Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the meeting of the Government Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad, Moscow, 24 December 2014
We've gathered for this year's last meeting of our commission. It includes two new members since our previous meeting – Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea and its Permanent Representative with the Russian President Georgy Muradov, whom we know well by his previous positions, and Deputy Head of a FSB Department Dmitry Milyutin.
To start, I'd like to say a few words about the serious problems that have arisen before our compatriots in connection with the crisis in Ukraine. The policy of the current Kiev authorities has evoked uncertainty, apathy and even fear among our compatriots. Many had to leave the country. Nevertheless we've managed to keep our activists. The Ukrainian Conference of the Organisations of Russian Compatriots took place in Kiev in late November (which is a tell-tale fact per se). It was attended by about 100 delegates from all regions of Ukraine. They discussed ways of retaining and restoring the movement of compatriots in Ukraine, spoke about the difficult position of the Russian-speaking community, the harassment of its activists, a policy of ousting everything Russian from the country's public and cultural space, and complete indifference of the authorities to the issues of national minorities.
Our compatriots expect a number of additional restrictions in their regard. Anti-Russian propaganda, the brainwashing of the younger generation, and lack of legal support and protection of the rights of our compatriots are a serious challenge as such. Next year we should pay special attention to this on a par with working in other areas. We would like our compatriots to be sure that we won't leave them in the lurch and will continue helping them and upholding their rights by all means at our disposal.