Philippines–Russia relations

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Philippines–Russia relations
Map indicating locations of Philippines and Russia



Philippines–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-филиппинские отношения; Filipino: Ugnayang Pilipinas at Rusya) is the bilateral relationship between Russia and the Philippines. Both countries are full members of APEC.

Russia has an embassy in Manila. The Philippines has an embassy in Moscow, and two honorary consulates (in Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok).


Early History[edit]

Russia had been interested in developing ties with states in Southeast Asia as early as 19th century. The Russian Empire's interest in establishing relations with Southeast Asian countries stemmed from its need to ensure food and raw supply security in the Russian Far East as communication between the far eastern part of Russia and its European side is significantly difficult.[1]

Under Russian Emperor Alexander I, Russia's first diplomatic mission in Southeast Asia, specifically in Manila, was established

A strategy to "explore the Far East via India and the Philippines to establish trade links." was suggested to Peter the Great by the Siberia Governor Fydor I. Semyonov in 1722.[2]

In 1813, Russian Emperor Alexander I supported a plan created by Peter Dobell on trade and development with Southeast Asian states. Dobell was an Irish-born American businessman who resided in Southeast Asia. He was the first to initiate the promotion of relations with the Russian Far East, particularly the Kamchatka peninsula region. Russia finally decided to establish its first diplomatic mission in Southeast Asia in 1817 - a Consulate General in Manila. Peter Dobell became a naturalized citizen and took the name Petr Vasilievich Dobel and was appointed as the Consul General in the Philippines.[1]

Establishing a formal Russian diplomatic mission was not easy as hoped because Spain's colonial government refused to recognize the Russian mission in Manila. However, a compromise was reached with Petr Valsilievich Dobel being allowed to stay and act in Manila as an unofficial representative of Russia in the Philippines.[1]

The Consulate General began operations at the end of the 19th century, but it was not run by the Russians but rather by mostly French merchants also known as "freelance consuls". This type of Consulate operations continued until 1917.[1]

Cold War era[edit]

The Russian Empire became the Soviet Union after the October Revolution and contacts between Soviet Russia and the Philippines were maintained through Comintern, Profintern and the Communist Party of the United States (The Philippines was then a colony of the United States). Due to the restrictive policy of the American colonial administration of the Philippines against Communists, the relations between the Philippines and the Soviet Union gradually waned.[1]

The diplomatic ties of the Philippines and the Soviet Union was reinitiated by President Ferdinand Marcos' Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr. and his then Aide-de-camp Major Jose T. Almonte through the help of Professor Ajit Singh Rye of the Institute of Asian Studies in the University of the Philippines.[3]

It was through Professor Rye that Secretary Melchor and Major Almonte were able to pave way for an endorsement to Indira Gandhi for a dialogue with Moscow. At the time, the Philippines had been considered the United States' strongest ally in Southeast Asia and a reliable partner during the Cold War. However, President Marcos' administration believed that the United States was going to lose in Vietnam, and thus saw the need to establish ties with the "enemy."[3]

With one visit to New Delhi in 1975, Major Almonte met with the Ambassador of the USSR, which then led to a flight by Secretary Melchor and Major Almonte to the Kremlin where they were received as state guests.[3] This meeting led to the creation of formal ties between the Philippines and the USSR in 1976.

In 1980, President Ferdinand Marcos with his wife Imelda Marcos met Yuri Andropov's Acting Chairman of the Presidium of the Soviet Union Vasily Kuznetsov during a conference meeting in Moscow.

In 1988-89, President Corazon Aquino, President Mikhail Gorbachev, and President Ronald Reagan all met together.[citation needed]

After the collapse of the Soviet Union[edit]

When the dissolution of the Soviet Union was formalized on December 26, 1991, the Philippines formally recognized the Russian Federation, the Soviet state's successor, on December 28, 1991.[1]

Economic relations[edit]

Former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg for the 2009 International Economic Forum.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines during the APEC summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, November 10, 2017

Filipino economic migrants began to flock to Russia in the early 2000s. In 2004, 2,010 Filipino nationals are registered to be staying in Russia. In 2013, the number of Filipinos in Russia increased to 4,335 according to statistics from the Commission of Filipinos Overseas. However it is estimated by the government body that there are about 8,000 Filipinos in Russia when illegal immigrants are taken into account. 93 percent of Filipinos in Russia are in Moscow. Many Overseas Filipino Workers in Russia has professional training but most of them work in the household service sector as cleaners, cooks, drivers and nannies.[4]

Due to a sharp increase in the number of Filipino nationals being sought to work in private homes throughout Russia, the Philippine Government has deemed it necessary to impose new requirements on the direct hiring of Filipino housekeepers and nannies in Russia in order to secure their well-being through placement in qualified households as well as ensure the engagement of only competent staff.[5]

Security relations[edit]

Russia is interested in selling surface-to-air missile system to the Philippines.[6] In December 2016, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines is interested in purchasing drones and sniper rifles from Russia to modernize the former's military program.[7]

On 3–7 January 2016, two Russian Navy ships – the Udaloy-class destroyer Admiral Tributs and the Boris Chilikin-class fleet oiler Boris Butoma of the Pacific Fleet – docked at the Manila South Harbor for a goodwill tour aimed at bolstering Philippines–Russia relations, especially in security.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Russian-Philippines Relations". Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines. 
  2. ^ F. Landa Jocano (1988). Philippines-USSR Relations: (a Study in Foreign Policy Development). NDCP Foundation. p. 5. 
  3. ^ a b c "The unseen Indian hand in Manila's Moscow diplomacy". 21 August 2006. 
  4. ^ Hartog, Eva (13 November 2015). "Moscow's Filipino Domestic Staff: No Longer An Expat Preserve". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Notice To Prospective Employers Of Filipino Household Workers, Embassy of the Philippines in the Russian federation, archived from the original on March 23, 2008, retrieved 2008-10-25 
  6. ^ Biag, Samuel (19 July 2014). "Russia looking to supply PH with radar and missile systems". Ang Malaya Net. 
  7. ^ Laude, Jaime (31 December 2016). "Russia offers sub, drones to Phl". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "Goodwill visit by 2 Russian Navy ships in Manila". Associated Press. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via The Indian Express. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic missions[edit]