The fifth annual international conference dedicated to the relations between Russia and the UK, as well as other European countries, was held in London with support of Rossotrudnichestvo. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the forum was held in an online format.
The conference was opened by the Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin, who noted that Russia is ready to normalise bilateral relations between the two countries, should the UK side also be willing to do so. At the same time, the Russian Ambassador stressed the steady development of cultural relations: "Despite the absence of a full-fledged bilateral dialogue in the political sphere, cultural ties between our countries continue to maintain positive dynamics. Russian culture, especially literature, music and dance, is traditionally popular in the UK." Kelin also noted that the UK honours Soviet-British cooperation during the Second World War and takes an active part in the memorial work: "Notwithstanding the well-known epidemiological limitations and difficulties, this year we jointly managed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Victory over fascism."
The conference included presentations by 47 specialists from 12 countries: Australia, Austria, Bermuda, the UK, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Russia, Serbia, USA, Croatia and Switzerland. The participants analysed Russian-British relations and discussed best practices in the field of European cooperation.
Western expert on Russia Dr. Alexander Rahr presented Russian-European relations in historical retrospect. He emphasized the need to improve relations between the two countries, noting the areas that currently unite Russia and European countries, and those that have the potential to bring the countries closer in the future. Presentations were also delivered by a member of the Bundestag and the German Defence Committee, East European Commissioner, member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Alexander Noy (Germany) and a professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent Richard Sakwa (UK). The panel discussion on promoting cooperation between East and West through culture, education and sports was chaired by the representative of Rossotrudnichestvo in the UK Anton Chesnokov.
The conference was attended by representatives of major European institutions, the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Bundestag, and the Trade Delegation of the Russian Federation in the UK, among others. It was organized by the British non-profit organization Westminster Russia Forum, chaired by Nicholas Cobb, in cooperation with Rossotrudnichestvo, the National Civil Committee and other international organizations.