Kremlin,Moscow,November 27, 2009
The President’s message said, in particular:
“This joyous celebration with its roots reaching back deep in time unites people around the values of true Islam – the values of peace, compassion and goodness. As the culmination of the hajj, the holy pilgrimage, Kurban Bairam symbolises spiritual rebirth, strengthens people’s faith in justice and teaches people to care for their loved ones and look after the needy.
Russia’s Muslim community does much today to help develop dialogue between the different religions and preserve our country’s cultural diversity. I am sure that, drawing on the best traditions of good neighbourliness and mutual respect, you will continue to help our homeland prosper and flourish.”
Congratulations - Director F.M.Mukhametshin on your important appointment
May you all be blessed in this great endeavor !
Sep.6, 2008 - Rossotrudnichestvo, The Federal Agency for CIS Affairs was established by Presidential degree.
In Oct 2008 FM Mukhametshin,Russia's former Ambassador to Uzbekistan is appointed the head of the new organization.
ITAR-TASS 122: MOSCOW, RUSSIA. MAY 25, 2009. President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev meets with Farit Mukhametshin, Director of the Federal Agency for Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) and Special Presidential Representative for Relations with the CIS, at the Kremlin.
On June 17, shortly after F.M. Mukhametshin’s meeting with the RF President last May, the heads of the representative offices and friendship societies got together at the “Russkoye Zarubezhye” (“Russia Abroad”) library. It is these people, real professionals of “people’s diplomacy,” who have dedicated dozens years of their lives to studying the languages and cultures of their neighbors on the planet, are the guardians of good traditions of VOKS, SSOD, Roszarubezhcenter, and friendship societies; it was they who helped residents of different countries across the globe to get familiar with Russian literature and music, study Russian and helped those, who had left their native country for various reasons, keep up ties with their Motherland in both Soviet and post-Soviet times. They waited for statements about how much their work was needed, they also waited for the pledge to bring back decent funding to “soft power” and for an expression of respect for them from the highest power echelons.
What they heard could not only inspire their optimism. Already in his opening remarks F. M. Mukhametshin quoted the President of Russia as saying at the meeting on May 25 that “the establishment of the Agency was prompted by the need for carrying out more serious and more organized work designed to strengthen and develop the Community of Independent States.” He also stressed that Rossotrudnichestvo must turn into a channel of communication with other countries, serve as an effective means of inter-civilizational dialog and become therefore a vital tool of this country’s foreign policy. The head of Rossotrudnichestvo called the Agency’s systemic activities, a rethinking of its activities, and the development of fresh, innovative approaches taking into account the realities of the rapidly changing world a priority task facing the whole of the staff. In accordance with a long-term plan envisaging the opening of the Agency’s Russian science and culture centers, such centers must have been set up in more than 100 countries by 2020.
On behalf of Foreign Minister S.V. Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia A.V. Yakovenko called “the strengthening of the integration structures in the CIS space, which ensure the objective communality, our only competitive advantage,” a crucial task. He emphasized: “Rossotrudnichestvo has all the prerequisites to become a unique channel of conveying Russia’s ‘soft power,’ this country’s ability to influence its partners and the general public abroad, while building on this country’s civilizational, humanitarian, foreign policy-related and other kinds of attractiveness. A.V. Yakovenko pledged the senior officials and the staff of the new organization an effective support of the Foreign Ministry’s top management and the Russian diplomatic missions abroad. S.N. Lebedev, Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, reminded that the Community will mark its 18th anniversary in December and that Russia will assume the organization’s chairmanship in 2010. The CIS is living, working, and improving, it has good prospects, said the speaker, and urged “to shape relations with CIS not only in terms of economic benefit but from the perspective of geopolitical expediency as well.”
