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 55th anniversary in 2020, the rest of the RCSCs are its branches.
The activity of 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 in 1993 and the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Russia and India signed in 2010.
The Representative Office is aimed at forming a fair image of modern Russia abroad, its economic and intellectual potential, domestic and foreign policy.
The Representative Office works with Russian and Indian non-profit, governmental, non-governmental and religious organizations and institutions in academic, cultural, information and humanitarian fields. The Representative Office actively uses all the potential of public diplomacy in cooperation with the civic institutions of India.
The introduction of Indian society to the external policy of Russia is an important part of the informational work of the Representative Office and its branches. In this regard delivering major international events with the participation of prominent politicians and public policy figures, military persons and scientists from Russia and other countries is a significant part of work of the Representative Office. 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. Major public events dedicated to the Victory Day, the Russia-India diplomatic relations establishment anniversary as well as events 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 Russian studies position is strengthened through expanding the syllabus of the Russian language course at the RCSC with regard to the participants’ interests, through developing cooperation with local educational institutions. The Representative Office is actively involved in the organization of international conferences, professional development trainings and contests for teachers 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, only two Russian specialists of the RCSC in Trivandrum are enough 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 assistance of the Representative Office is increasing. The number of admissions of Indian students sent for studies to Russia sponsored by federal budget with 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. In May, the RCSC and partner organizations hoste the annual fair of Russian higher educational institutions with the participation of 10-15 Russian higher educational institutions' representatives. The Russian Center for International Education works on a permanent basis at the RCSC in New Delhi and Chennai, spreading information about Russian higher educational institutions as well as advantages of Russian education.
The Representative Office's aim is to perceive further strengthening of relations with compatriots residing in India as well as to assist 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, attend the Russian language courses. The Representative Office comprehensively 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 festive and memorable dates. August 2010 witnessed active participation of the Representative Office in New Delhi in IV Conference of Russian Compatriots of the Asian-Pacific Region. 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 a Coordination Council to enhance interaction between Russian compatriots in India. In February 2020 the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) in New Delhi hosted the XIV Regional Conference of Organizations of the Russian compatriots of Asian countries.
The Representative Office’s cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church promotes maintenance of national and cultural identity of Russian compatriots in India, their connection with the homeland as well as spreading information on the spiritual values of Russian people in India. The RCSC on a regular basis hosts meetings and regional conferences of the Russian compatriots with participation of the Archpriest of St. Thomas the Apostle parish (New Delhi) Father Dmitriy.
All 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. A unique event of India's capital cultural life in 2010 was the exhibition of Russian art of XIX – XX centuries “Russian Winter” from the State Russian Museum collection (St.Petersburg). The only one in history of Russia-India cultural relation exhibition commemorated the 45th anniversary of the RCSC in New Delhi. The exhibition performed original works of Boris Kustodiev, Alexey Savrasov, Konstantin Makovsky, Petre Gruzinski, Igor Grabar and other Russian masters.
In 2007, the Representative Office and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in association with VK “Sovexportfilm” succeeded in returning Russian cinema to India. April 2007 witnesed the first (after 1991) full-featured Russian film festival with participation of the national cinema stars. The festival commemorated the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment between our countries. After almost a 20 year gap Russian film festivals returned to India and became an annual event in New Delhi and other major cities of the country.
Moving towards the development of relations between Russia and the CIS countries, in August 2010, the Representative Office started the annual international film festival “Druzhba” (“Friendship), with both India and the CIS countries participantion.
Creative schools, clubs, art groups, hobby clubs operate in all RCSCs and contribute to spreading information about Russia and its cultural values in India. The School of Russian Classical Ballet, Botvinnik Chess Academy, Alekhin Chess School, S. Eisenstein Film Club, Russian language lovers club, art schools, vocal and piano classes enjoy the maximum popularity.
Forming local audience’s interest to our country’s achievements in 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. The Representative Office contributes to enhance twin-city relations between Moscow and Delhi, Saint-Petersburg and Mumbai, Volgograd and Chennai as well as to invite Russian regions including Stavropolskiy region and the Altai Territory to bilateral cooperation.
Working with the youth is also one of key areas of the Representative Office’s activities. 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”.