||Responses posted on October
is the Russian Federation policy on the distribution and sale of small
arms? (Tim, USA, 14)
A: Russia, being one of the leading manufacturers of small arms, maintains
a responsible policy with regard to their sale and transfer. We adopted
strict laws and regulations to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit
brokering in small arms.
We support international efforts to combat illicit trade in small
arms and light weapons. Russia takes all necessary measures to fully
implement the recommendations contained in the Program of Action adopted
by the United Nations
Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons
in July 2001.
Russia affirms the right of individual or collective self-defence in accordance with the UN Charter and acknowledges the right of each state to import, produce and retain small arms and light weapons for its defence and security needs.
Q: What is Russia's policy on landmines?
A: Russia knows the problem of uncontrolled use of mines firsthand.
It neutralized tens of thousands of pieces of ammunition left on its
territory after World War II and our peacekeepers helped to demine
areas in the former Yugoslavia, in the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict zone
and other places.
Russia maintains a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines.
We believe that the prohibition of production, use, stockpiling and
transfer of mines should become the ultimate goal of the international
community. At the same time we are confident that this goal should
be pursued gradually step by step. We are fully committed to the 1980
Convention on certain conventional weapons (CCW) and its Protocol
II, which regulates the use of mines.
Q: What do you think is the main cause
of terrorism and what can we do to prevent it? (Komal, India,
A: Terrorism is one of the most serious crimes against humanity that
victimizes innocent people, including children, and poses a great
danger to the whole international community. It contravenes the basic
principles and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and
thus is an acute threat to international peace and security.
The people and Government of the Russian Federation unequivocally
condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is very
important to understand that terrorists never stand for any cause
except for their own and have nothing in common with any particular
religion, ethnic group or culture. They can only succeed if they manage
to divide peoples and nations. International solidarity in fighting
terrorism, including that of coming generations, will be key to eliminating
Russia and its people have been a target of terrorism many times.
One would recall recent tragedies when almost a thousand persons were
taken hostage in Moscow, and a government compound was blown up in
Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic of Russia. Having seen
this evil so closely we are constantly doing our utmost to bring the
perpetrators of such barbaric acts to justice and not let them harm
innocent persons again and again. We are also fully open for cooperation
in this field with any interested country and are currently working
with many Governments on this issue.
Q: Is there a lot of poverty in Russia
and what is Russia doing about it? (Erin, USA, 10)
A: The Russian economy has seen an upturn over the past years, growing
8.3 percent in 2000, 5 percent in 2001 and 4 percent this year. It
is already obvious that the positive trends in the Russian economy
have a stable character. In 2002 the Government had whittled its foreign
debt down to 40 percent of the gross domestic product (compared to
130 percent in 1998, the year it defaulted), inflation had plunged
from 85 percent in 1998 to 15 percent this year. For a third year
in a row we have a budget surplus. The gold and curency exchange reserves
of Russia have been steadily growing about 1 billion dollars a month
and by the end of 2002 reserves reached a total of 48 billion dollars.
The economy is displaying considerable resilience and is likely to
continue expanding, despite the worldwide economic downturn.
Nevertheless we must admit that Russia's socio-economic problems, which have accumulated in the previous decades, are still there. Poverty, even though it has been notably alleviated, continues to affect many citizens of the country.
In this light, the highest priority of the Government is to raise
the living standards of the people. Some success stories have been
scored in this respect in recent years. New jobs have been created
and the number of unemployed has fallen by 700, 000. The real incomes
of citizens have grown almost 8.5 percent, wages have grown more than
36 percent and pensions have grown 35 percent. The Government has
accomplished a modest but extremely important task -- to bring the
average pension in the country to a level higher than the minimum
subsistence of pensioners. The number of Russians living below the
poverty level has dropped this year by 10 percent. People have a greater
sense of security; many have started making long-term personal plans,
seeking a good education and new professions. So it was no accident
that a record number of students have enrolled in Russian colleges
and universities in recent years. As President Vladimir Putin stressed
during a recent nationwide call-in TV interview, "Overall, one
can firmly say that the country has become richer and the material
well-being of most citizens has somewhat improved--that can be considered
the main result of the year."
