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MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Russia is set to protect the rights of compatriots living abroad, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an exclusive interview with TASS ahead of the World Congress of Compatriots.
"We are set to defend the rights of compatriots in need, to enhance their public and cultural activity and the sphere of their education," Karasin said. "We categorically reject attempts to cultivate suspicions against Russian communities abroad and to label them as ‘the fifth column’ in the countries of their residence."
"We can see our compatriots as active and loyal citizens for their countries," he said. "Along with this, naturally we will not stand any discrimination against them. We will help advocate for their rights with commonly recognized legal methods."
"Moscow welcomes consolidation of the Russian community abroad and unity of people with common culture, history and the Russian language," the deputy foreign minister said. "However, protection of legitimate rights of the compatriots, wherever they are, remains top priority, primarily, on the basis of national legislation of relevant countries."
Russia closely watches all cases of persecution of Russian compatriots abroad, including in Ukraine, Grigory Karasin went on to say.
"We are very concerned about our compatriots in Ukraine. Despite rather complicated conditions, the Ukrainian coordination council of Russian compatriots continues its human rights activities," Karasin said.
"It has become absurd. In September the Russian Fund for support and protecting the rights of compatriots living abroad has been included in Ukraine’s sanctions list. Kiev authorities earlier froze assets allocated by this fund to the well-known Ukrainian humanitarian public organization ‘Dar Zhizni’ [Gift of Life]. This concerned setting up four centers of legal assistance in Kiev, Kharkov, Donetsk and Luhansk," Karasin noted.
One of the priorities in Ukraine has become "cooperation with multi-million Russian diaspora in the interests of preserving its ethic and cultural identity and values, Russian language, culture," he added. "For this, we intend to take measures on stepping up relevant work on international platforms, including US, OSCE, Council of Europe, on broadening cooperation with international and domestic non-governmental organizations, on supporting Russian-speaking media abroad. I hope that this will be appropriately treated by the Kiev authorities," Karasin concluded.
According to Grigory Karasin, Russia will not leave without help its compatriots facing difficulties in exercising their rights to use their native language in the Baltic States.
"Difficulties in exercising the rights of compatriots for using the native language exist in many countries," Karasin said. "This, first of all, concerns Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, where our compatriots have less opportunities now to be educated at schools in the native language. The higher education system preparing specialists in the Russian language has been almos eliminated," he added.
"Compatriots hope that Russia will take active steps to protect the Russian language in the countries of their residence," the diplomat stressed. "Of course, we will not leave them without help. The projects ‘Russian Language Abroad’ and "Russian School Abroad’ have been developed. These documents will be adopted soon," he concluded.
About 400 representatives of public organizations of Russian compatriots from 97 countries will attend the Fifth World Congress of Compatriots in Moscow on November 5-6, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an exclusive interview with TASS.
"There is great interest in the forum, which has a vast and intense programme. Plenary sessions and five thematic meetings will take place in the course of two days. The delegates will have to analyze the experience of foreign organizations of compatriots; the dynamics of their development; their needs and changes that have taken place in their work," the Russian diplomat said adding that preparations for the congress were according to plan.
"The forum has an aim to demonstrate that the foreign Russian world maintains partnership relations with its historical homeland preserving the native language, culture and historical heritage. Our compatriots regarded Crimea’s reunification with Russia as a landmark historical event, which was actively discussed by everybody who is linked to Russia. It also produced a positive consolidating impact on the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Russian Diaspora," Karasin stressed.
"The forum is planning to discuss the forms and methods of consolidating the associations of of compatriots and the role of young people; protection of compatriots’ rights; preservation of historical memory and counteraction to attempts to distort history; the task of spreading the Russian language, Russian culture and education abroad and many other things," the Russian deputy foreign minister told TASS.
According to Karasin, the World Congress of Compatriots is a floor for open and free discussion of all problems that interest compatriots irrespective of where they live.
"The forum will take place in the year of the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Therefore, its delegates will pay attention to the need to protect historical memory, primarily the truth about a decisive contribution of all peoples of the Soviet Union to the victory over fascism. Efforts made by our compatriots to fight against the glorification of Nazism and manifestations of xenophobia, inter-ethnic strife, racism and aggressive nationalism will certainly be part of the agenda," the Russian diplomat said adding it was important to define common problems, which Russian compatriots face around the globe.
"It is important for the Russian state to understand what it can do to help solving these problems. I am confident that the words and calls that will sound in Moscow will be heard in all parts of the world," Karasin stressed.