An interview with H.E. Mr. Alexander Shulgin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to commemorate the Diplomat’s Day
What are the connections between the past and the future of the diplomatic service?
Russian diplomacy has a rich and glorious history. 10 February was chosen because on this particular day the Ambassadorial Department (or “Posolsky Prikaz” in Russian) was created in 1549. That established the foundations of a structured fully-functional diplomatic service in Russia.
Many things have changed since then. However, the fact that we regularly celebrated the Diplomat’s Day (we did not have it before) in the last decades, reflects that our government has recognized the input of the diplomatic service into the consolidation of the Russian statehood, implementing national policy, honouring historical traditions and merits of our diplomacy.
Our professional holiday was established by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of October 31, 2002 in connection with the 200th anniversary of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Russia is worried about the current security situation in Europe. This is why we made detailed and far-reaching proposals on this subject and addressed them to the United States of America and NATO. We proceed from the assumption that all states must adhere to the principle of indivisibility of security and not strengthening their security at the expense of security of other states as it was enshrined in the Charter for European Security (1999) and Astana Commemorative Declaration towards A Security Community (2010).
What is the heart of each diplomat’s work?
He or she should actively defend basic principles of international relations, such as equal rights and mutual respect, political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts and crises, and collective efforts to find solutions to regional and global problems. Building a broad anti-terrorist coalition on a solid legal basis under UN aegis is a particularly important task. Working to develop our mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign partners in all areas of both bilateral and multilateral relations is also as relevant a task as ever.
One should dedicate himself to his work, have creativity and take initiative, in the interests of ensuring Russia’s dynamic development and continuing to strengthen the country’s authority and influence on the world stage.
Are there any differences in working in the Ministry and abroad?
The employees of the Foreign Ministry’s main office, embassies and other diplomatic missions, and Russian regional offices, carefully preserve and creatively develop our centuries-old traditions of diplomatic service. The professionalism, intellectual capacities, sense of initiative and commitment allow us to solve effectively the most difficult foreign policy challenges.
Today our diplomatic efforts and active cooperation with other countries are aimed primarily at creating favourable conditions for Russia’s sustainable national development, ensuring continued socioeconomic growth. And it is precisely this, along with a consistent and persistent attempt to maintain global stability, promote the peaceful settlement of conflicts and the primacy of international law are the main principles of the Russian diplomatic work.
How do you pay tribute to your former colleagues?
Every year we begin this day in the Ministry with a ceremony to honour the memory of and pay respect to our comrades and predecessors who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of our country during the Great Patriotic War.
The staff of the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs who, together with their colleagues from the Commissariat of Foreign Trade of the Soviet Union made a huge contribution to our common Victory, the victory of the entire humankind over the fascist threat. All of them provided a shining example of selfless service to the Motherland in different circumstances.
What is the President’s position towards Foreign Ministry?
The President is confident that the Foreign Ministry staff will continue to work energetically and professionally to fulfil their obligations and strengthen Russia’s international position and its authority and influence in the world.
On this special day, I would like to wholeheartedly wish all my colleagues all the best and every success in their noble work defending the interests of our Motherland!