The Russian Ambassador to Ireland speaks to SOFIA
His Excellency Mr. Maxim Peshkov
His Excellency Maxim Peshkov, flanked by Chief of Protocol, Artur Pankov, and Second Secretary, Vasily Velichkin, addressed SOFIA during Week 3 and provided members with a fresh perspective on international affairs that is generally not provided by Irish or Western media. The Russian Ambassador to Ireland opened the event with a short overview of Hiberno-Russian relations and his major areas of concern as a representative of Ireland in Russia.
He also touched on his early diplomatic career working in Afghanistan. The floor was duly opened to questions, with students raising issues such as: LGBTQ rights in Russia, relations with the US and EU, the fight against terrorism in Syria and even the comparison between President Michael D. Higgins and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Notably, and via Twitter, the role of the Russian government in protecting the rights of indigenous groups in Russia was questioned, to which H.E. Peshkov replied “The attitude is the same toward all groups. We don't have any division on the basis of nationality, religion or sex. They are equal.”