Speech lets Russia come in from cold

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The Independent Online
THE QUEEN sealed Britain's reconciliation with Russia last night by making a tactful speech in the Kremlin about 'complicated history' being left behind and prospects for partnership opening up, writes Helen Womack.

Addressing Russia's political elite at a banquet in the ornate Faceted Hall, the Queen avoided all mention of the Bolshevik murder of her Tsarist relatives, which had made it impossible for her to come to Moscow before now, and spoke only in the most general terms about past tension between Britain and the old Soviet Union.

'We shall not succeed (in building a better future) by forgetting the lessons of the past,' she said.

'There have, of course, been many times in the past when Russia and Britain seemed to live in different worlds. But now the future lies in partnership.'

And that was it.

Russia is, however, taking the Queen's visit as evidence that the killing of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918 has finally been forgiven and as Britain's endorsement of the country's new democratic reforms.

''The Queen would not have come to a totalitarian country,' said President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov.

'I think it is a great plus for Boris Nikolayevich. He is very satisfied. He sees it as a historical recognition that Russia has changed.'