The interview. Gueorguy Tchepik: “Russia and Congo know each other well”

Les Dépêches de Brazzaville (LDB): Ambassador, you have been in office in Brazzaville for three years. Could you tell us about the areas of cooperation between the Russian Federation, your country and the Congo in which areas progress has been made and where there is still a lot to be done?

Georgi Chepik (GT) : Russia and Congo are two traditional partners who know each other very well. We are used to working together. We share the same vision on issues that provide an international context.

As for the economy, we have several projects in various fields, including hydrocarbons, digital technology for urban transport, the construction of an oil pipeline, a number of small and medium hydropower plants, a fish farming project.

During my time here, Russia provided humanitarian aid to the Congo three times: for the victims of the floods in 2019-2020, to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and to vaccinate the population with the Sputnik vaccine, which was later selected as part of the National Immunization. Program.

A humanitarian project in the field of oncology was implemented for the benefit of people suffering from albinism in medicine. This made it possible to implement a cooperation project between the two Ministries of Health, which are currently in direct contact.

We hope to establish a project in the field of scientific research on neglected infectious diseases in the Congo. As for the training of management personnel, we have increased from one hundred scholarships in three years to 250 next year. In terms of training, this cooperation integrates other sectors, which means that about 500 Congolese go to Russia for education every year.

However, we are satisfied with the military-technical cooperation. In terms of culture, we have big projects like intercultural weeks in Brazzaville and St. Petersburg, Russian film weeks in Congo. Also, cooperation in the field of media is developing.

LDB: On September 23, the delegation headed by the First Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia, Pavel Sorokin, once again expressed to the highest authorities of the Congo their desire to implement the pipeline project connecting the cities of Pointe-Noire and Ouesso. Is the context of the current conflict in Ukraine not an obstacle to the implementation of such investments?

GT: The first deputy minister actually confirmed that Russia is ready to implement this project through a company. This project is very important for the Congo, so it was decided to draw up an intergovernmental agreement, even though the project is purely commercial in nature. We believe that there are no financial problems even in the current conditions.

LDB: Regarding this conflict that has been going on for eight months, what do you think will be the final result?

GT : It must be said clearly that war is the worst thing in the world. The Russians know this better than anyone else. Regarding the current conflict, we say that every conflict ends in peace, and Russia is ready for negotiations, but not at the cost of its national interests.

On the other hand, through this conflict, we see that the West is plotting to destroy our country. Everything that is happening now is a direct result of this decades-long policy of double standards.

LDB: During his visit to Congo last July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomed Africa’s quasi-neutral position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Does your country still feel isolated on the international stage?

GT: You must understand that there is a fairly large group of states that are officially hostile to us. The West is waging a computer, economic, financial and political war with us. Many Western countries are directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine through financial and military aid to the Kyiv regime. These are the same Westerners who are trying to force others to take a hostile stance against Russia. However, we see a neutral and benevolent attitude towards our country in the world. Our Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is the most requested for bilateral meetings during international forums. Russia is always ready to develop relations with all partners open to mutually beneficial cooperation on an equal basis.

Such formats are not lacking in multilateralism. These are BRICS, Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Collective Security Treaty Organization and many others. As for those suffering from anti-Russian hysteria, let them wander.

LDB: In his speeches, the Russian president insists on promoting what he calls traditional values ​​of Russia. Does this mean that your country no longer shares universal values?

GT : I would say that Russia does not share the neoliberal values ​​that some try to pass off as universal. These values ​​are not the same as those which Russia and many other countries have confirmed by signing the Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other universal documents.

Through the neoliberal doctrine, a minority of countries want to impose their views of ethics, culture and history on others. Neoliberalism takes the form of a quasi-religious, intolerant doctrine that stifles any attempt to express dissent.

They talk about democracy and equality before the law, but they ignore the political culture and traditions of other countries. It is not surprising that the promotion of human rights in their liberal version serves as an excuse or interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

The culture of oppression is also a direct result of the neoliberal model that does not tolerate diversity and competition. The goal is to destroy everything that is different. Freedom of expression has been forgotten. “International media” has become a mechanism of propaganda, disinformation and Russophobia. This hate speech targets the entire Russian people, their history, culture and values. This neoliberalism attacks the political and cultural heritage of European civilization. As for us, we stick to our traditional values ​​based on the foundation of world religions and the humanistic heritage of civilization.

LDB: A Russia-Africa summit is planned to be held in St. Petersburg in July 2023. What guarantee does the Russian government give for the good outcome of these meetings?

GT: This is the second summit of its kind. The first event held three years ago was a complete success. From the political and economic point of view, a number of goals were set in the last three years. Now is the time of reckoning.

Russia attaches great importance to this summit, which is considered a front event for next year. Therefore, I have no worries that it will pass under good conditions.

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