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New Zealand - Russia Relations - Page 6
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The second main responsibility of the Embassy was representation to the Soviet authorities of New Zealand views in a way that ensured that they were heard.  The Embassy was expected to make a sustained effort over a long period to develop relations with the Soviet Union in various fields and to use the contacts established in one field to further New Zealand’s interests in another.

It was also noted that the establishment of the Embassy would be no substitute for visits to the Soviet Union by New Zealand Ministers and officials.  On the contrary, it was expected to stimulate such contacts.  It was acknowledged, however, that such visits were not a substitute for the establishment of the Embassy.  The value of high-level visits, especially to a capital such as Moscow, would depend largely on the way the ground was prepared and the way in which visits were followed up afterwards.  For this, it was argued, a permanent representation in Moscow was essential.

In 1973 New Zealand and Russia agreed that the Soviet Legation in Wellington should become a full Embassy, and that New Zealand would re-open a mission in Moscow.  Events then moved relatively swiftly.  A key early task was the selection of premises for the New Zealand Embassy.  In April 1973 the senior New Zealand official who visited Moscow to examine options for a new Residence, Chancery and staff accommodation, reported to Wellington on the building that had been selected to be the future New Zealand Embassy and Residence combined:

“Building offered by UPDK as combined chancery and residence is situated in centre of Moscow at the corner of Vorovskovo and Skatertny streets.  The former residence of the Swedish Ambassador it was built in 1904.  It is of spacious design with high ceilings and immensely thick stone walls; it is in good condition at least compared with other possibilities offered… The building is free standing with small lawn and good parking.  With alterations it will provide appropriate accommodation for the Ambassador and the chancery… It appears to have modern heating system and new electrical wiring.  The heated garage (essential in winter) has space for at least five cars… Disadvantages include the somewhat vulgar taste of the exterior of the building although it is less vulgar and ornate than the Australian Embassy and many others. It does require some alterations to convert but no major reconstruction is involved…”


Russia - New Zealand History

We are having long lambskin coats made with outer surface of Gabardine. A good warm cloth overcoat is also recommended by Australian Legation which advises in addition, furlined coat. We have not examined cost of latter but have been informed by a local resident previously living in Russia that they are “de rigueur” for official classes, sheepskin coats being associated with peasantry…Fur caps and furlined gloves are recommended. Top hats are not being taken.
What a country in which the occurrence of queues outside shops is a sign of improving conditions.
It is the most wonderful springtime, the tenderest green on the trees. As always in Moscow, the spring is so fresh, it seems to be happening for the first time.
The Russian language is like a sack pulled over the head of the wretched foreigner. Those like Ruth Macky and me, who have cut an eyehole or two in the sack, have to lead by the hand those who are still living in the darkness. Curious, but the one who shows most promise of all the beginners is Mrs Boswell. For myself I reckon I’ll know Russian well in ten years’ time. It really is a monster of a tongue. Paddy Costello, New Zealand diplomat and linguist, Moscow, 1944

Stuart Prior, Honorary Consul for Belarus in New Zealand

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