The Russian President also presented his Armenian counterpart with the painting “Demon and Angel with Tamara’s Soul” by Mikhail Vrubel, which was stolen in Yerevan 22 years ago.
The two countries’ leaders toured an exhibition by Armenian artist Martiros Saryan.
Earlier today, the Russian and Armenian presidents met at the Kremlin.
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Transcript of opening ceremony of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: 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 jewellery 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 organisers of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia, and I want to wish the visitors vivid, lasting impressions.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan: Mr President, friends,
It is a great pleasure for me to participate in the opening ceremony of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia here at the Tretyakov Gallery, one of the world’s major and most famous museums.
This event marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries and the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation.
These significant dates are indicators of the new qualitative level of the Armenian-Russian strategic union built on a foundation of friendship that goes back centuries and unites the fates of our brotherly peoples.
We have always stood side by side, both in times of peace and through difficult ordeals. Our fathers and grandfathers fought together against a common enemy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the memorial of two-time Hero of the Soviet Union, Marshall Ivan Bagramyan, which was recently unveiled in the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.
With the passage of time, our countries and our peoples’ lives have gone through drastic changes. However, the mutual appreciation and sincerity between Armenia and Russia, influenced by ordinary peoples’ fates, have remained unchanged. In the past 25 years, we have also achieved impressive progress in developing our cultural relations.
Devoted to traditional values and customs, our nations have always been open and deeply interested in sharing their cultures. We have so many things in common, including hospitability, kindness, sociability, passion and, of course, openness to everything new.
Russia is rightfully seen as one of the world’s cultural centres. There is a reason that a substantial number of Armenian authors, musicians, architects and artists not only studied at Russian arts schools but also continued their glorious traditions and create our common cultural legacy.
We can imagine neither Armenian nor Russian culture without outstanding creative figures like Ivan Aivazovsky, Aram Khachaturian, Arno Babajanian, Mikael Tariverdiev and many other people of culture who became symbols of Armenian-Russian friendship.
It is no coincidence that we are opening the Days of Armenian Culture with an exhibition of masterpieces by Martiros Saryan, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, who effectively combined the artistic traditions of the East with new trends of 20th century Russian and European art.
A memorial plaque honouring the great master has been unveiled in Moscow today on the building where he once lived. Fifty years ago, Saryan said that art can humanise all marvellous discoveries of science and technology and bring them ever closer to the people. Such was Saryan’s perception of the world as well as his understanding of culture, immortalised by universal human and extra-temporal ideas within his creative work.
I am confident that we will eventually have new cultural masters like Saryan, Aivazovsky, Khachaturian and Tariverdiev and that our cultural cooperation will grow with new vivid and interesting projects.
Friends, indicatively, the Days of Armenian Culture are taking place not only in Moscow and St Petersburg but also in the Russian regions too. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other even better, to open up new pages of our country’s history together with that of our nation’s culture.
I am confident that this major cultural project will spur the development of bilateral relations and their subsequent mutual enrichment. Our country has always been interested in the unique literary and musical heritage of Russian culture, Russian architectural landmarks and the traditions of the people of Russia.
I believe that this feeling is mutual, and that representatives of the cultural and artistic communities and the public at large, including the younger generation, will be equally interested in the events, which are part of the days of Armenian Culture.
In conclusion, I would like to sincerely thank the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for supporting this event the scale of which is quite unique. It is precisely these initiatives that weave the living fabric of our friendship.
I would also like to say a specially thank you for returning to Armenia the work of the great artist Mikhail Vrubel, Demon and Angel with Tamara’s Soul, that was stolen from Armenia in 1995.
I would like to thank our Russian friends for organising today’s exhibition as well as the entire cycle of events, due to take place during the Days of Culture, in such a thorough and, what is most important, wholehearted manner.
I would like to wish everyone here as well as all those taking part in the upcoming events all the best and I hope that it will be an interesting experience.
Thank you all very much.