Speech by Vyachelsav Volodin at the plenary session of the First International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Latin America”

Plenary session of the International Parliamentary Conference "Russia - Latin America: Cooperation for a just world for all"

“Colleagues, friends!

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who came to take part in our First International Conference “Russia — Latin America”. The distances are huge, but, as it turned out, they mean nothing, as our friendship is much stronger.

When we talked with representatives of the delegations that came to Moscow, we were told that many of them had spent more than 30 hours to get there. Flights, transfers, of course, that is not easy. It is even more difficult to get here when you are under pressure.

And we all know well what the United States of America can do to preserve its hegemony in the world. And once again, in this regard, I would like to say words of gratitude to everyone who came here and gathered in this hall. Thank you!

Colleagues, it is our fourth day of work. This is a real work indeed, and it has its results. And now we can talk about the interim results. We signed an agreement on cooperation between the State Duma and the Parliament of Venezuela and used formats that had not been implemented yet in parliamentary practice. We believe that we should do everything to contribute to the development of relations between our countries within the parliamentary dimension.

We see the ongoing development of relations, we see how much the heads of our states are doing for this. We see how they set the trends for the development. But what about the parliamentary contribution? What have we done for that?

We tried to discuss these and other issues within the framework of bilateral meetings and our communications. We came to the conclusion that the parliamentary dimension needed new forms of cooperation, especially when we saw their results. Earlier, we signed an agreement on the creation of a Commission with the first country in Latin America — Cuba. And we see that its results are obvious. And it has shown its effectiveness.

Today, we have held the first meeting of the Commission on cooperation with the Parliament of Nicaragua. And I would like to express my gratitude to our colleagues from this country, as they became the representatives of the second state, which used this format and have done it today.

We also see that there are many issues that we can address within the framework of inter-parliamentary cooperation. This will be our contribution to the development of relations between countries, which is dynamically increasing. During only five months of 2023, the trade turnover has increased 4.3 times.

This is a really good result when we build our relations on the principles of friendship, mutual respect, non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states and, of course, mutually beneficial cooperation.

Today we also plan to sign an agreement granting the State Duma a permanent observer status at the Central American Parliament. We will be the second parliament that participates in the PARLACEN activities and this Central American Parliament unites six Latin American countries.

For our part, we consider it to be right, and we also hope to consider this issue today if a high-level commission with PARLACEN is created and we can systematically work to build relations within the parliamentary dimension.

Colleagues, the decisions we adopted will help us use the parliamentary dimension more effectively, as it is a format, which will be an additional driver for the development of relations between our countries. You understand perfectly well that today’s conditions are special: we live in a situation where we face challenges every day.

Latin American countries have been facing such challenges for decades and have been fighting for their independence, for the right to plan their own future. Our country has been dealing with sanctions and trade wars for already 10 years. During this period of time, 17.5 thousand sanctions were imposed on our country.

But if you look at the results, then perhaps they are very interesting. Yes, of course, sanctions are bad. It is clear that the sanctions are aimed at halting the development of Russia and Latin American states, preventing the resolution of issues that our people are waiting for, and hindering the development of our economies. But in fact, if we talk about sanctions, of course, there should not be any sanctions at all.

But at the same time, the time we live in is a time of opportunities, and those who overcome the sanctions, become stronger, win. If you look at the list of world economies, the ranks of the states 10 years ago and the results of 2022 announced by the World Bank, we could compare with you the 2012 results and the 2022 results.

In 2012, the United States of America was the leading world economy. 10 years later, during the sanctions struggle and trade wars that the United States launched against Russia, China, Iran, and waged against Cuba, other Latin American countries, North Korea, the United States dropped to the second place. China is number one now. Definitely, these 10 years were not easy for our country: it was not easy to rebuild the economy, it was not easy to create those previously available services and resources that as we believed had been created for all countries of our world, whether we talk about payment systems or information systems. But, as it turned out, the United States of America used all of those things to achieve its goals and used it as a lever of political pressure. Therefore, we also had to do a lot and change ourselves. You can see the result: Russia was the sixth leading world economy, and now it is the fifth economy, overtaking Germany. Germany dropped to sixth place. England is number ten, France is number nine. Russia has become the largest European economy, and this is the result of the sanctions war, the sanctions policy launched by Washington and Brussels. Colleagues, that means that a lot depends on us.

Here, in this room, there is a person who said that at our meeting, and before that he had made a long journey to come here to Russia, this person is well known to everyone, I ask you to greet him – the President of the Parliament of Cuba, Comrade Lazo. Being a contemporary and ally of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, when we asked him if he was tired, as the journey was long, and before coming to Russia, Comrade Lazo visited France, Vietnam, Türkiye and only then came to Moscow, he simply replied: the most important thing is that the spirit of fight cannot get tired. As for physical fatigue, it does not matter.

Colleagues, I want these words to be used as the basis for us in our work — the work that politicians in every country must do if they want their state, their people to live happily in a sovereign state, to be able to plan their own future. We see how strong this spirit of fight is and we see it in every person in Cuba, because for more than 60 years the country has been living under numerous sanctions and enormous pressure. The Island of Freedom withstands them and defends its sovereignty, doing everything for Cuba’s life. This is a good example for us of how we should work, how we should fight, how we should love our country. And I hope that the capabilities of parliaments will give us [strength] so that we can develop not only relations between our countries, but also do everything possible to overcome sanctions, to build a multipolar world, to build a just world order, because it should not be like that when one country decides the future of the whole world, of all other states.

We are convinced that relations should be built on the principles of mutual respect, on the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, on the principles of mutually beneficial cooperation, and we should use it as a basis for our next meetings, holding conferences, signing agreements, holding commissions and looking for new forms of parliamentary dimension.

I propose to make the International Conference an annual event. We invite you to come to Moscow next year to discuss issues of the development of our relations, building a multipolar world and a just world order.

Thank you!”