Having said this, he urged Rossotrudnichestvo to initiate and coordinate humanitarian cooperation programs with a view to forming a single education and cultural CIS space. “I’m profoundly convinced that Russia’s might and authority not only depend on the results of ongoing economic and social processes but also on how our country is represented in the world arena,” said A.M. Babakov, deputy chairman of the State Duma. “We have every reason to believe that a structure has now emerged that will address this issue effectively, and all we can do is only give it our help.”
After reading a message of greetings from S.M. Mironov, Chairman of the Federation Council, A.P. Torshin, his first deputy, stressed that all the participants in the meeting are imbued with the spirit of creativity and initiative and are ready to formulate robust proposals on the further development of Russia’s relations with CIS member countries and other states and also proposals regarding a greater effectiveness of international humanitarian cooperation.
M.Ye. Shvydkoy, the President’s representative in charge of international cultural cooperation, said, “Rossotrudnichestvo has gathered for the first time in the wake of serious organizational changes. All of the colleagues of mine who are present here are participants, veterans, and invalids of many predecessor organizations and are therefore concerned about a stock-taking of emerging difficulties. There are a lot of such difficulties, which are mostly new and linked to new challenges facing the Agency in a world where many things, including Russia’s role, have changed.” He called for the gathering to “play all instruments and before all audiences” and promised help from the Foreign Ministry and its overseas diplomatic missions.
K.I. Kosachev, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the State Duma, wished the meeting participants success in their new mission “linked not only to the fact that the previous failed in a certain sense but also to the changes occurring in the world and changed working methods.” The use of “soft power” implies an impact on the shaping of elites and through them a growing impact on the target territories of interest to us. It is something that our rivals in the post-Soviet space, in Georgia and Ukraine, for instance, are engaged in. They often prove more effective than we in the spaces where there is a vacuum of other interests. Rossotrudnichestvo is called upon to become Russia’s “soft power.”
A.Ye. Busygin, Deputy Culture Minister, O.A. Rozhnov, Deputy Minister for Youth, Sports and Tourism Affairs, A.V. Ochirova, chair of a committee of the Public Chamber, and M.A. Gusman, Deputy Director-General of ITAR-TASS, came up with greetings and cooperation proposals in specific fields of activities. The address made by V.A. Nikonov, Executive Director of the “Russkiy Mir” foundation, aroused a particularly lively interest. His organization is engaged in much the same work abroad in parallel with Rossotrudnichestvo. A slide show illustrated the account of the head of the foundation that has been around for a mere two years. The speaker reported that there are already several Russian Centers operating abroad. In CIS countries alone, there are more than a dozen of such centers.
“It is very essential for us to interact with the representative offices of Rossotrudnichestvo based abroad and to share the use of these platforms. We want ‘Russkiy Mir’ to be not just a reminder of the past but a dream of the future of our great people and our great civilization, which has the capacity to bring the world the ideals of freedom, justice, dignity, and the sovereignty of a civilization and a nation that is able to live in peace with itself and the rest of the world,” V.A. Nikonov emphasized.
After a break, F.M. Mukhametshin presented a detailed report. Yu.Ye. Prokhorov, Director of the Pushkin Institute of the Russian Language, A.G. Bystritsky, Chairman of the State Radio Broadcasting Company “The Voice of Russia,” G.L. Muradov, Director of the Department of External Economic and International Relations of Moscow, and L.I. Shvetsova, a member of the governing board of the Russia-France Society, outlined opportunities for interaction with Rossotrudnichestvo. The ensuing discussion involved representatives of Russian compatriots’ organizations and societies for friendship with different foreign countries.
The second day of the meeting’s deliberations was dedicated to the discussion of the introductory report of the CEO of Rossotrudnichestvo. The remarks made by the heads of representative offices operating in a variety of countries contained both their concern about the prevailing situation and their optimism. The “soft power” professionals are now set for a fresh start.
Yury Tavrovsky, board member of the Russia-Japan Society. Photos by Alexander Grigoryev.
source: Magazine "DIPLOMAT"