The Federal Agency for Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Russian Cooperation Agency) was established in 2008.
The agency has 83 branches in 74 countries, including 58 Russian scientific and cultural centres.
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Beginning of Working Meeting with Konstantin Kosachev
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, Mr Kosachev. I have signed an executive order appointing you director of the Federal Agency for Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation [Russian Cooperation Agency]. I congratulate you on your new appointment.
Konstantin Kosachev: Thank you.
Dmitry Medvedev: You are very familiar with the agency’s work given that you have long been involved in international affairs in the State Duma and have diplomatic experience too.
This is thus not a new field of activity for you, but it is an area of great importance for our country, because the CIS, even if it is perhaps not the strongest integration grouping, is nonetheless the common forum bringing together the interests of very close countries and peoples.
Relations with the CIS have always been one of the Russian Federation’s top priorities, as our annual presidential addresses and various international documents have always stressed. This is complex work because we have particular relations with each of the CIS countries, relations developing in different ways in the different cases, and also various issues that need to be resolved.
”Relations with the CIS have always been one of the Russian Federation’s top priorities. This is complex work because we have particular relations with each of the CIS countries, relations developing in different ways in the different cases, and also various issues that need to be resolved.“
I hope that you will succeed in establishing full-fledged contacts with all of the CIS leaders in order to make Russia’s position known, protect the rights of our compatriots living abroad – another of our foreign policy priorities – and work on the humanitarian projects that probably more than anything today forge links between the peoples living in the post-Soviet area.
I wish you success in your task.
Konstantin Kosachev: Thank you, Mr President. Thank you for your confidence.
Over the various stages of my working life I have indeed been involved in the areas under the agency’s responsibility, as a professional diplomat, in the Foreign Ministry, and in recent years through people’s diplomacy as part of the State Duma’s international affairs work. Of course, I have also worked often together with the agency itself over these last years.
I have a general idea of how the work is organised at the moment. Let me say most sincerely that I think your decision to establish the agency, which has had time to gather some experience now over the three-and-a-half-years that have gone by – was absolutely correct and very timely. It checked the negative trend that we had seen over almost 20 years, during which our cultural and humanitarian presence in the post-Soviet area, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the world in general was constantly decreasing. The agency’s creation stopped this decline and has done much to rebuild our presence abroad, especially in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
This work includes more traditional activities such as developing a network of scientific and cultural centres abroad and providing various forms of support to our compatriots, including the establishment as from January 1 of this year of the special foundation for protecting the rights of our compatriots abroad. The agency is one of the foundation’s founders, together with the Foreign Ministry.
The agency’s work also covers education services and many other areas directly related to the country’s real needs. I am thinking, for example, of the programme for innovation cooperation between the CIS countries, which the CIS Council of Heads of Government approved at the end of last year. The agency was directly involved in drafting this programme and is taking part in its implementation now.
In my view, therefore, the decisions taken and the work done was all very much needed and the efforts made have not been in vain. But today’s tasks are of an even greater magnitude. Once again, thank you for confidence, and I hope I will be up to the task before me.
Dmitry Medvedev: To make your task easier I have signed another executive order, making you not just the Russian Cooperation Agency’s director, but also special presidential representative. This generally helps smooth the way in contacts with other countries’ leaders and, I hope, will help you in your work.
Konstantin Kosachev: Thank you very much. This is probably one of the most effective tools agencies engaged in this kind of work can have. I will not let you down, Mr President.
Dmitry Medvedev: Good. We have agreed then.