Working visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to the Russian Federation
At the invitation of RF President Vladimir Putin, President Serzh Sargsyan arrived in Moscow on a working visit. In the morning, the President of Armenia visited the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of Russia and New Nakhijevan and the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral.
After attending candlelight and praise prayer, accompanied by Diocese Primate, Archbishop Yezras Nersissian, Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan, community representatives and cultural figures from Armenia, the President viewed the exhibition of contemporary Armenian khachkars (stellas) in the territory of the church complex featuring about two dozen works by Armenian sculptor Ruben Nalbandyan .
The President next called at an exposition referred to as “Armenia: Biblical Country,” dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Russia and New Nakhijevan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, opened on the sidelines of Armenian Culture Days in Russia, which has two major thematic sections: Armenia’s history from the Bronze Age to Urartu and the adoption of Christianity to our days. The exhibition features church accessories, ancient manuscripts, coins and medals, unique artworks, paintings authored by prominent Armenian artists.
Today, President Serzh Sargsyan met with RF President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Palace.
During the talks, the leaders of the two strategic partner countries discussed the agenda of the Armenian-Russian relations and issues related to the strengthening and development of bilateral interstate ties.
Reference was made to the implementation of those agreements reached at the top level in different spheres of activity, as well as the ongoing cooperation in political, economic, security, humanitarian and cultural fields. Presidents Sargsyan and Putin hailed the holding of Days of Culture in both countries.
The parties also touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process.
“Mr Sargsyan, friends, colleagues. We are very happy to see you in Moscow.
I would like to stress that all our teams are working hard on the implementation of our agreements reached during your visit to Russia last March. And this work is yielding positive results.
This does not even include our interaction in the areas of political contacts, security and the economy. Last year witnessed the beginning of growth, and this year it has already increased by a third, which is surely gratifying. We would like to maintain this trend.
This time you have come in connection with the start of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia. We are very happy that we are also actively cooperating in this field. We will now go together to the Tretyakov Gallery to see the exhibition, and there is also another event in store.
You know that our law enforcement agencies are returning Vrubel’s painting, which was stolen in Armenia.
I am sure this exhibition will generate considerable interest among art lovers. I would like to thank you for your assistance in arranging it. On our part we are going to do everything for Armenian citizens to have access under current conditions and in the current situation to the achievements of Russian culture and to everything we take pride in. We will continue to work together in this area,” RF President Vladimir Putin said, opening the meeting.
“Thank you, Mr President. I am happy to have this chance to meet.
And you are right, the progress in all areas of Russia-Armenia cooperation is evident. After our last meeting in Sochi we had an official visit at the level of the Russian Government. In October, we held a Russian-Armenian interregional forum, the Second International Forum of Eurasian Partnership and the Russian-Armenian Youth Forum. The 30th meeting of the inter-parliamentary commission convened earlier this month.
Close contacts between people, as well as cultural, educational and scientific ties have a special significance for us. Last year the Days of Russian Culture enjoyed great success in Armenia. And today we are launching a number of events as part of the Days of Armenian Culture, and they will be held not only in Moscow but in all big cities of Russia.
Thank you for the invitation, for the warm reception,” RA President Serzh Sargsyan said.
After the high-level talks in Moscow, the Presidents of Armenia and Russia Serzh Sargsyan and Vladimir Putin visited the Tretyakov Gallery, where the ceremonious official opening of the Armenian Culture Days in Russia was held, attended by the leaders of the two countries.
The event began with the exhibition of great Armenian painter Martiros Saryan’s works. The exposition features about three dozen exceptional masterpieces by Saryan available from the National Art Gallery of Armenia, the Yerevan House Museum of Martiros Saryan and from the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, created by the famous master during his trips to the Middle East, as well as based on memories of these trips.
After the exhibition, the Presidents of Armenia and Russia delivered speeches in the Vrubel Hall of the Tretyakov Gallery.
During the event, Russian President Vladimir Putin handed to President Serzh Sargsyan famous Russian painter Mikhail Vrubel’s painting entitled “The Demon and the Angel with the Soul of Tamara,” which was stolen from Armenia in 1995.
Note that the RF President told President Sargsyan about the Russian side’s intention to hand over the painting to Armenia during their March 15 meeting in Moscow.
Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan delivered at the opening of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!
It gives me a great pleasure to attend together with the President of the Russian Federation the opening of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia at one of the world’s largest and most renowned museums - the Tretyakov Gallery.
Today’s event is timed to the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries and the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation.
These are significant dates that testify to a qualitatively new level of Armenian-Russian relations of strategic partnership, built on centuries-old ties of friendship, which bind the destinies of our two fraternal peoples. We have always been together: both in peacetime and during the years of hard trials. Our fathers and grandfathers often used to fight side by side on the fronts.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the opening of the bust to twice Hero of the Soviet Union Marshal Hovhannes Khristoforovich Bagramyan at the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.
Cardinal changes have taken place in the lives of our countries and peoples over time, but the reciprocated warmth and sincerity of Armenian and Russian peoples, imbued with simple human destinies, remained unchanged.
In the last quarter of a century, impressive progress has been made in the development of humanitarian contacts. Committed to traditional values and national identities, our peoples have always been open and deeply interested in interpenetrating cultures.
