Embassy Press Releases

Kathmandu, January 30, 2011

Russia ready to assist Nepalís development: Velichkin

Obviously we are sympathetic to Nepalís current problem, although we never meddle into Nepalís internal affairs. As a friend of Nepal we would always be prepared to respond if justifiable approach is made to facilitate the peace process, said Dr. Sergey V. Velichkin, Ambassador of Russia to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Talking to The Rising Nepal Dr. Velichkin at his office recently affirmed that Russia was always ready to contribute to Nepalís economic development, which beside other things is essential for providing much needed stability in the country.

As an envoy Dr. Velichkin further said that he would remain effortful to contribute to the Visit Nepal - 2011 campaignís success by disseminating information about Nepal in Russia. Excerpts.

TRN- As an ambassador what would be your role to further strengthen the relations between Nepal and Russia in practice?

Well, my main responsibility is to further strengthen over half a century old relations between the two nations, which have similar world outlook and are already bound by strong ties of equal partnership.

We have no conflict of interests and there are no contradictions between the two countries. Iíve got to research the political, economic and cultural situation in Nepal in order to know contemporary realities and the possibilities they offer.

Another priority will be to disseminate information about Russia in Nepal. Russia is an emerging nation in economic front. Therefore, Nepal can benefit from it. Russian investors would be keen to visit Nepal particularly in hydropower and tourism, provided the investment climate is right and they come to know about it.

TRN- It seems that Russia has not accorded priority to Nepal as the then USSR used to do in the past ?

I agree that in the post cold-war international environment the dynamics of world diplomacy has been functioning differently, while challenges as well as opportunities have changed to a large extent. It should be understood that Russia cannot replicate what the then USSR did in the past.

Having graduated into the new era, instead of focusing on ideological facets, Russia wants to be more pragmatic in the present world context. However the principles in which our interaction has been built are as relevant, as before Ė the primacy of international law and the set of rules affirmed by the UN Charter or, why not to recall those of Panchashila?

The more these values get rooted in international practice the weightier our common contribution to building more just, cooperative and humane multi-polar world order becomes, acquiring what you might call its due priority.

I strongly believe that Nepal is capable to re-invent itself through consolidating its democracy on its own. It seems that you are moving towards a right track now. However, Nepal can benefit if it so chooses by sharing our experiences of the transitional period. For instance, exchange of visits between the Chief Justices of Nepal and Russia has been mutually very beneficial.

TRN- Nepal is passing through a transitional stage for the last couple of years. The new Constitution is yet to be made; peace process has not yet come to the logical end. Lots of complications seem to have appeared so far. Russia had already witnessed such ups and downs in the decade of nineties. Hence, how would you help Nepal to tackle problems?

Well, Russia indeed had varied experiences during its transitional period. There may have been some similarities. As I already said, we are quite open on that and ready to be helpful if we can. However, what we should understand is that somebodyís experience may not be always quite handy. Obviously we are sympathetic to Nepalís current problem, although we shall never meddle into Nepalís internal affairs. As a friend of Nepal we would be always prepared to respond if approached, like we took part in the UN Security Council (as one of its Permanent Members) efforts to facilitate the peace process here when addressed by the Nepalese sides.

TRN- How does Russia think in accelerating political and economic development in Nepal? Will your focus be more on economic development?

As a matter of fact, Russia is always ready to contribute to Nepalís economic development, which beside other things is essential for providing much needed stability in the country. But let me be frank : the impetus for economic acceleration may only come from within Nepal through establishing clear and coherent legal framework and enforcing it convincingly to rally national talent, upgrade infrastructure and provide momentum for the revival of domestic investment, thereby generating the right climate for attracting private interest from abroad.

However, there may be ways to contribute to this for us as well and in this context I am proud to refer to those Nepalese students who studied in Russia, returned home and have greatly contributed to the development of their country. Look at Mitra Kunj- it is a glorious constellation of highly skilled professionals who have dedicated themselves to serving the nation using the education they received back in my country. Many of them are now a part of your elite shaping the destinies of Nepal.

TRN- What is strategic focus of Russia in South Asia?

From the point of view of existing geo-politics, we are neighbors and our primary interest is to keep South Asia from instability and tension, which unfortunately is not an easy task given the background of conflicts and confrontation there.

Russia is as much an Asian as a European power and we have been actively developing relations of constructive cooperation with all the countries of the continent. It is highly significant that our two important strategic partners Ė India and China, who together with Russia and Brazil form the BRIC (this year turning into BRICSA with the incorporation in it of the South Africa) Ė an influential forum of emerging most dynamic world economic powers, - have been also principal participants to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which in our view has a tremendous potential for combining strengths and resources of its member-nations in countering the contemporary challenges, above all those of international terrorism and crime, and advancing their economic development.

To highlight our great interests in facilitating positive trends in South Asia, let me only refer to our President Mr.Dmitriy Medvedevís visit last month to neighboring India, where scopeful agreements and multibillion contracts were signed bringing more Russian commerce and investment, figuratively speaking, closer to your threshold.

So, in strategic terms, we are present here and we are going to stay and expand our presence Ė all for the common good of all our friends and partners in the region, of which Nepal is historically one.

TRN- How can Nepal and Russia work together in global forum for the promotion of peace and development?

We have a good record of such interaction because as I have already emphasised there is a great commonality of views and proximity of approaches between our countries on a wide range of international issues, based on identical national interests as far as the fundamental global agenda is concerned. What we probably need is to promote more consultations at the ministerial level as well as contacts between experts and civil society representatives to spread increased mutual awareness of the existing opportunities.

TRN- How would you expect to develop people to people relations between Nepal and Russia?

There could be many ways for developing people to people relationships nowadays. For instance Ė there are well-established public organizations like the Nepal-Russia Friendship Association, the Nepal-Russia Cultural Association, the Nepal-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Mitra Kunj, which I have already mentioned, who have been engaged in fruitful multifarious activities to that end for years.

We believe that with the situation in the country getting more and more stable cultural exchange may also increase, as well as contacts between researchers and professionals. On top of that there could be many programmes. As an ambassador I will do my best to disseminate information about Nepal in my country, which is bound to result in more Russians wishing to visit Nepal as tourists. This could be a good way too to contribute to your Visit Nepal Campaign.

TRN- Is it true that Russia is according priority to Ďquite diplomacyí in developing and least developed countries?

I guess that what is implied is not so much the style of diplomacy, though as far as my country is concerned, "Russia is indeed by no means given to high-voltage thundering or pompous lecturing", but rather substance of the course pursued towards the countries you have described as developing.

Essentially this is a policy of understanding and taking into account their needs, trying to find an individual approach to developing relations with each of them proceeding from our realistically assessed possibilities, while keeping in mind overall compulsion for mankind to find solution to their problems in our contemporary globalized and interdependent world.

- RKC