Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov chairs a meeting of the Organising Committee for the Year of Russian Language in China and the Year of Chinese Language in Russia
17 february 2010
Members of the Organising Committee,
Today we are holding the second meeting of the Organising Committee.
I think it would be proper if we devoted the first part to reviewing the results of the Year of Russian Language in China in 2009 before discussing the tasks arising from the Executive Order of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev of December 18, 2008 connected with the holding of the Year of Chinese Language in the Russian Federation in 2010. We will exchange opinions on the participation of Russia in the events of the Year.
I can safely say that the Year of Russian Language in China has been a great success, as attested to by the numerous positive comments by our Chinese colleagues with whom we have met under the auspices of this event, the favourable comments of the mass media and those directly involved in the activities of the Year on both sides.
More than 200 events were held as part of the Year of Russian Language in China. According to preliminary data from the Education Ministry of the PRC, about 100 million people took part in the events of the Year. Thus, in terms of scale and coverage the Year of Russian Language has used the positive experience of earlier national Years, and has become an important element in bilateral humanitarian cooperation in 2009.
About 10,000 people took part in the official opening and closing ceremonies of the Year and more than 100 million Chinese citizens watched live broadcasts on Central Television.
It is notable that various Russian regions have also been involved in the Year of Russian Language in China. As part of interregional Russian-Chinese exchanges, Russian Language Weeks were organised by the administrations of the border regions of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the authorities of Chinese provinces. The opening by the Russky Mir Fundation of Russia Centres was an important new initiative during the Year of Russian Language. Local Russian organisations have contributed to the Year.
The events of the Year of Russian Language in China were widely covered by the Russian and Chinese media.
The leaders of both countries paid considerable attention to this important event. The heads of the Russian and Chinese governments have exchanged telegrams of greetings on the occasion of the opening of the Year of Russian Language in China and attended its closing ceremony. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin personally presented commemorative medals to the winners of the Russian song contest and to six Chinese Russian language professors who made significant contributions to the development of the programme.
It can be said that the Year of Russian Language in China promoted relations overall between the Russian and Chinese scientific and cultural communities and enriched the cultural and humanitarian aspect of bilateral relations. These events provided a platform for a broad exchange of opinions between the representatives of the Russian and Chinese public, and contributed to fostering a positive image of Russia in China.
During the 10th session of the Russian-Chinese Humanitarian Cooperation Commission in Dalian in October, 2009, Russia and China expressed the unanimous opinion that the Year of Russian Language in China, after the successful national Years of Russia and China, marks another milestone in the history of bilateral relations which have continued to develop for over 60 years.
I think the Russian Foreign Ministry will review the political results of the programme today, but I would like to note that I personally was impressed by the huge number of Chinese participants in these events (for example, more than a million people, from children to older people, took part in the contest for the best performance of Russian songs).
Our Chinese partners also note the diversity and rich content of the events, which further strengthened the social foundation of Russian-Chinese relations and good-neighbourliness, friendship and mutual understanding.
Of course we welcome the positive results of the Year of Russian Language in China, and Dmitry Medvedev has been briefed on them.
In this connection I would like to thank the members of the Organising Committee for being directly involved in the activities of the Year of Russian Language, including the opening and closing ceremonies in Beijing, and for the assistance they have rendered locally.
That said, this is no time to relax, because we now face new tasks: to ensure a successful Year of Chinese Language in our country.
The challenges are at least as big. But they must be met if we are to achieve a satisfactory result.
To this end I believe that we should, above all, continue the productive interaction with our partners and coordinate joint efforts in carrying out the activities of the Year of Chinese Language in Russia.
Of course the extent of the study of the Chinese language in Russia is not quite the same as the extent the Russian language is studied in China: in China 250,000 people study Russian, in this country 25,000 people study Chinese. But we can and must make sure that high quality events demonstrate Russia's respect for the official language of our great neighbour. I think we can rise to this challenge.
In preparing and holding the Year of Chinese Language it is necessary to draw on the Year's positive experience in China. Our partners confirm this.
The Organising Committee needs to concentrate on ensuring Russian participation in this programme in 2010 in accordance with the adopted joint plan.
I am convinced that the Year of Chinese Language in Russia will also be a milestone in the cultural life of the peoples of both countries, and will have an enduring impact on the further development of bilateral cooperation between Russia and China in the humanitarian sphere.