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June 12, Russia’ National Day

On June 12 Russia celebrates its National Day. This day marks the appearance of the present Russian Federation on the world map, manifests the new nation building principles of independence, freedom and rule of law, incarnates the belief in the bright future of our country and people. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, “No matter how hard somebody tries to demonise Russia, today Russia is a sovereign and democratic country.”
Russia has always constituted a unique civilisation that comprises Eastern and Western cultures and traditions. We should never forget that Russia gave the world incomparable examples of genuine self-sacrifice, bravery and strength of spirit in the military, labour and civil areas, that many cultural and literature masterpieces as well as unique scientific discoveries were made by Russians. It is evident that people of our country provided an enormous input into the progress of global development. The achievements of Russian contemporary scientists, writers and artists are the proof that this process is still ongoing. For example, Russia became one of the leading countries in the field of fighting against COVID-19 pandemic. Today our country has developed four effective domestic vaccines, recognised in the world. So far, the first vaccine in the world “Sputnik V” has been already registered in 66 countries by now. Moreover, as Vladimir Putin stated during the recently held “St. Petersburg International Economic Forum” – “Russia is the only country that not only develops unique technologies for the production of modern vaccine, but also assists other countries in organising production of “Sputnik V” at their own territories.”
Russian foreign policy proved to be transparent, predictable and pragmatic. It is consistent and reflects the unique role of our country in the world as well as its role in history and in the development of global civilisation. Russia is fully aware of its special responsibilities for maintaining security in the world both on the global and regional levels and is determined to act jointly with all the interested states to address common challenges.
Russian Federation, being a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a participant to a wide range of influential international organisations, regional structures and mechanisms, is actively developing relations with different countries in line with its multi-vector policy, which is aimed at creating a stable and inclusive multilateral system of international relations based on international law and principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs of a state.
The Lao PDR has always been our traditional friend and reliable partner in the region since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries more than 60 years ago. Thousands of Laotians received education in our country and still express warm and heartfelt feelings towards Russia. Even in a very dramatic period after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the beginning of reforms both in Russia and in Laos the leaders and peoples of our countries didn’t allow the bilateral relations to cool down and showed their determination to give to our ties a new dimension.
Nowadays Russia-Laos relations are characterised by their multidimensional nature. Our countries closely cooperate at the international arena. What brings us together is the commitment to the formation of a more equitable and democratic multipolar world order, based on the UN Charter principles. Russia is interested in further strengthening its dialogue with the Lao PDR as an active member of most regional structures, including the ASEAN Regional Forum on Security and the East-Asian Summits.
We continue to advance our bilateral political dialogue, including at the high level. Vladimir Putin had a meeting with then Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Russia Summit in Singapore in November 2018. In 2016 then Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Laos and held talks with the President and the Prime Minister of the Lao PDR. Since 2014 the regular meetings between the Lao and Russian leadership on the sidelines of the annual East-Asia summits have become a good tradition.
We really appreciate strong ties between the ministries and agencies of the two countries on different levels. In recent years Deputy Prime Ministers as well as Foreign Ministers of Laos and Russia exchanged visits and met to hold talks at different international fora. In 2018 Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu visited Laos; in April 2019 the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolay Patrushev paid a working visit to Vientiane and had fruitful talks with the Lao PDR leadership. In April 2019 Minister of Defence of the Lao PDR General Chansamone Chanyalath visited Russia and held talks with his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu.
It is also worth mentioning the successful missions of the Russian Army engineering troops on clearing the large areas of territory of Borikhamxay and Xieng Khuang provinces from unexploded ordnance, which activities were highly appreciated by the Lao side. And it is important that Russia is determined to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Laos in the field of mine clearance.
Russian people highly appreciate a truly brotherly attitude of Lao people to the crucial role of Read Army in the Victory in the Great Patriotic War  a significant and sacred event for Russia. We are glad that Lao partners attach great importance to the preservation of the historical truth and rejection of any attempts to falsify the history. The Russian public was really grateful for the delivery of 30 “T-34” legendary tanks in 2019 to our country, which was an invaluable gift from the Lao government, party and people.
Special attention in the context of our bilateral relations has been paid to education. After the reestablishment of the “Russian Centre of Science and Culture” in Vientiane in 2013 the number of grants allocated by the Russian government for the Lao students has increased. In 2020 almost 100 Lao students have been enrolled to the Russian universities. Direct cooperation between Lao and Russian universities is actively developing and, undoubtedly, will be deepened and continued in the foreseen future.
As they say both in Russia and Laos: “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. Russia attaches great importance to providing relief assistance to Laos. In May 2020 the Russian humanitarian cargo including test systems and reagents for COVID-19 testing, as well as protecting masks was handed over to the Ministry of Health of the Lao PDR. Early this year the first batch of the Russian vaccine “Sputnik V” was delivered to Laos. In December 2020 Russia has signed an agreement allocating 10 million US dollars to the UNDP programmes aimed at promoting youth development, including the project “Enhancing Social and Economic Opportunities for Youth in the Lao PDR”. In January this year the Russian Ministry of Defence handed over to the Lao side engineering machines and equipment that could be used for providing assistance to people suffered from natural disasters and reconstruction works.
Despite all difficulties and challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic, we hope this year will bring new positive developments in our bilateral relations.
No doubt that working together we will be able to achieve significant progress in every area for the benefit of our peoples, in the interests of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region and in the world as a whole.
I would like to use this opportunity to wish our Lao friends good health, personal well-being and new great achievements!
The article is written by Vladimir Kalinin Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Lao PDR.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update June 11, 2021)

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