To a large extent this has been achieved by improving the legislative base, including the adoption of the Land and Labor Law Codes and a number of laws on pension and judiciary reforms, de-bureaucratizing the economy, and streamlining the tax system.
Q: Has the September 11 attacks affected
Russia in any way?
(Emily, 14, USA)
A: On September 11 we realized that no one can feel safe today in
the face of a terrorist threat and at the same time we realized that
we have to fight this evil of the 21st century together. We consider
ourselves a member of the international antiterrorist coalition and
we hope that all actions taken in combating terrorism will be a concerted
action. Russia was probably among the first countries to have been
confronted with an open challenge on the part of international terrorism
-- in the North Caucasus. This was something that everyone was not
willing to admit even after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001.
To this day the militants operating in Chechnya who are linked with
extremist entities in other countries, including al-Qaeda, as has
been proven by many facts, have not been put in the category of international
terrorists. But we are assiduously explaining this point to our partners
in the counter-terrorist struggle. We regard the terrorist acts in
the United States on September 11, last year, the tragedy in Bali
and the recent seizure of hostages in Moscow as links of one chain
and hope that all the actions taken in combating terrorism will be
a collaborative effort. We pay tribute to the memory of those who
died at the hands of fanatics and extremists, whose actions have no
justification. There is no one left who does not realize that to protect
ourselves from this danger we must work together, by depriving terrorists
of harbor anywhere in the world.
Q: I am a high school student currently
representing the Russian Federation in ECOSOC at the Harvard Model
UN conference. Our topics are child labour and new technology in education.
Russia has over a million child labourers in Moscow alone. Russia
has taken steps to abolish these practices, but what else can be done
to make greater strides in a positive direction? On an international
level, what does Russia wish to see done about this issue? (Laura,
A: First of all, I would question the accuracy of the data as presented
in the question. The Russian Federation as a State Party to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of children to be
protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work
that is likely to be hazardous, to interfere with their education,
or to be harmful to their health and physical, mental, spiritual,
moral or social development. In this regard the Government of the
Russian Federation takes active measures in legislative, administrative,
social and educational fields to implement its obligations under the
Convention. The National Action Plan for Children has been worked
out to deal with the whole scope of related issues, including the
problem of child labor. Russia is also going to ratify Convention
No. 182 of the International Labor Organization, which prohibits the
worst forms of child labor.
Q: I'd like to know the situation of other
teens around the world. Do any special programs (e.g. reproductive
health) exist for teens in your country? (Margarita, Mexico,
A: In the Russian Federation, governmental institutions for youth
issues at the federal and regional levels have been in place since
1992. At present, there are about 100 federal and more than 1,000
regional non-governmental organizations active in the field of youth
issues. The Department of Youth Policy, within the Ministry of Education,
coordinates youth programmes and presents an annual national report
on the situation of youth to the Government. The Ministry of Education
works in close cooperation with Parliament to implement the national
youth policy. The Russian Federation Government prepared and adopted
a federal programme entitled "Youth of Russia" for the period
2001-2005. Within the framework of the programme, specific legislation
has been adopted, law enforcement undertaken and resources allocated
for youth development. "Youth of Russia" is concerned with
the spiritual, moral, material and patriotic life of youth.
Q: How well do you think Russia is achieving
the balance between economic prosperity and environmental protection?
(Matthew, UK, 18)
A: The goal of achieving the balance between economic prosperity and
environmental protection, i.e. achieving sustainable development,
is a challenge which faces all the countries of the globe. So far
no one can affirm that this problem is solved. This issue was the
central question of the recently held World Summit on Sustainable
Development in Johannesburg in which Russia participated at the level
of the Head of the Government.
At the national level we are trying to achieve sustainable development
through various measures - political, economic, legislative, etc.
The legislative and conceptual foundation for our movement towards
sustainable development was laid out in a Ministry of Natural Resources'
document titled "Concept of transition towards sustainable development"
and was adopted by the Government of the Russian Federation.
