Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko meets with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

The topics discussed included the recognition of the victory over Nazism as World Heritage.

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko had a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in St Petersburg.

During the conversation, the Speaker thanked the Secretary-General for coming to St Petersburg and taking part in the International Economic Forum.

Valentina Matviyenko noted that she had seen Antonio Guterres’s speech at the forum and completely agreed with the main points including the call to politicians and heads of state to step up their efforts to avoid a new “Cold War.”

The Federation Council Speaker stressed that the UN was an international venue with unique capacities that had no alternative; the organisation’s role had assumed even greater significance recently amid the turbulent global processes.

“Russia is very consistent in its foreign policy and has always spoken in favour of maintaining the key role of the United Nations in international affairs,” Valentina Matviyenko said. According to the Speaker, joint efforts by the international community are the only way to fight new threats and challenges.

She said that next year the UN would mark its 75th anniversary and added that this date was a good reason to celebrate its achievements and outline its prospects.

Valentina Matviyenko believes that inter-parliamentary cooperation is increasingly important in today’s situation. In this respect, she noted the role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

She added that at the 137th IPU Assembly, the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and the Federation Council had proposed marking International Day of Parliamentarism on 30 June.

The second proposal at the IPU Assembly was to hold an International Conference on Inter-Ethnic and Inter-Religious Dialogue under the UN auspices. This idea also gained support, and it was decided to hold such a conference in Russia on 21 May 2022, according to Valentina Matviyenko.

She said that preparations for the conference had already begun and asked the UN Secretary-General to support this work. She expressed hope that the conference would develop clear recommendations for the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups and religions.

In addition, Valentina Matviyenko expressed her concern about active falsifications of history and the threat of Nazism coming to power again. “The Federation Council has already addressed other parliamentarians and several international organisations, and there are plans to present the United Nations with our initiative aimed at recognising the victory over Nazism in World War II as World Heritage. We propose the recognition of all the monuments to those who fought against the Nazis in all countries as the World Memorial of World War II,” the Speaker said.

She observed that creating an international list of monuments to those who fought against the Nazis could help implement this idea. “This will protect our memory,” Valentina Matviyenko said, expressing hope for the UN Secretary-General’s support on this issue.

In turn, Antonio Guterres recalled that in his latest speeches he had focused on the problem of neo-Nazism. “I believe it is very important to fight this evil,” the Secretary-General added.

He noted that attempts to rewrite history were unacceptable.

The meeting was also attended by Federation Council Deputy Speaker Iliyas Umakhanov and Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachyov.