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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 didnt 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, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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