Q: Will Russia open its oil fields and increase production of oil
and natural gas to lower energy costs and increase foreign capital
(Donald, USA, 17)
A: The Russian government has been keen on attracting foreign capital
since the start of its sweeping economic reforms more than a decade
ago. This process has not been an easy one and takes time due to various
obstacles of an economic, legal and institutional nature. Nevertheless,
in the past few years significant progress has been made in opening
up to foreign investors by adopting a number of important measures
aimed at shaping a full-fledged market economy in Russia - in particular
legislation on a more pragmatic and simplified taxation policy, land
ownership, reforming natural monopolies, streamlining bureaucratic
functions, enforcing corporate governance, etc. Russia has been consistently
advancing towards accession to the WTO that will also contribute to
opening Russian markets to foreign companies.
All this fully pertains to the oil and gas sector, which remains the
pivotal branch of the Russian economy. It is estimated that Russian
oil production, currently standing at about 7.7 mln barrels a day,
will soar up to 8.4 mln barrels a day in 2003. Aware of its role as
one of the leading world producers of energy resources, Russia has
been coordinating its oil production policy with other oil-exporting
countries to prevent price hikes and other misbalances in the world
energy market. The Russian government welcomes the interest of foreign
companies in our national oil and gas deposits and recently there
has been a steady growth of joint ventures and projects in this field
- in the Caspian sea, the Sakhalin shelf, North-West and Far-East
Russia, to name just a few. Evidently we believe that this cooperation
should not boil down to a one-way transportation of raw materials
from Russia, but imply a meaningful input of western high-tech solutions
and expertise to the Russian energy sector.
Q: What is Russia doing to fight acid rains
that comes from Russia and damages the Norwegian nature? (Students
from Rognan, Norway)
A: The problem of acid rain is a very important problem and one must
admit that not only the nature of Norway suffers from acid rain but
the environment of the Russian Federation suffers from it as well.
It is a common belief widespread in Europe, notably among the Nordic
countries, that acid rain comes from Russia. On the contrary, Russia
itself suffers from acid rain. According to the data received through
the special monitoring program (EMEP) operating under the Convention
on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, almost 60% (!) of the nitrogen
and sulphur oxides that fell in the European part of the Russian Federation
territory during 2000 has been attributed to the transboundary air
pollution coming from Europe mainly Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and
Romania. That's why the environmental agency of the Russian Federation
- the Ministry of Natural Resources - attaches great importance to
finding a solution to this problem and to this end actively cooperates
with European countries, including Norway. One of the priorities of
Russian-Norway cooperation is to expand the use of "clean production"
technologies which has been successfully going on for about ten years.
Q: What is Russia's position on global warming? (Robert, USA,
A: The Russian position is very clear - global warming is one of the
gravest challenges of the present time. We are actively cooperating
with the international community to find a solution to this problem
at all levels - bilateral, regional and multilateral, first and foremost
under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The question
of global warming will be the focus of attention at the World Climate
Change Conference to be convened in Moscow in September at the initiative
of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir V. Putin.
Q: What environmental problems do Russians have and what is Russia
doing to improve the environment? (Students from Rognan,
A: The environmental problems which we have are diverse; for example,
the quality of the air, the protection of surface and underground
waters, combating land degradation, and protection of flora and fauna.
The lead agency in Russia responsible for the protection of environment
and the rational use of natural resources is the Ministry of Natural
Resources. Annual reports on the state of environment in the Russian
Federation are prepared by this agency. At the international level
the Russian Federation takes an active part in major environmental
treaties and conventions (almost 200).
Q: What is Russia doing to ensure sustainable
development both at sea and on shore? (Derek, Japan, 14)
A: The sea and coastal areas are closely monitored by the territory
committees of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation
and special departments of the Roshydromet (the federal services of
the Russian Federation for hydrometeorology and environmental monitoring).
Special attention is given to reducing pollution of the sea from land-based
sources and to limiting the use of sea water for industrial production
and utilities purposes. We also participate in international efforts
to protect the sea and coastal areas - the "Regional Seas Program"
- developed by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Q: What is Russia doing to protect the World's rainforests?
