Valentina Matvienko: Bloc egoism is one of the biggest barriers to uniting the efforts of humankind

The Speaker of the Federation Council addressed the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Vienna.

Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko spoke at a general interactive debate on the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.

This event is taking place in Vienna and is organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in collaboration with the UN and the Austrian Parliament.

Valentina Matvienko noted in her remarks that global developments were a clear indication that international relations were in dire need of an open and trust-based dialogue. “The coronavirus pandemic has become the biggest challenge for the international community in decades and has exposed a number of vulnerabilities in domestic politics and international affairs.”

According to her, clearly, the world is interconnected more than ever and it is impossible for any given state to confront the pandemic or to defeat terrorism one-on-one. It is impossible to achieve climate change on one continent and it is unacceptable to try to ensure prosperity and security of some nations at the expense of others. “National and bloc egoism are one of the biggest barriers to uniting the efforts of humankind,” she said.

The “sanctions” severely affect the population and, amid the pandemic, deprive entire countries of equal access to life-saving medicines, vaccines and medical equipment, she said. In his address to the G-20 summit, President Putin suggested creating “green corridors” that are free of trade wars and sanctions for mutual supplies of medicines, food, equipment and technology.

Russia was the first country in the world to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and now there are five of them. “In addition to supplying vaccines, our offer to the stakeholders included the transfer of technology for local production in those countries,” Valentina Matvienko said.

She noted that the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine had been approved by 70 countries with a combined population of 4 billion people, which is over half of the world’s population. “At the same time, we faced stiff resistance and unacceptable politicisation of this purely humanitarian act,” she said. “Western pharmaceutical companies see it as business, while we see it is as a chance to save lives.”

 “The developments in Afghanistan clearly show that the attempts to forcefully impose political models on other nations without regard for their national traditions, culture and history lead to nothing but tragedy,” she said. “This is the result of arbitrary and irresponsible approaches to international law which has led to substituting the notion of multilateralism.”

She believes that attempts to impose the concept of “order based on rules that benefit only certain parties” on the international community have nothing in common with true multilateralism. “I’m convinced that true multilateral cooperation must be based on mutual respect and acceptance of global diversity and interaction on the basis of the common principles enshrined in the UN Charter,” she said. “The collective effort that was put into developing them came after the devastating trials that humanity experienced in the 20th century. Actions aimed at undermining the credibility of the UN and weakening confidence in the hard-fought and established norms that were developed in the wake of two world wars create the risk of repeating the tragedies of the past.

According to Valentina Matvienko, Moscow's initiative to hold a summit of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to review the horizon of global development and global politics is designed to turn this trend around.

According to the Federation Council Speaker, all countries are facing an increasing number of challenges coming their way. “There are new viruses and new threats to human health,” she said. “These threats can be overcome only through close cooperation. It is imperative to synchronise the efforts to finance scientific research, to pool resources and the best minds and to create a good foundation for preventing and treating diseases, as well as developing vaccines. Ms Matvienko also called for mutual recognition of all coronavirus vaccines that are being used around the world, which would not limit people in their actions or violate their right to travel around the world.

According to Valentina Matvienko, we all should learn the lessons from the pandemic, which is a global problem. “Parliamentarians from almost every country in the world are here,” she said. “Our role is particularly important now that we are seeing tried and tested instruments and interaction mechanisms between states stop working, and the very essence of multilateralism being replaced with something different. According to Ms Matvienko, the voice of parliamentarians should be heard loud and clear.


On 6–8 September, a Federation Council delegation headed by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko is in the Republic of Austria on a working visit to participate in the events of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments.

The Russian parliamentary delegation takes part in themed debates on sustainable development, gender equality, combating disinformation and incitement of hatred, parliamentary oversight of government emergency measures, and a panel discussion on the role of parliaments in global governance hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States.

The delegation includes Federation Council deputy speakers Galina Karelova and Konstantin Kosachev, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin and Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture Lilia Gumerova.