Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the reception on the occasion of Day of Russia

Don’t worry, my speech hopefully won’t be long.

I’m glad to see you joining us to celebrate the Day of Russia.

I’m proud to be a Russian as my colleagues here and millions of Russians are.

We are patriotic, but we are not nationalistic. We love our country, its history, its traditions, its culture. But we love other countries too. And we want to be friendly and engage with each of them.

Russia has never been xenophobic. It embraced other peoples and other nations, both indigenous and not. And since long time and today, for decades, for centuries, along with Russians we have millions of people of other nationalities living in peace side by side among whom we don’t distinguish.

Russia has been tested many times in its history and it always endured. Russia is a place where the third Newton law works the best. The bigger the pressure, the stronger the resistance. I will make an unusual quote now. It was Harry Truman who once said: the vocation of a great nation is to lead (by example), not to dominate. So are we dedicated to true multilateralism, to justice, to peaceful settlement of disputes, to non-interference, to sovereign equality of nations, to respect towards each other, and hence – to the United Nations that united us here today.

I always claimed that the main power, soft power as they call it, of any country is not in the strength of its economy or military might, but in the beauty of its people and attractiveness to others. So our main hidden strength and potential is in ourselves, in what we can achieve and in what we can offer.

Reading about Russia from the Western media I’m often tempted to say in reply to some of them: what you think or say about Russia is nothing what Russia is. Come and see for yourselves. Russia is a mega-space. Russia is a continent. Russia is a universe. Russia is an oikumena.

And those who had courage to come and especially stay, discovered another Russia, different from the one they knew from mass-media. I am personally aware of many examples of this.

Those who will have this chance in the nearest future are football fans who in the coming month will be enjoying the greatest sports fair – the Football World Cup to open in two days (Про открытие и ООН).

We will celebrate this great sports festival together and as I was already saying before we will be very nice hosts, including on the field. We will let others win, as our national team won’t be able to make it anyway.

Though we never lose hope on our national team. But may the best win.

I have to make one announcement.

As you may know, Russia submitted an application of the city of Ekaterinburg to host the World Universal Exhibition Expo-2025. Ekaterinburg is one of the most important economic and cultural centers of our country, which has always played a notable role in the history of Russia. Sometimes it is also called the World Capital of Constructivist architecture. Today we are glad to present an exhibition dedicated to a remarkable constructivist heritage of Ekaterinburg, unique city, which is ready to welcome Expo-2025.

And that brings me to the end of my speech.

I now would like to offer a toast to Russia and its people and to all of you who came to share our National Day with us.