(Stephanie, USA, 13)
A: The Russian Federation has vast areas covered by forests (of course,
being mostly in the Nordic country, they are not rain forests) and
their protection and rational use is an important issue for the Russian
Government . Within the framework of the Ministry of Natural Resources,
the International Centre for Forests was established to coordinate
the Russian Federation's international activities concerning the use,
reproduction and protection of all types of forests. We are also among
the active participants of the United Nations Forum on Forests and
favour the development of legally binding international treaties for
the protection of all types of forests, including the rain forests.
Q: I'm from Puerto Rico and in my history
class we were talking about the different water problems in Latin
America. Are there problems in Russia with the use of water? How do
you control that problem in your country? (Anayri, Puerto
A: Certainly, Russia has water-related problems. These problems include,
for instance, the loss of water while being transported through pipelines
from water sources to consumers (in 2000 those losses amounted to
8.5 km3), the loss of water during industrial cycles, the
pollution of surface waters (more than 1/3 of waste water in Russia
is unfortunately not properly cleaned), and the pollution of underground
waters (more than 2000 areas of polluted ground water sources were
detected in the European part of Russia). The special governmental
agency - the State Service on Water Resources of the Russian Federation
- monitors this problem and develops measures to tackle it. Special
legislation regulating the use of water and water basins was enacted
in the Russian Federation.
Q: I am
currently a Model United Nations student in Mexico. I am directing
the committee of ECOSOC in a simulation and one of the topics is the
"Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo
imposed by the United States of America against Cuba". What is
Russia's point of view on this issue? How does the Russian government
suggest that this conflict be resolved? Thank you for your help.
(Camila, Mexico, 15)
A: The Russian Federation, like the overwhelming majority of Member
States of the United Nations, firmly rejects the United States embargo
against Cuba and is in favour of its repeal. Our position on this
matter has been consistent and unvarying: at all previous sessions
of the General Assembly, the Russian Federation has voted for a resolution
calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo
imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.
The Russian Federation considers that the United States embargo against
Cuba is out of keeping with the times and with modern international
relations, is a relic of the cold war and has no place in the realities
of the twenty-first century. We are also firmly against any measures
of an extraterritorial nature, such as the Helms-Burton Act, which
is contrary to the basic standards and principles of international
The Russian Federation is convinced that the lifting of the commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba would be a major step towards the normalization of relations between Havana and Washington, which would be in the interests of the peoples of Cuba and the United States and would have a beneficial impact on the overall situation in the region of Central America and the Caribbean.
Taking its stand on the principles set forth in the resolution
concerning the sovereign equality of States, non-interference
in their internal affairs and freedom of trade and international navigation,
the Russian Federation affirms its intention to continue to develop
normal trade and economic relations with Cuba that are based on common
interest and mutual advantage and are conducted in strict accordance
with the Charter of the United Nations and the generally recognized
principles and norms of international law, without any discrimination
and without detriment to the legitimate rights and interests of the
Q: What is the current relationship between Russia and China?
(Alisher and Oleg, Uzbekistan, 16)
A: Russian - Chinese relations are one of the key factors ensuring
stability in the modern world. The current ties between the two countries
can be characterized as a new relation of cooperative partnership.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Chairman Jiang Zamin
signed the treaty of good-neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation
in December 2002. The treaty covers the entire scope of bilateral
cooperation and defines a new type of state-to-state relation based
on non-alignment with and non-confrontation against third countries.
Russia and China closely interact in international affairs including
in the Security Council of the United Nations, within the framework
of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other fora. This cooperation
is a good example how two powers can contribute to multilateralism
in the interests of all other countries.
Q: We are studying global connections at
school. What is the current relationship between Russia and Australia?
(Jacob and Jesse, Australia, 11)
A: At present, Russia-Australia relations are expanding and diversifying.
We have a very active political dialogue on a broad spectrum of global
issues relating to strategic stability and combatting international
terrorism. It is important to notice that the positions of Russia
and Australia are similar. Both countries are actively co - coordinating
their actions on the international arena.
