Welcoming speech by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the reception on the occasion of Russian National Day
Dear friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you at the reception celebrating Russian National Day!
Let me thank you all for coming to join us on this happy occasion.
Though now we are far from our country in terms of geography, we feel a strong connection to it. For us, Russia is many things, but in the first place, Russia is people. People who live in this country, who love this country, who actually defend this country. Throughout its history, Russia has gone through a continuous streak of wars. These were not all wars of choice. There were patriotic wars, because so many invaders came to Russia. They were all gone, I must say, but we stayed.
I have just returned from Russia: less from Moscow, more from Saint Petersburg. I accompanied H.E. Secretary-General on his official visit and during his participation in Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum. In recent years, this forum has become a great platform not only for economic and commercial dialogue. This year 1300 companies from 75 countries participated in the forum. It has also become a major political platform that brings together foreign officials, Foreign Ministers and, this year also the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In Russia we have a sort of competition or rivalry, if you want, between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It is more a joke than something serious, because we all love our “Northern capital”, “The Gem”, “Northern Venice”. Although I am from Moscow, I love this city as well.
However, Moscow and Saint Petersburg are not the only beautiful cities in Russia. Now I am going to betray a top secret to those of you who are unaware: Russia is a very beautiful country. It is my great pleasure to present to you a photography exhibition entitled “The Most Beautiful Country” that we prepared in cooperation with the Russian Geographical Society. This exhibit will give you a glimpse of the magnificent Russian nature and its diverse peoples.
Russia is a vast country, the largest in the world, as you know. It is multiethnic, multicultural, multiconfessional, and diverse. In a way, this is an embodiment of multiculturalism and, for that matter – also an embodiment of multilateralism.
We have many neighbors that we share borders with. However, we want to be good friends and good neighbors not only with the adjacent countries, but with all nations of the world. We try to prove this every day during our work at the United Nations, which in itself is a micro-cosm of multilateralism, diversity and multiculturalism.
We very much appreciate that you have come to celebrate this day with us. We see you and meet you almost every day, however let me say now that you all are most welcome at our next year Russian National Day reception. You are also very welcome in the Russian Mission and in Russia itself, in particular those of you who have never been in our country.
Thank you all for coming once again. Cheer us!