‘It is an important event not only for the ASE or the ethnic Russians’ community in Romania, but also for the development of the relations between our two countries’, Churilin said. He hailed the opening of this first centre in Romania as being the beginning of a ‘new chapter in the Russian- Romanian relations’.
Although the ambassador said he was disappointed with the quality of the dialogue between Russia and Romania at this moment, he stressed that better knowledge of the Russian language could ease the way to closer ties between the two peoples and to overcoming the sensitive moments of the past.
Churilin argued there are much more things that unite the Russian and Romanian peoples than those that divide them. ‘You don’t even know how many things we have in common’, he said in an address to the opening ceremony of the Russian Cultural Centre at the ASE and underscored there is a real interest in the Russian culture and spirituality in Romania. He substantiated his remarks by pointing out that 17 plays by Soviet or Russian authors were played on the Romanian theatre stages last year alone.
Another two representative offices of the Russki Mir Foundation will open soon in Cluj- Napoca (central-western Romania) and the Black Sea port of Constanta, Churilin announced, also underscoring that Russia is interested in the development of constructive relations with Romania, ‘its old partner in the Balkans’, a country that could be ‘a gateway of Russia to the EU and a EU gateway to Russia’.
Other participants in the event, such as former Romanian ambassador Dumitru Prunariu, chairman of the Romanian Exporters and Importers’ National Association Mihai Ionescu and general manager of the Romanian-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mihai Macsim stressed, in their addresses, the need to deepen the human component of the Romanian-Russian dialogue as a means to overcome the historic stereotypes, besides deepening the economic side of the relations.
Also attending Friday’s opening of the Russian Cultural Centre was a delegation of Russki Mir Foundation headed by the foundation’s Executive Committee president Liudmila Verbitskaya, who recalled the body was set up in June 2007 by a decree of then-Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to promote the Russian language abroad.