Q: I would be very pleased if you could
express the Russian position on Greek-Turkish relations and the conflict
(Stamatis, Greece, 16)
A: We are encouraged by the increasing dialogue between Athens and
Ankara on a large range of issues. We believe that good relations
between these two countries will contribute to stability in the region
and will have a positive effect on the situation in Cyprus. At the
same time, only Cypriots themselves have the ability to resolve the
Russia supported the peace plan presented to the Greek-Cypriot and
the Turkish-Cypriot sides to enter into negotiations in order to resolve
outstanding issues as soon as possible, preferably before February
28, 2003. We also noted that in the course of negotiations the Greek-Cypriot
side showed more flexibility and readiness for a compromise than the
Turkish-Cypriot side. R. Denktash must take into account the general
aspiration of all Cypriots including Turkish-Cypriots to live in peace
and prosperity. Russia hopes to maintain good relations with Cyprus
after its accession to the European Union.
Q: What is the Russian stand on the proposed
US war against Iraq? (Fernando, Mexico, 18)
A: First of all Russia has never considered a war as an adequate tool
to resolve the Iraqi issue. Moreover the US administration seems to
understand the necessity to exhaust the political and diplomatic potential
before shifting to any military option. That is why we have been working
extensively together with other Security Council members and the active
participation of our heads of State on some stages to adopt resolution
1441 which opens the window for political settlement of the situation
Q: How would the Russian Federation vote
on the question of using military force in Iraq? (Fernando, USA,
16) If the UN were to enforce the weapons inspections, would Russia
help supply military force to attack Iraq? (Boris and Jay,
A: With regard to a resolution of the situation around Iraq, we are
guided by the principles of international law and the prerogatives
of the United Nations Security Council. A discussion of the situation
around Iraq was held in New York on February 18-19 at an open meeting
of the UN Security Council, in which more than 60 states took part.
As before, we believe that the international inspectors need to be
given an opportunity to continue their work.. The overwhelming majority
of members of the international community spoke up for a peaceful
settlement as the sole option and for the continuation of inspection
activities in Iraq.
It was stated that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441
and other Council decisions have not exhausted themselves and must
remain the basis for the disarmament work by the UN on the Iraqi dossier.
It was also emphasized that for the successful attainment of the goals
of the inspections, Iraq must actively cooperate with UNMOVIC and
IAEA, highlighting the thesis that the Iraqi leadership should not
lose this chance.
While being convinced of the possibility of peaceful solution we
are not considering sending any Russian military force to the Persian
Q: How would the Russian Federation respond
if a resolution were debated in the Security Council regarding the
potential deployment of peacekeepers in the West Bank and Gaza in
order to resolve the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict? (Rhys,
A: When the last Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out, the Russian
Federation along with many other Security Council members thought
it would be practical and useful to deploy international observers
in Palestinian territories or even international forces in order to
help parties overcome the unprecedented confrontation. It would be
worth noting that the UN Secretary General proposed some practical
ideas on this issue. While the Palestinian side supports the idea
of international deployment, the Israelis are very negative about
it. To make any international presence effective both parties should
support it, otherwise it will be impossible to reach a positive result.
Q: What does Russia believe to be
the most effective course of action in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict? (Ron and Nicole, USA, 16)
A: Undoubtedly, the most effective way to reach a Palestinian-Israeli
settlement would be the resumption of direct negotiations between
the two parties. In order to achieve that, Palestinian and Israeli
leadership have to implement related Security Council resolutions
concerning the end of terror and violence, resume political dialogue
and cooperate proactively with the international "quartet"-
UN/US/Russia/EU - to carry out their "road map" toward a
political settlement on the basis of a two state solution - Palestine
and Israel living side by side in internationally recognized borders.
Q: Is Malaysia a good friend to the
(Mohamed, Malaysia, 19)
A: The relations between Russia and Malaysia are developing in a highly
positive way. The meeting between the leaders of the two countries
President Putin and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in March
2002 was an important event in bilateral relations. Promising areas
of mutual cooperation, including economic interaction were revealed.
