Letter: From Russia with gratitude

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The Independent Online
Sir: Against a background of macro- and micro-economic assistance to the radical reforms in Russia, which is being provided by governments of foreign countries, including Britain, and by international financial institutions, I would like to highlight the concrete humanitarian actions by individuals, groups and organisations. These assist Russian citizens on a goodwill basis in such vital areas as health care and education. I am proud to say that my embassy efficiently co-operates with them and renders all possible assistance.

I can assure you that people in Russia who receive this assistance do appreciate sincere willingness to help in this difficult but challenging time for my country. There can be no satisfaction or dissatisfaction here, simply gratitude. Goodwill and small deeds which make up great achievements; that is what matters.

Sometimes these humanitarian actions take interesting forms. For example, on 31 March 1993, a charity auction was held at the premises of the embassy for fund-raising purposes to provide scholarships for Russian students and trainees to study at Tel Aviv University. The auction was organised by the London-based Tel Aviv University Trust and Sotheby's. More than pounds 100,000 was raised.

Our embassy was also instrumental in assisting fund-raising activities for the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation by the London Symphony Orchestra. The money raised during the charity concert will be used for children's health care in Moscow and St Petersburg. Recently, a part of this programme became a reality when Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich handed over to the Russian health authorities a sophisticated mobile medical unit.

On 3 June 1993, in co-operation with Children of Europe Fund, an evening reception in aid of Russian orphans was held at the Russian Embassy to raise money for creating a new five-year plan to bring relief to the needy children in Russia. The first step of this project will be to bring a group of 50 orphans to spend three weeks as part of British families, forming lasting links of friendship. Other aspects of this planned on-going project will include training of orphanage staff, and provision of vocational and sheltered training for young people.

Yours faithfully,

BORIS D. PANKIN

Ambassador of the Russian Federation

London, W8

8 June

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