We have much in common - openness, goodwill, sociability, emotionality and, of course, receptivity to everything new. Russia is rightfully considered to be one of the world’s cultural centers. It is no coincidence that a significant number of Armenian cultural figures - writers, musicians, architects and artists – have not only been graduates of the Russian school of art, but also continued to build on its glorious traditions to multiply the common cultural and spiritual heritage.
Today, the Armenian culture, like the culture of Russia, can not be imagined without such well-known personalities as Hovhannes Aivazovsky, Aram Khachaturyan, Arno Babajanyan, Mikael Tariverdiyev and many other outstanding figures who have become symbols of the Armenian-Russian friendship.
It is not just coincidence that we are inaugurating the Days of Armenian Culture with the exhibition of the works by one of last century’s greatest painters, Martiros Saryan, a courageous innovator who skillfully connected the picturesque traditions of the East with the new trends of Russian and European art of the 20th century. And literally today a commemorative plaque to the great master was unveiled on the facade of the house where he lived in Moscow.
As early as half a century ago, Saryan said, “Art can humanize and bring people closer to the amazing discoveries of science and technology.” This was Saryan’s perception of the world and the understanding of culture, perpetuated in his work by timeless universal values.
I am sure that over time we will have new Saryans and Aivazovskys, Khachaturians and Tariverdiyevs, while our cooperation in the field of culture will be enriched with bright and interesting projects.
It is noteworthy that the Days of Armenian Culture are being held not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in the regions of Russia. This is an excellent opportunity to get even closer to each other, open up the unknown pages of Armenia’s history and culture.
I am confident that this great cultural project will give fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations and their continued mutual enrichment.
The unique literary and musical heritage of Russian culture, the monuments of architecture of Russia, the traditions of the people of Russia have always been of great interest in our country. I believe that this is reciprocal, and that the events within the framework of the Days of Armenian Culture will be equally interesting both for representatives of culture and art and the general public, and for the younger generation, in particular.
In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for supporting this unique initiative. Initiatives like this help develop the living fabric of our friendship.
Also, I want to extend a special vote of thanks for the return to Armenia of famous Russian painter Mikhail Vrubel’s “The Demon and the Angel with the Soul of Tamara” painting, which was stolen from Armenia in 1995.
I wish to thank our Russian friends for their thoughtfulness of today's exhibition and the series of events that will take place on the margins of the Days of Armenian Culture.
I wish all those present and all the participants of the upcoming events a vivid and exciting experience.
Remarks by RF President Vladimir Putin, delivered at the opening of Days of Armenian Culture in Russia
Mr Sargsyan, friends,
I am happy to welcome you at the State Tretyakov Gallery for the opening ceremony of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia.
During my talks with Mr Sargsyan earlier today we both highly praised the multifaceted cooperation of our countries. It has been successfully and dynamically progressing in all areas, both in the bilateral format and in the framework of the multilateral organisations CIS, CSTO, and the Eurasian Economic Union.
This year we celebrate a number of milestone dates, which are of importance to us. In April we marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and in August the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.
Russia and Armenia are bonded by truly allied ties. Our countries are earnestly striving to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and all-encompassing strategic partnership.
We are brought closer together by many centuries of history, spiritual kinship, and genuine interest in each other’s traditions and customs. Bonds between people, friends and families dating back centuries have been carried through generations.
It is no accident that we have always paid special attention to the development of humanitarian collaboration, maintaining close contacts in culture, education and art.
The Days of Armenian Culture are yet another opportunity for Russians to discover new facets of the historical and cultural heritage of the ancient people of this friendly country.
And in this respect I would like to note the sheer number and variety of the coming events that will take place around Russia until late November. They include shows by the Yerevan Drama Theatre, concerts by the State Youth Orchestra and Dance Company, film screenings, exhibitions of jewelry and traditional costumes.
The Over state chamber choir has given a brilliant concert at the Temple Complex of the Armenian Apostolic Church today. An exhibition of architectural cross-stones (khachkars) also welcomed visitors. The State Tretyakov Gallery is opening an exhibition of works by National Artist of the USSR Martiros Saryan, an outstanding painter who naturally blended in his art the style of the Russian school of painting, Oriental traditions and those of 20th century European art. His works and his name are our shared heritage, and, of course, a source of pride for both Armenia and Russia.
Such dazzling, direct projects as Culture Days bring us closer together and unite us, engender sincere emotions in people, and serve to strengthen friendship and cooperation. I am confident that humanitarian cooperation will continue to play a key role in our partnership, which meets the interests of the two countries’ peoples.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to hand over to Mr Sargsyan Mikhail Vrubel’s painting Demon and Angel with Tamara’s Soul. It was painted in 1891 and is part of the series of illustrations for Mikhail Lermontov’s poem Demon.
This canvass has a complicated, I would even say dramatic history. It was stolen from the Museum of Russian Art in Yerevan more than 20 years ago in 1995. Last year it was recovered. The best restorers of the Tretyakov Gallery reclaimed its original appearance. They have just told us about it – they worked on it every day for seven months. And now visitors to the Museum of Russian Art in Yerevan will able to see this work by the famous Russian artist.
In conclusion I would like to thank all the participants and organizers of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia, and I want to wish the visitors vivid, lasting impressions.
Thank you for your attention.