In this connection it should be noted in particular that Malaysia,
which accounts for 24 percent or a quarter of the world's output of
electronics and electrical appliances is, naturally, a good partner
for Russia in high technology areas. Multifaceted cooperation with
Malaysia is an important part of the Russian foreign policy in South-East
Asia and the Asia-Pacific region (APR) as a whole. Russia intends
to strengthen cooperation with Malaysia within the framework of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Being an ambassador
||Q: What is the job of an ambassador?
(Hylton, USA, 10)
A: It's a tough job. In addition to promoting the interests of your
country in a way which makes them understood by others, you have to
also take into account the interests of your partners and work to
forge a consensus that would embrace both.
Q: I am a freshman in high school and am interested in foreign affairs. I would like to be an ambassador when I grow up. Can you please tell me what kind of education do you need to become an ambassador?
(Kate, US, 15)
A: You have to be well versed in the history and culture of other
countries and to be able to present your arguments clearly and persuasively.
Any education, which helps you to achieve these qualities, would do.
Q: What is your main role as Permanent Representative of the Russian
Federation? (Bjorn, UK, 13)
A: Any Permanent Representative must represent his/her country in
a dignified way and make sure that its position is well understood.
The Permanent Representative must also show respect to the position
of his/her partners.
Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
(Andy, USA, 16)
A: The hardest part of the job is to be woken up in the middle of
a night to discuss a new crisis about which you don't have instructions.
Then you have to go by your instincts and hope that they are right.
Q: What is your workday like?
(Cory, USA, 17)
A: My workday starts at 9.00 a.m. by reading cables from Moscow. Then
I attend various UN meetings which last until late afternoon. After
that, I have to write my reports and suggestions (hoping they will
be accepted), which typically lasts until late night every day.
Q: I am a 6th grader and we are beginning to learn about
the UN. Could you please tell me how ambassadors are selected?
(SK, USA, 11)
A: Ambassadors are appointed by Presidents. How they select Ambassadors,
I don't know. I never served as President!
About the Russian Federation
||Q: What is the new face
of Russia after the demise of Communism? (Steven,
A: Having become an independent State
in 1991 the Russian Federation today is a multinational democratic
federal state, consisting of 89 equal administrative units of the
Federation, including republics, territories, regions, and federal
cities. It is still the largest country in the world with enormous
natural reserves as well as human capital, a sophisticated scientific
and technological base, and industrial potential. Russia is a social
state, whose policies are aimed at creating conditions, which ensure
a dignified life and full development of men. The new face of Russia
today is determined to a large extent by our efforts and the progress
we have made in building a free democratic state based on the rule
of law, developing a dynamic and civilized market economy and raising
the living standards of the people.
Russia is one of the key actors on the world stage involved in addressing
the most critical global and regional problems and is fully aware
of the responsibility it bears. This responsibility results from her
being a nuclear power, Russia's permanent membership in the UN Security
Council, a variety of basic multilateral and bilateral agreements
Russia is party to, active efforts made within various international
organizations and fora, and Russia's full-fledged participation in
the Group of Eight, or the G-8, uniting the leading industrial democracies
in the world. The top priorities of Russia's foreign policy are: establishing
a just, supportive and democratic world order based on the generally
recognized rules of international law where the United Nations plays
a leading role in managing international relations; strengthening
international security through weakening the role of power factor,
further limiting and reducing armaments; shaping equitable international
financial, trade and economic systems providing equal opportunities
for the integration of all members of the international community
into the world economy; developing an extensive system of bilateral
and multilateral relations with foreign states which are mutually
beneficial and aimed at good neighbourliness and cooperation. In one
line - the face of Russia in international relations is that of a
truly reliable, businesslike and equal partner.
In international economic relations, Russia is also gradually emerging
as a reliable and predictable business partner. Russia is meticulously
servicing her foreign debt, always on, or even ahead of schedule.
The European Union, the USA and South Africa have already recognized
Russia as a country with a free market economy. The Financial Action
Task Force (the money-laundering watchdog of the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of 30 rich nations) made
a decision to remove Russia from its blacklist of countries not doing
enough to fight financial crimes. The progress made by Russia has
been registered by international rating agencies which have steadily
upgraded Russia's credit ratings.
