Introductory remarks at the concert on the occasion of 210th anniversary of Russia-U.S. diplomatic relations

December 17, 2017

Dear friends,
We have decided to dedicate today’s concert to a significant milestone. 210 years ago Russia and the United States established their diplomatic relations through the exchange of messages between Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Budberg and U.S. Secretary of State James Madison.
This year we have celebrated a range of various anniversaries that connect our countries: 200th anniversary of the Russian squadron’s arrival in Hawaii, 150th anniversary of the Alaska Treaty, 80th anniversary of Valery Chkalov’s legendary flight from Moscow to Vancouver, 75th anniversary of establishing the Alaska-Siberian air route.
Throughout more than two centuries the Russian-American relationship saw ups and downs, periods of confrontation and détente, brotherhood-in-arms and an arms race. World War II was shortly followed by the Cold war that, luckily, did not turn into a “hot” one.
There is hardly any need to explain the importance of Russia-U.S. relations which are going through uneasy times.
Growing turbulence and conflict potential in the world make it absolutely important to overcome existing bilateral differences and find ways of integrating mutual interests instead of polarizing our positions, in order to counteract common challenges and threats.
One of the most important issues is addressing an unprecedented outbreak of international terrorism. This topic is on the top of the agenda of Russia-U.S. contacts at the highest level.
This morning Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information passed on by the CIA that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from the CIA was enough to locate and detain the criminals. The Russian President asked the US President to convey his appreciation to the CIA Director and the operatives of US intelligence services who received this information. Vladimir Putin assured Donald Trump that in the event that Russian intelligence services receive information that concerns terrorist threats to the US and its citizens, they will promptly pass it on to their US colleagues via partner channels.
This is a positive example of what we can achieve when we work together. As was emphasized several days ago by Russian President Vladimir Putin, there are many things we can do much more effectively together to the benefit of our nations than we are doing now.
I would like to emphasize that it has been the second telephone conversation between our presidents this week. Their contacts confirm that our countries need each other to define a joint program of work on strengthening international security. All of this meets the interests of the Russian and American people.
Dear colleagues,
Cultural dimension of our bilateral relations takes on special significance as a bridge of mutual understanding and an effective tool against new dividing lines between the peoples of our countries. I am pleased to note in this regard the unfading high level of interest of Americans to achievements of the Russian culture.
Quite a number of colleagues who devote a great deal of their creative energy to Russian-American cultural cooperation are present here today. Let me assure you that we highly appreciate your efforts and will keep supporting you.
I would like to extend my gratitude to our performers who have travelled all the way from their home countries to the United States to make this concert possible. A couple of days ago they performed with great success for a very sophisticated public in New York. So we are lucky to have them in Washington.
Nordic Pulse Ensemble is a striking example of how the power of art can erase borders. You will hear musicians from Russia, Australia, Chile, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and the United States. Their ability to work as a team and to find common language serves as a model for developing relations between states. I would like to give a special welcome to the two people who bind this team – maestro Kristjan Jarvi and our talented violinist Mikhail Simonyan.
On this positive note, let me wish you a good mood and all the best for Christmas and the New Year. May the next year bring you happiness and be filled with exciting events.