Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Address by Mr. Sergey Kononuchenko, 
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, 
on the occasion of the International Day of Vesák

Venerable Monks,

Distinguished Co-Chairs,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We gather today to celebrate a sacred holiday for the millions of Buddhists around the world – the Day of Vesák. Throughout centuries it unites all Buddhists symbolizing hope, expectations, striving for harmony and purity of thoughts.

Celebrating the Vesák Day is important not only for Buddhists but all people regardless of their religion because its fundamentals embrace such inviolable universal principles as patience, understanding, mercy and mutual respect. One of the major Vesák Day’s traditions is to abstain from using any kind of violence and cruelty. I would like to emphasize that the same postulates are built into the UN Charter which was established with the aim to resolve conflicts and contradictions without the use of force.

Despite tremendous technological progress the number of global challenges and threats has unfortunately not diminished. Technological knowledge alone is unable to resolve contemporary conflicts, which the international community encounters. Quite often solutions can be found in a different sphere – within eternal moral values and ethical ideals, which are fundamental for human life. In this vein the Spirit of the Vesák holiday motivates us to resolve many pressing issues of the present day in a peaceful manner. Let us not forget that we all belong to one human family and together we can take action to address global challenges.

In Russia there is over one million Buddhists with more than 200 Buddhist religious organizations. Buddhism is one of the numerous confessions in our country, where this holiday is observed by the Buddhist sangha. Over three centuries this one of the oldest world religions is practiced by indigenous peoples of our country: Buryats, Kalmyks, Tuvinians and others. In this regard I would like to draw your attention to the unique experience of my country in the field of promoting interreligious dialogue. Philosophy and spiritual practice of Buddhism have greatly influenced national identity, ways of life, traditions and customs of its followers. Buddhist culture has become an integral and valuable part of historic and cultural heritage of Russia.

I thank you for your kind attention and wish all of us a Happy Vesák Day!