The Representative Office of Rossotrudnichestvo in India unites five Russian Centers of Science and Culture (RCSC) in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Trivandrum. The main representative office of Rossotrudnichestvo is situated in the RCSC in New Delhi, which celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2010, the rest of the RCSCs are its branches.
In its activities, the Representative Office is governed by the legislation of the Russian Federation, as well as by the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation between Russia and India, signed in1993, and the Declaration on Russia India Strategic Partnership, signed in 2010.
The activities of the Representative Office are directed at the forming of a fair image of modern Russia abroad, of its economic and intellectual potential, of the subject matter of domestic and foreign policy course of the country.
The Representative Office works with the Russian non-profit, non-governmental and religious organizations, as well as government and non-governmental institutions of India in the academic, cultural, information and humanitarian field. The Representative Office actively cooperates with the civic institutions of India, utilizing the potential of public diplomacy.
The activities aimed at introduction of Indian society to the external policy of Russia are among the uppermost in the information work of the Representative Office and its branches. Delivering major international events with the participation of prominent politicians and public policy figures, military persons and scientists from Russia and other countries is significant work form in this regard. For example, in March 2010, the Kolkata RCSC participated in organizing an online conference with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin, who was on his working visit in India. The conference connected expert audience from the financial hub of India – Mumbai, the electronic industry hub – Bangalore, and the cultural hub of the country – Kolkata. THE major public events dedicated to the Victory Day, the anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and India as well as events concerned with topics related to political and economic situation in Russia, global security, development of global institutions, such as the UN and BRIC, are held on a regular basis.
Seeing to the promotion of the Russian language, the Representative Office encourages development of Indian centers of Russian studies as well as fosters admission of Indian students to Russian higher educational institutions. The position of Russian studies is strengthened through expanding the syllabus of the Russian language course at the RCSC keeping in mind the participants’ interests, through developing cooperation with local educational institutions and “Russkiy Mir” Foundation. The Representative Office is actively involved in the organization of international conferences, professional development training and contests for teachers-specialists in Russian philology. In March 2010, the Representative Office launched an interactive video course in Kerala, whose broadcast is provided by the Indian Government satellite “Edusat”. Owing to the new technology, just two Russian specialists of the RCSC in Trivandrum are able to reach out to almost two hundred students from 14 regions of Kerala. The development of distance video courses is in progress in Chennai and New Delhi. The number of centers of Russian language studies, launched with the assistance of the Representative Office, is increasing. The number of admissions of Indian students, sent for studies to Russia, sponsored by federal budget, as well as the number of students of Indian schools attending summer language camp “Moskovia” with the assistance of the RCSC increases every year.
All the RCSCs facilitate admission of foreign students to the Russian higher educational institutions and keep in touch with their alumni. The annual fair of Russian higher educational institutions is hosted by RCSC and partner organizations in May, with the participation of representatives of 10-15 Russian higher educational institutions. The Russian Center for International Education works on a permanent basis at the RCSC in New Delhi and Chennai, spreading information about higher educational institutions of Russia and advantages of Russian education.
The Representative Office perceives, as its aims, further strengthening of relations with compatriots residing in India and assistance to their efforts in extending cultural, scientific and business cooperation with Russia. Our compatriots have an opportunity to access libraries and video libraries of the RCSC, participate in club activities, to attend the Russian language courses. The Representative Office, in a comprehensive way, supports the Delhi Association of Russian compatriots, based in the RCSC in New Delhi, as well as clubs and associations of the compatriots in Chennai and Mumbai. The RCSCs provide assistance to the compatriot associations in organizing events dedicated to Russian festivals and memorable dates. With active participation of the Representative Office, IV Conference of Russian Compatriots of the Asian-Pacific Region was held in New Delhi in August 2010. In August 2011, at the First All-India Conference of Russian Compatriots in New Delhi, representatives of Compatriots’ organizations from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata elected the Coordination Council to enhance interaction between Russian compatriots in India.
The Representative Office’s cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church promotes the maintenance of national and cultural identity of the Russian compatriots in India, their connection with the homeland, as well as spreading information on the spiritual values of peoples of Russia in India. The meetings and regional conferences of the Russian compatriots with the participation of the Archpriest of St. Thomas the Apostle parish (New Delhi) Father Gennadiy (Moroz) are held on a regular basis in the RCSC.
The Russian Centers of Science and Culture hold music festivals, film shows, art and photo exhibitions, as well as organize performances of Russian folk groups and renowned artists. One-off event of the cultural life of the capital of India in 2010 was the exhibition of Russian art of XIX – XX centuries “Russian Winter” from the State Russian Museum collection (St.Petersburg), commemorating the 45th anniversary of the RCSC in New Delhi, the only one on the history of Russia-India cultural relations. The original works of Boris Kustodiev, Alexey Savrasov, Konstantin Makovsky, PetreGruzinski, Igor Grabar, and other Russian masters were displayed there.
In 2007, the Representative Office and the Embassy of the Russian Federation, in association with VK “Sovexportfilm” succeeded in returning Russian cinema to India. The first (after 1991) full-featured Russian film festival with the participation of the star artists of the national cinema was held in April 2007, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. After almost a 20 year gap, Russian film festivals once again started being held annually in New Delhi and other major cities of India.
Moving towards the development of relations between Russia and other countries of CIS, in August 2010 the Representative Office started the annual international film festival “Druzhba” (“Friendship), where CIS countries and India participate.
Creative schools, clubs, art groups, hobby clubs operating in all RCSC contribute heavily to spreading information on Russia and values of Russian culture in India. The School of Russian Classical Ballet, Botvinnik Chess Academy, Alekhin Chess School, S. Eisenstein Film Club, youth literary club “Rifma” (“Rhyme”), Russian language lovers club, art schools, vocal and piano classes enjoy the maximum popularity.
Forming local audience’s interest in our country’s achievements in the area of science and high technologies, as well as developing business cooperation between Russia and India is an important aspect of work of the Representative Office. The 50th anniversary of Yury Gagarin’s space flight, 300th birth anniversary of Mikhail Lomonosov, opening of the Centre of Innovations “Skolkovo” have become an incentive to more active work in this direction. Attention of the Representative Office given to the utilization of twin-city relations between Moscow and Delhi, Saint-Petersburg and Mumbai, Volgograd and Chennai, as well to inviting Russian regions, including Stavropolskiy region and the Altai Territory to bilateral cooperation, is growing.
Working with the youth is also one of key areas of the Representative Office’s activities. Every month, the RCSC in New Delhi, organizes sessions of youth literary club “Rifma” where students of Delhi higher education institutions familiarize themselves with Russian literature and basics of literary translation from Russian language into Hindi. The RCSC has been more active in organizing youth forums, debates and cultural programmes in the leading higher educational institutions of India. Quizzes for school and college students on Russian culture, history and scientific achievements have become an important form of work. The First all-India online quiz on history of Great Patriotic War with the participation of around five hundred school and college students from all over the country was organized in 2010.
Russia and India have been strategic partners for more than ten years. The intensity of Russia-India cooperation which has been developing steadily and constructively is passed onto the Representative Office and makes it move towards the latest trends in bilateral relationship, which can be now characterized as “privileged strategic partnership”.