“Russia and Brazil: A friendship that has withstood the test of time”. Celebrating 195 years of diplomatic relations. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article

11:57 12.10.2023 • Sergey Lavrov , Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

On October 3, our two nations marked the 195th anniversary of diplomatic relations which is a significant milestone in our shared history. This notable anniversary offers an excellent opportunity to reflect on the path we have travelled, to identify the most pressing areas of the Russia-Brazil strategic partnership, and to endeavour to look beyond the horizon.

Throughout the years, our bilateral relations have gone through various phases. Yet, the mutual affection and our shared interest in each other's traditions and cultures have remained unwavering and contributed to the strengthening of our friendship.

The first encounter between Russians and the distinctive nation of Brazil took place in the early 19th century when diplomat and scholar Grigory Langsdorff led a Russian research expedition to study Brazil's flora and fauna. The materials collected during this expedition were recognised as a significant scientific achievement at the time and remain of genuine interest to anthropologists, ethnographers, zoologists and botanists, as well as science and art historians.

Bilateral cooperation was formalised in 1828 when Emperor Nicholas I issued a decree appointing an extraordinary envoy and plenipotentiary minister of Russia to Brazil. This decision marked the beginning of a new era not only in the history of Russia-Brazil relations but also in Russia's engagement with Latin America as a whole. Brazil was the first country in the region to establish diplomatic relations with Russia.

In the 20th century, our nations stood shoulder to shoulder in the heroic battle against Nazism. Of all the 20 Latin American countries that formed the Allied coalition, Brazil was the only country that sent its troops as part of the Expeditionary Corps to the European theatre of war, specifically Italy. We treasure the memory of our brotherhood in arms in the name of our shared victory. Our respective veterans' organisations maintain strong ties.

Today, relying on the existing capital of friendship and mutual trust, we continue to focus on strengthening the constructive and forward-looking partnership between Russia and Brazil. This partnership stands as a top priority in Russia's updated Foreign Policy Concept. We see our relationship as an example of harmonious and constructive collaboration built on sovereign equality, mutual respect, and an unwavering consideration of each other's interests. Our collaboration is immune to the vagaries of international affairs.

Reinforcing the framework for interaction through key bilateral mechanisms is among our shared objectives. This includes the High-Level Commission for Cooperation headed by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and the Vice President of Brazil, the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, and the Commission for Political Affairs.

We maintain an ongoing dialogue across ministries and agencies, including diplomatic services. We encourage exchanges at the inter-party and inter-parliamentary levels. A representative Brazilian delegation participated in the Russia-Latin America International Parliamentary Conference which took place in Moscow from September 29 to October 2.

We remain steadfastly committed to improving the bilateral legal foundation that is comprised of more than 60 documents, among which the fundamental Treaty of Partnership between the Russian Federation and the Federative Republic of Brazil dated June 22, 2000.

Our countries strive to foster a mutually beneficial trade and economic partnership. Since 2010, Brazil has consistently held the position of our primary trading partner in Latin America. This collaboration spans various sectors, among them are the chemical industry, agriculture, energy, including nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, and space exploration. Russia supplies mineral fertiliser to Brazil's agro-industrial complex, which helps maintain global food security.

There is substantial untapped potential in our practical bilateral cooperation. To harness it, both our nations are diligently working to diversify trade, expand collaboration in high-tech and science-intensive areas, increase investment relationships, and facilitate direct contacts between business communities. In this context, the Russia-Brazil Business Council has a major role to play.

We have made considerable progress in promoting region-to-region cooperation, including the establishment of sister-city relationships. The experiences of Moscow, St Petersburg, and Tatarstan, which are leading the way in collaboration with Brazilian regions, are particularly valuable. We are committed to expanding such initiatives.

We attach great importance to enhancing cultural and humanitarian exchanges between Russia and Brazil. Since 2000, our flagship project, the world’s only Bolshoi Theatre foreign school, has been successfully operating in Joinville, Santa Catarina. This institution carries out a crucial educational and social mission, with its primary focus on introducing children from low-income families to the world of art. Graduates of this school are making their mark in leading ballet companies worldwide.

We appreciate Brazil's continued interest in expanding cooperation in education and ramping up academic exchanges. In 2022, the first Russian-Brazilian intercultural bilingual school opened in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The demand among Brazilian youth for attending Russian universities remains strong, and Russia is meeting this demand by offering government scholarships.

Russia and Brazil regularly host festivals showcasing music, theatre, and cinema featuring artists from both countries. This applies to sporting events as well.

Of particular note are our close and longstanding ties in football. Passion for football unites our nations, as was made evident again when Brazil and Russia hosted the FIFA World Cups in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Our fans consistently show genuine camaraderie for each other.  Numerous Brazilian football talents are playing for various Russian clubs. Notably, this Russian-Brazilian football friendship was established by renowned world football icons Lev Yashin and Pelé, who maintained warm relations over many years.

With regard to diplomacy and international relations, we hold Brazil's responsible and independent foreign policy in high regard. Brazil's emphasis on democratising global governance institutions and increasing the role of developing countries within them aligns with our shared aspiration to build a more equitable multipolar international order grounded in the principles of the UN Charter and respect for the diverse cultures and civilisations of the world.

We note the traditionally close cooperation between our countries within the UN and its Security Council. Brazil has been acting as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2022-2023, and serves as its president this October. Keeping in mind Brazil’s high standing and influence on the international arena and the fact that it consistently seeks collective solutions to global challenges and threats, we view Brazil as a natural candidate for a permanent seat on a reformed UN Security Council.

We hold the existing level of cooperation within the BRICS group in high regard and are determined to reinforce it during Russia's chairmanship in 2024. We are united with our Brazilian counterparts in seeking to reinforce BRICS' role as a pillar of the multipolar architecture. Particular attention is devoted to fulfilling the potential of the New Development Bank (NDB) which was established to implement infrastructure projects in member countries. Russia is committed to working closely with the current NDB President and former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

We are satisfied with the extent of cooperation within the G20 framework and endorse Brazil's priorities for its 2024 presidency. These priorities encompass fighting poverty, hunger, and inequality, advancing sustainable development, and reforming international institutions. We extend our best wishes for the success of our Brazilian partners as they lead this multilateral mechanism during their first presidency.

We value Brazil's balanced stance on the Ukraine crisis and appreciate President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's efforts to contribute to a settlement.

The long-standing friendship and productive collaboration between Russia and Brazil leaves no room for doubt that our relationship has withstood the test of time. We look to the future with optimism and remain committed to working closely with our Brazilian friends to strengthen our ties across the board for the benefit of our nations, international security, and development.


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