historical homeland. Your suggestions are important to us. Today, we will discuss the state of affairs in your community, the questions you may have, and how we can help you.
A major event – elections to the State Duma – is fast approaching. We are doing our best to ensure that our foreign missions provide our compatriots with the opportunity to exercise their electoral rights. We are interested in having as many of our citizens living abroad as possible come to the polling stations and vote for the party that they see as best promoting their interests. We will be glad to see some of you as public observers of the voting process.
We will be hosting quite a large event in Moscow in mid-October. I mean the 7th World Congress of Compatriots, which will bring together 400 delegates from 102 countries representing country and regional coordination councils. In addition to plenary sessions, the Congress will have five panels, such as Protecting the Rights of Compatriots, The Role of the Russian Language in Consolidating the Community, Mass Media of Russians Abroad in the Era of Digitalisation and The Role of Compatriots in the Russian Regions’ Economic Cooperation with Foreign Countries.
It will be based on an all-encompassing approach. I hope the congress participants will be interested. Recommendations will be drafted following the plenary session and the five above-mentioned panels. We are committed to keeping the coordinating councils as our main partners.
I saw a recent discussion on social media to the effect that there are other bodies in the countries where our compatriots reside in addition to coordination councils. We do not see any controversy in them continuing their activities and establishing contacts with the coordination councils. It would be interesting to hear what you have to say about this.
I am pleased to note that our compatriots’ public work was not interrupted by the pandemic. The online format was effectively put to work. Face-to-face contacts continued. The next comprehensive plan of key actions for implementing Russia’s state policy in this area to 2023 will be approved at a meeting of the Government Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad scheduled for September.
The International Forum of Russian Compatriots held in Minsk and Brest in June and dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War stands out among in-person events. Our ministry provided organisational and financial support to this event, which was attended by our compatriots from over 30 countries.
The work to preserve the historical truth in ongoing circumstances is of particular importance given the mounting attempts to rewrite history and the outcomes of World War II, which underlie the current international system.
I hope that after the World Congress we will be able to hold an in-person regional conference of the Russian compatriots’ organisations from European countries. There are plans to have it in Vienna, where you live. We are interested in working closely with you to ensure its success.
These events focus particularly on engagement with our young compatriots, which remains our priority. In September, the younger generation of our compatriots will get another opportunity to prove themselves at the Eurasia Global forum, which will be held in the Orenburg Region. The 6th World Youth Forum will take place in Sofia, and regional youth conferences in Bishkek and Lisbon.
Our plans are quite ambitious. Importantly, we want to hear your suggestions so as to be able to implement them as best we can.