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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

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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