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Russia’s Diplomatic Service marks professional holiday.

February 10, 2013, 1:25 UTC+3

On the threshold of this day, Sergei Lavrov laid flowers to memorial plaques in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s building on Moscow’s Smolenskaya Square

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MOSCOW, February 10 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Diplomatic Service will mark its professional holiday on Sunday. On the threshold of this day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov laid flowers to memorial plaques in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s building on Moscow’s Smolenskaya Square. They carry the names of diplomats who were killed in action during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), fell victims to repressions or died while performing their line of duty.

“These days, we have been marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, which was the turning point in the course of World War II. The events devoted to this glorious date held at home and abroad are accentuating once again the extreme danger of trying to rewrite history and make one’s historical phobias and historical claims an instrument of contemporary politics,” the Russian foreign minister said. “It is vitally important that more and more people in Europe and other parts of the globe are coming to support us and the number of those who categorically deny these approaches is growing,” Lavrov stressed.

“International relations are not becoming simpler. They are gathering pace unprecedentedly,” the Russian foreign minister went on to say. He said it was necessary not just to be on the tip of events but try to think and play several moves ahead.

“We should take steps that will strengthen our line towards securing the most favorable external conditions for Russia to become a rich and trouble-free country so that our citizens live well and feel safe abroad,” the Russian foreign minister stressed.

“Day of Diplomatic Service is marked annually on February 10. This holiday was instituted by the Russian president’s decree in October 2002. Historically, it falls on the date when the first reference to the Russian foreign policy agency called the Ambassadorial Order (Posolsky Prikaz) was made in Russian chronicles in 1549. Later on, the Order was transformed first into the Collegium of Foreign Affairs and then into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire. After the 1917 October Revolution the Ministry was transformed into the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and was restored as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1946.

At present, the Russian Federation maintains diplomatic relations with 193 states and has diplomatic missions in 146 countries. The Russian Foreign Ministry has more than 10,000 employees, of which 7,000 work abroad.

Graduates of more than 20 Russian institutions of high learning come to work in the Russian Diplomatic Service regularly. The Moscow State Institute of Diplomatic Relations (University) of the Russian Foreign Ministry has been the leader in training diplomats for the past 65 years. Over that period of time, the Institute has trained over 30,000 experts on international relations.



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