Viet Nam News
To mark the National Day of the Russian Federation on June 12, Việt Nam News presents an article by Konstantin V. Vnukov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Việt Nam
Russia today: traditions and modernity
June 12 marks the main holiday of my beloved country – the Day of Russia. On this day, I would like to share with readers of Việt Nam News, the leading Vietnamese English-language daily, my views on the future development of Russia and her relations with our friend – Việt Nam.
Throughout more than a thousand years of history, Russia has experienced many ups and downs and with pride and honor overcome numerous difficulties that often threatened its very existence. In the 13th century, we repelled the Crusaders’ invasion. Two hundred years later we emerged from dependence on the Mongolian Golden Horde, the most powerful empire in world history, survived the Time of Troubles and foreign intervention in early 17th century, coped with Napoleon’s troops in 1812 and, finally, at the cost of the lives of millions of Soviet people, made a decisive contribution to the victory over fascism in 1945.
It is very important that, despite numerous examples of foreign meddling, Russia not only preserved its national identity, language and faith, but also enriched our culture thanks to communication with other countries and peoples both in the West and in the East, that never stopped even for a day. At the heart of Russian society has always been genuine tolerance and respect for one’s neighbour, no matter from where he or his ancestors came to us. We all well remember, for instance, that the forefather of the greatest and most beloved Russian poet and writer, the "sun of Russian poetry", Alexander Pushkin was born in Africa.
In its current form our country – the Russian Federation – was established after the collapse of the Soviet Union based on the great traditions of the past and advanced experience of the present. Its key principles are democracy, federalism and a market economy, and the main goal is to maintain public harmony and the national and religious unity of our people.
Contemporary Russia has coped with the most difficult economic and social challenges of the first decade, found her place in the world and now firmly stands on a free and independent path of development. This year we entered a new historical stage after the March presidential elections, in which Vladimir Putin secured a convincing victory. In the coming years, the new Russian government and in fact all our people will make every effort to move forward, keep our country strong, dynamic and focused on the future.
Việt Nam a top priority in Russia’s external relations
It has been vital for Russia throughout her history to provide favorable external conditions for development. Today our country is an active and influential actor on the global scene, striving to reach a more just and safe multi-polar world where all live by the same rules, respecting each other’s legitimate interests.
With a pragmatic and multi-vector foreign policy, Russia not only recently, but also in the past, has paid special attention to the eastern direction of her diplomacy. To me, an ambassador and professional orientalist, who has worked in Asia for almost half a century, this seems quite natural and right.
Russia’s relations with all countries in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region undoubtedly have enormous potential. At the same time, one of our main priorities in this part of the globe for several decades has been promoting a comprehensive strategic partnership with the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam.
It is a great honour for me to serve as the Russian Ambassador in this friendly country. Relations between Russia and Việt Nam rest upon the glorious traditions laid down by our fathers and grandfathers. It is very good that today we not only remember them, but also pass them on to future generations. In November last year, Việt Nam saw many activities to commemorate the Russian October Revolution of 1917, a historical event that greatly influenced the fate of our two countries and the entire world. It is also important that this May in Hà Nội and HCM City for the second time took place a patriotic action called the "Immortal Regiment". This event first emerged in Russia about 10 years ago and has now swept over 100 countries throughout the world. It is dedicated to the memory of those who died struggling for their free and independent motherland, including Việt Nam liberation war heroes.
Today, Russian-Vietnamese relations with their great history also have a clear projection to the future. A Free Trade Agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and Việt Nam has significantly promoted their material basis. Our top leaders hold regular meetings, the next of which is to take place this autumn. Russia and Việt Nam’s most valuable asset is co-operation in defense and security, education, culture and tourism. Moscow and Hà Nội also plan to organise dozens of bilateral events during the year of Russia in Việt Nam and Việt Nam in Russia in 2019.
Waiting for the World Cup to kick off
Russia, no matter how hard they try to influence us from the outside, will always remain open to the world, ready for dialogue with all states and peoples. We believe that the world we live in would be much better if all conflicts stopped at least for a while and everyone played fair just like in football – the most popular game on the planet.
Of course, I mention football because in a couple of days in Moscow will blow a whistle at the opening of the main sports event in four years – the 21st FIFA World Cup. Russia has the honour to host such a great football tournament for the first time in history. The upcoming World Cup, along with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, will be the largest international event in our country in decades. I do hope that with the support of athletes, fans, media and friends from all over the globe, including Vietnamese football fans, this World Cup will be one of the best in history!