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Iceland president’s Russian skills a show-stopper at Arctic forum (VIDEO)

Iceland president’s Russian skills a show-stopper at Arctic forum (VIDEO)
The president of Iceland got a long round of applause at the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg as he addressed the guests in good Russian to underline the value of friendship.

“I don’t speak good Russian. Please excuse me,” Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson said as he took the stage. But he was just being modest, as his speech impressed the native speakers with near-perfect grammar and decent pronunciation.

“I studied [Russian] many years ago. I’ve forgotten almost everything. But this is what I remember and can say – and that’s what I want to say."

There’s nothing more precious on this Earth than real friendship. Thank you very much.

The applause Johannesson got from the high-ranking guests was long and sincere.

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The 50-year-old had an impressive academic career before being elected president of Iceland in 2016. He worked and studied in several universities at home, in Germany, and the UK, getting a PhD in history from Queen Mary University of London in 2003.

Among the things Johannesson studied during those years was Russian, and he obviously wasn't phoning it in.

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