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Russia Looks to Expand Cultural Presence in Syria

Russia Looks to Expand Cultural Presence in Syria

Tuesday, 2 June, 2020 - 09:45
A visitor at the Russian Cultural Center in Damascus inspects books on display | Asharq Al-Awsat

Flipping through the pages of a Russian book at a lobby in the Russian Cultural Center in Damascus, a 19-year-old girl, Nermin, voiced her enthusiasm at the reopening of the center and the resumption of its activities.

Nermin is looking to improve her Russian language but is also wishing that the center reboots other activities she has grown to love.

“Every summer, my mother used to bring me all the way from west Damascus to the center to learn ballet and music,” Nermin said, noting that with the reopening of the center she will get back some of the joy she lost to war.

On May 31, the Russian Cultural Center in Damascus announced the opening of Russian language courses and the gradual return of its activities.

For his part, Director of the Russian Cultural Center Nikolai Sukhov explained that the start of Russian language courses is a gradual return to the full activity of the center with precautionary measures being taken to address the coronavirus.

He explained that there will be Russian language courses at various levels and for all ages, in addition to courses in music, drawing, and other fields.

Announcing its gradual reopening, the Russian Cultural Center will resume its activities after being shut down for some seven years. The reopening of the center is a move to boost the Russian cultural presence in the war-torn country, matching its political and military presence.

The deputy head of mission at the Russian Embassy Eldar Qurbanof highlighted the strength and depth of the Russian-Syrian relations and the importance of resuming Russian language courses.

Speaking to Al-Watan Online, he expressed his hope that it would be a first step towards developing educational and cultural work that contributes to strengthening relations between the two peoples and fully resuming the work of the center.

Qurbanof pointed out that there are 19,000 students currently studying the Russian language in Syria and that work is underway to raise that figure.

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