Q: How did Russia integrate itself into the international market
after changing from a communist form of government? (Julian,
A: Ten years ago Russia made a historic
choice to build a free democratic state with a dynamic market economy.
It is on that basis that we steadily integrate our nation into the
world economic system. As President Vladimir Putin stressed in his
State of the Nation 2002 Address: "Quite obviously, the question
for Russia is no longer whether or not to integrate into the world
economy. The world market is already here while our own market has
become part of the world system." It is indeed so. Russia's foreign
trade activity over the past few years has tended to increase, with
a major surge in exports. The Russian Federation has regained her
position as the world's second-largest oil-producing country and is
quickly becoming an important "swing" oil producer for the
global energy markets. Russia is also the world's No.1 supplier of
energy. The export of non-raw materials has also started growing:
over the past year, the export of machinery and technical equipment
has grown 25%. Russia has a massive potential for trade and investment
and represents a viable market for capital and consumer goods.
Against this backdrop one major problem remains: that of Russia's
membership in the World Trade Organization. Since China's accession
to the WTO in November 2001, Russia is the largest economy that is
not yet a part of this global trade forum.
Not being a WTO member, Russia is still excluded from the process
of formulating world trading rules (for example, Russia cannot participate
in negotiating the timetables for tariff reductions in third countries,
which affect Russia), is subject to more than 120 sanctions and trade
restrictions, as well as antidumping proceedings, which are often
initiated even where there is no sign of dumping at all, and where
low prices actually reflect low production costs. Russia's accession
to the WTO would relieve this burden on its economy.
Accessing to WTO is a priority for us but - as it has been stressed
many times by our leaders - not at any cost. Russia will join it on
conditions that will be acceptable for her, and these should be the
standard conditions of WTO. We believe that universality of the multilateral
trading system is based, inter alia, on equality of the members.
At the same time major steps are being taken in Russia to improve
the economy and create a favorable business climate. Among them: flexible
investment attraction policy, reducing the tax load on business, modernization
of judicial, administrative and pension systems, improvement of the
activity of natural, or structural, monopolies, and the creation of
an effective system of support for small and medium-sized businesses.
Moreover, there has been quite a lot of legislative support for business
including the creation of equal tax conditions for entrepeneurs. Special
attention is also being paid to the adoption of international accounting
standards and to the protection of shareholders' and investors' rights.
The progress made so far has resulted in decisions by the European
Union and the United States to recognize Russia as a country with
a free market economy as well as in upgrading Russia's credit ratings
by international rating agencies and increasing Russian share in the
investment portfolios offered by foreign banks.
||Q: Would the Russian delegation
support making changes to the current way of voting in the General
Assembly such as the Biding Triad as proposed by the Centre for UN
Reform? (Xavier, USA, 15)
A: The idea of the"biding triad'
has been discussed and supported by numerous NGOs and researchers.
The Biding Triad suggests the implementation of a new order for adopting
resolutions and decisions of the UN Security Council, according to
which the resolution can be vetoed only by a minimum of three, not
one, permanent members of the Council; and even in this case the resolution
can be returned to the SC for further consideration if there are more
than 2/3 votes in the GA against the imposed veto. However this new
concept is not being officially discussed in the General Assembly.
The Russian Federation does not support any revisions of the fundamental
provisions of the UN Charter, where functions, responsibilities and
powers of SC and GA are already clearly divided and spelled out, so
that there is no duplication and overlap in their work. The veto power,
as specified in the Charter, is exercised very rarely.
We have repeatedly stressed that the UN membership should be extra
cautious in its approaches to any fundamental changes of the United
Nations Charter, which remains the main forum for solving the global
problems of security and cooperation and the formation of a stable,
multipolar, democratic world order based on the supremacy of law.
||Q: Does the Russian government
give scholarships to Mexican people who wish to study Russian or who
wish to get a bachelor's degree in Russia? (Roberto,
A: If you want to study in Russia, you
have to approach the Russian Embassy in your country and get all the
Q: Do you like pepperoni pizza?