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Thibaut Fourriere Finds Home in Petersburg

Published: January 22, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • Thibaut Fourriere is a career diplomat whose love of Russia started in childhood.
    Photo: for SPT

Thibaut Fourriere, Consul General of France in St. Petersburg, was appointed to his new post in August 2013. Russia, however, is far from unexplored territory for the 43-year-old. Fourriere has been working in the CIS for almost 20 years. He has also lived and worked in Moscow, has a Russian wife and speaks perfect Russian.

Fourriere sat down with The St. Petersburg Times in his office at the French Consulate over a cup of coffee that he prepared himself. He confessed that although the Russian language has changed his life, his interest in Russia came about by chance. He does not have any romantic stories in his background related to Russian relatives who were forced to flee to France after the Revolution of 1917. Fourriere acknowledged St. Petersburg as an attractive city for both business and daily life, talked about the difficulties facing the diplomat and acknowledged his happiness at being appointed to a post in the city. This interview was conducted in Russian.

Jennes de Mol: Russian Rock and Diplomacy

Q: You speak Russian very well. How did your interest in the language arise?

A: I think this interest developed by chance and, in part, thanks to my parents. I started to learn Russian as my third language when I was at school. At that time I could not even imagine how it would change my life. My parents never insisted that I should take an occupation they approved of. They gave me an opportunity to study and gave me a lot of support. When I started studying at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, my father, who was an officer with the French army, told me about a recruitment competition at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He advised me to apply since I spoke Russian. I was 17 then and didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future, I just knew that I would most likely work for my country. My father and grandfathers had all been in the military, so it was natural for me to think about becoming a civil servant. My father gave me some advice and I decided it would be an interesting job. After graduating from INALCO, I went on to receive a diploma from the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris and then joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was 25 at the time and my career in this field continues to this day.

Q: Why did you choose to study Russian as a young man? Was it unusual at the time?

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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