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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

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.