Foreign Ministry statement on situation at UNESCO

The 215th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, held in October, once again demonstrated the destructive course taken by the collective West towards further politicising the organisation’s agenda. Despite UNESCO’s purely humanitarian competence and mandate, the remarks by a group of countries primarily representing the European Union and NATO, contained aggressive anti-Russia attacks and calls. Those countries promoted non-consensus and provocative decisions in a crude and offensive manner, eventually “Ukrainising” the organisation’s activities.

Against this backdrop, the actions of the UNESCO Secretariat, which is obediently replicating the attitudes of the Russophobic minority of the member states, are of serious concern. Specifically, through this year, UNESCO has not provided its auspices for any events held in the Russian Federation. All our applications for the opening of UNESCO Chairs or schools joining its networking programme have been rejected without explanation. Russia-supported scientific prizes and scholarships by are being deliberately hindered, and voluntary targeted contributions to humanitarian projects in developing countries are being blocked. The Secretariat refused to publicly condemn the brutal murder of young Russian journalist Darya Dugina by Ukrainian nationalists, which was a violation of the Director General’s mandate to promote the safety of journalists and a manifestation of the highest degree of cynicism.

In view of the above, we state that today, UNESCO more than ever needs effective protection from the encroachments of irresponsible members who are using the organisation’s platform to settle scores with “undesirable” countries. To this end, we once again urge the Secretariat not to succumb to external pressure and to be guided by the statutory provisions on the international responsibilities of the UNESCO Director-General and other staff.

The results of the Executive Board’s vote on biased anti-Russia resolutions have clearly confirmed that a significant number of countries are aware of the need to overcome the current crisis at UNESCO and are ready to make efforts to restore its traditions of a professional, respectful and equal dialogue. Russia will contribute to this in every possible way.