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Today we have gathered on a very important occasion both for our country and for the multi-million Russian world: the opening of the first State Museum of Russian Expatriates. The display is devoted to the history of the multi-ethnic and multi-religious Russian communities abroad. I am happy to welcome the members of the World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots. I would like to sincerely thank you for your invaluable contribution to the implementation of this noble undertaking.
The initiative to create the museum was supported by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, as has just been said. The President has repeatedly noted the importance of the House of Russian Expatriates’ efforts to return the heritage of prominent Russians who by a twist of fate were forced to leave their historical homeland; however, while they lived abroad, they never severed ties with their Fatherland. They made sure that their descendants did not forget about their roots.
The 20th century was very difficult for our people. Many Russians were forced to leave their country. However, despite difficult circumstances, they still managed to preserve their cultural and civilisational identity, and to pass it on to their children and grandchildren. They treasured and preserved their family heirlooms, photographs, diaries and letters that can tell a great deal about the dramatic turns in the lives of their owners, and the history of Russia as a whole. The creators of the Museum have made a tremendous effort to return the cultural and historical heritage associated with the Russian diaspora. Our compatriots have donated some priceless items – true evidence of bygone eras. Taking this opportunity, I would like to sincerely thank all the donors, for it is surely impossible to name them all in one or even in ten speeches. Such noble gestures are a vivid example of true love for their Fatherland that has survived despite various historical tribulations and adversities.
We are proud that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad have also contributed to the creation of the Museum. Mr Moskvin, thank you for your kind words. We mainly helped by establishing dialogue with Russian communities and involving them in building up the display. As a result of combining the efforts of many participants, the Museum eventually collected numerous objects that tell us about the grand intellectual and cultural heritage of the Russian communities abroad.
The opening of the Museum shows yet again that the era of isolation that was ushered in by various historical events has sunk into oblivion for good. Today we continue to do everything that is necessary for our compatriots to feel they are involved in building a strong, prosperous and self-reliant Russia and are able to contribute to the efforts to preserve and multiply the common spiritual and cultural heritage left to us by our ancestors. We welcome and support our compatriots’ initiatives and undertakings, including the creation by enthusiasts of Russian history and culture museums in the countries where our fellow countrymen live. I believe this work to further consolidate a multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multifaceted Russian world remains as important as ever and perhaps is becoming even more important.
The efforts of our compatriots to ensure the socioeconomic growth in our country and maintain friendly ties that are based on mutual respect with their countries of residence have immense potential. Today, there is particular demand for work to tap this potential more fully, given that the situation in the world remains tense and a massive campaign has been unleashed against Russia in order to contain the development of our country in all fields. There must be no doubt that anti-Russia campaigns and initiatives like these have no prospects whatsoever. Their masterminds are starting to realise this. We faced enormous hardships on more than one occasion in the course of many centuries and every time we would emerge from them even stronger than before. I am confident it will continue like this in the future.
Today, no matter what, we will retain our sovereignty, ensure our national security and defend our citizens, history and our civilisational identity. Of course, we will always be able to defend the rights and dignity of our compatriots.
I have no doubt that that the Museum will become an important spiritual and intellectual centre that will help us preserve and promote the Russian national heritage abroad, as well as a useful site for conducting effective dialogue with our compatriots around the globe. It will help ensure historical continuity, link ages and generations and perpetuate the names of those who, while living in foreign lands, did not forget their homeland.
I believe Moscow schools will be interested in holding, right at the Museum, lessons in the history of Russians who lived abroad to teach students to feel emotional involvement in what previous generations did.
The Foreign Ministry will continue providing every possible assistance to the Museum, including through the joint projects we carry out jointly with the House of Russian Expatriates.
Thank you for your attention. I would like to thank all the donors again.
Building of the Russian Embassy in Kingston