President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bignami, it is a great pleasure to see you and have this chance to talk with you here in Moscow.
We know that the organisation you head is one of the world’s most influential organisations in the field of cooperation in space exploration. Dozens of countries and 13 international organisations are members of COSPAR. We hope very much that our country, Russia, will, as in the past, continue its effective work and help and assist all of your colleagues, from Russia and from other countries, in this difficult but very interesting and noble work.
President of the International Committee On Space Research Giovanni Bignami: Yes, in fact I am here to thank you for the great support that Russia is giving us in this effort.
As you know, I represent 45 countries that are joined together, and the Bureau asked me to write to you and thank you deeply for receiving me immediately afterward, because we are organising the general assembly here in Moscow in August. This is a splendid occasion. It is the second time that it happens in Russia. The first time was in 1970 in Leningrad. That was a long time ago.
Let me add immediately that I would like to thank you on several special accounts. One, which is certainly dear to you, is the support that has been given by Russia for the participation of young people in this assembly. The assembly is for professional scientists, but thanks to the special support from Russia, COSPAR has been able to support more Russian young people, students first of all, students of science, and then, also extremely important, teachers of science in Russian schools, because I think you and I agree that teachers are the ones who can spark the enthusiasm in youngsters for science, and so this is the first time that we have, thanks to Lev [Zeleny, vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences] and the capacity he have received from you to raise some special funds, and this is a great first.
Vladimir Putin: During the preparations for the assembly that you mentioned, a lot of applications came in from young scientists in different countries. They are not just getting ready to travel here, but are getting ready on the scientific side too, preparing publications and getting their research work ready. This will unquestionably give a big boost to developing this very important and interesting field of work.