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On the 20th of April 2016, a discussion was held at the Embassy of Russian the Federation, with His Excellency Mr Alexander Vladimirovich Zmeyevskiy, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Czech Republic. The discussion concerned the Russian Federation, current relations between this country and the Czech Republic, and the future of Russian diplomacy and the current steps it is taking.

HE Mr Alexander Vladimirovich Zmeyevskiy started his career in 1979, when he entered Russian diplomacy. Subsequently, the Ambassador worked for four years as Russia’s Deputy Representative at the UN, in New York. In 2011, His Excellency became the permanent representative of the current President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for international cooperation in combating organised crime and terrorism.

The discussion as a whole started after a guided sightseeing tour of the whole Russian Embassy. We discovered lots of interesting information concerning this Embassy, and about the magnificent artistic pieces held within it. The Russian Embassy is the largest in the Czech Republic and, along with the Embassy of France, is one of the most breathtaking.

After a brief introduction of His Excellency, we focused on the issue of immigration from Syria in a roundtable discussion. As Russia’s current Prime Minister Medvedev has noted, the European Union is dysfunctional. He is correct in this, in that the European Union has caused a lot of diplomatic mistakes in recent years. One of these mistakes has fed into the Syrian immigration problem and civil wars. The Russian Federation started its offensive in Syria mainly because of the close proximity to its borders and the need to protect Russian civilians. At the outset of this issue (around five years ago), Russia warned France and sought its cooperation, but France refused and now we can see what a huge issue we are faced with.

During diplomatic negotiations held in Geneva, all superpowers (principally the USA, Russia, France, Germany and China) agreed on dividing separate oppositions of government and terrorist groups; only on this basis can the whole situation in Syria be addressed, with a view to establishing a new government and infrastructure, and eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

 “Military activity is always hard to stop”

The second topic was that of Islamic state (also called DAESH/IGIL, because Arab states do not recognise this group as a state). We can see that radical movements are creating while states are experiencing weakness. Furthermore, we find ourselves confronted with new terrorist group phenomena, in that DAESH is not aconventional terrorist group. They have territory (borders) and a population, with a large region under their control on the basis of a structural state. From this point of view, they represent a formidable opponent. Additionally, within DAESH, we can see represented many ethnic groups, such as persons of Turkish, Arabic, Russian or French origin – people who made a decision to join the group. We must then pose the question of why people are willing to join to DAESH/IGIL?

On this point, we discussed that they feel something like a revolutionary impetus to join to the radical group; to look to better order in this world, or simply to observe the weaknesses of states and take advantage of them to spread their “new order”. The main point is that states must not to underestimate IGIL, and must seek to shrink their large borders. As we mentioned in relation to the problematic European Union issue, the key imperative must be to unite the states which are against DAESH, in order to arrive at a common offensive and strategic policy. Moreover, all states must better mobilise themselves in our time, or terrorist atrocities such as those that have happened in Belgium and France in recent months will continue to occur.

Later, we talked about the Russian pilot shot down in the vicinity of Turkish airspace. The Ambassador said that Turkey was on a strong basis of friendship with the Russian Federation. After this incident, they have do not have a “friendly” status anymore. The Russian pilot did not recognise any warning signals from Turkey as he was over the Syrian borders (Russian pilots have on several occasions overflown borders of foreign countries, as happened in Greece and Cyprus – but on every such occasion, they received a warning signal, as is customary). In addition, Turkey did not issue any apologie to Russia, which  has served to exacerbate the breakdown in relations between these two countries.

The Russian Federation tries to open doors not only for its own inhabitants, but for foreign students too. Right now, they are in a state of openness that is historically unprecedented. They focus on strengthening education and have open doors not only in terms of the market, but also concerning foreign scientists and diplomatic cooperation.

Diplomatic Academy Prague