By Keryn Nelson

His Excellency Alexander Kurmaz is Russia’s new Ambassador to Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. Prior to his appointment on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Mr. Kurmaz served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Guyana.

His Excellency Alexander Kurmaz formerly served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Georgetown, Guyana, South America.
Since 1981, he has also completed diplomatic missions in Benin, India and Germany. From 2009-2017 however, Mr. Kurmaz operated as the Deputy Director of Department of European Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Photo by Damion C Jacob)

On day one – February 22, 2019 – of the St. George’s Club “Next Step” International Conference in Grenada, Mr. Kurmaz informed all in attendance of his plans to strengthen the Caribbean’s relationship with the Russian Federation.

“Russia’s purpose here is purely to build and create. Our interest is to see Latin America and the Caribbean in particular, politically united and economically stable.”

Detailing his intended focus going forward, Mr. Kurmaz explained:

“We want to establish full-scale projects, we want to pursue a partnership in areas such as oil and gas, and hydro and atomic energy.

“Sometimes, when people hear atomic, they think it is inaccessible. But … not only is it affordable, it is highly desired because its use in agriculture provides opportunities to help develop economies. Also, [it can be used to grow] 30% of crops, in any sphere; from vegetables to grains.”

Mr. Kurmaz says not only will the use of atomic energy be cost-effective, but it will provide an opportunity for CARICOM nations to be apart of more global, economic shifts and conversations.

“Russia is behind a vast number of proposals for every [type of] economy, from the smallest to the biggest. The CARICOM countries unfortunately just started negotiations on that,” he stated.

Speaking to aviation, Mr. Kurmaz also revealed:

“As you may know … only our machines are flying the Himalayas; more than one kilometer higher than all other machines in the world, [due to] technical perfection and other reasons. Here in the region, we propose more than 120 models of helicopters. Of-course it’s a high-tech operation… But if we start speaking today, or the day after or the day after, we will have the best helicopters here.”

One commonality the ambassador says exists between Russia and the Caribbean is that both are globally perceived as peaceful territories.

“Just like in North America and the Caribbean, we hope the region will preserve its status as a zone of peace and stability. We want to see unity and diversity thrive… as well as [the] successful execution of sustainable development programs.”

Nearing the end of his address, the ambassador again stressed Russia’s peaceful approach to diplomacy.

“[It] is simple; We do not incite confrontation, we do not create division and artificial barriers, we do not criticize our partners, we are offering a positive agenda,” he stated.

Speaking to the need for integration, Mr. Kurmaz declared:

“… In this united world of today, no country as big as Russia or as small as Grenada can develop on its own. Only united … around ideals and a common future, we could build up.”

The overall goal, he says, for strengthening diplomatic ties with Caribbean communities is;

“For smaller countries… launching steps to the Eurasian Union will bring extra, fantastic opportunities to raise the quality of life. And this goal, to increase the quality of life, is our final goal.”

The conference was co-organized by the Bering-Bellingshausen Institute.