Friday, 11 August 2017 06:57

Your Excellency, Mr Tripathi, Governor of West Bengal,

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

It was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation to this important event – the presentation of the book “The Russian Revolution and Storms Across Century 1917-2017” by Indian writer, literary scholar and historian Achala Moulik, organized in the hospitable city of Kolkata. It is quite symbolic that the release of this unique work is timed by the author not only to the anniversary of the October Revolution, but also to the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and India, which is widely celebrated both in my country and on the Indian soil.

Achala Moulik, who has made such a profound research on one of the epoch-making events in Russian history, with a huge impact on the destinies of mankind, is well known among the intellectuals of Russia and India. Interestingly, it was the collection of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Letters from Russia” that prompted her great interest to my country early in her life. Mrs Moulik’s first works on Russian history appeared in the 1960s. Subsequently, her accomplishments in studying Russian classical literature as well as her dramatic productions won acclaim at the highest level – in 2011, the President of Russia awarded her the prestigious Pushkin Medal, which marks the achievements in culture and contribution to rapprochement and mutual enrichment between nations. It was also the publication of the book "Dialogues of Civilizations" made by the Indian writer jointly with her husband and dedicated to the study of India by Russian orientalists that led to such high appreciation of her work.

As I have already mentioned, this year marks an anniversary in our bilateral relations. A long-standing and deep-rooted friendship between our peoples has been continuously enhanced by new vivid examples of mutually beneficial cooperation. You know that last October Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Goa for another bilateral summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for the summit meeting of BRICS Members-States. Quite recently, last June, the Indian Prime Minister participated as the Guest of Honour in the proceeding of the Petersburg International Economic Forum. Regular contacts of our leaders confirm the mature nature of special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India, aimed at progressive strengthening of centuries-long ties of our peoples.

Therefore, it is no accident that Mrs Moulik dedicated her fundamental work to outstanding diplomat and orientalist Alexander Kadakin, who linked his career with strengthening friendship and cooperation between Russia and India. It is noteworthy that the Russian Ambassador, who passed away last January, held the author of the book that we are presenting today to Kolkata reading public, in high esteem and considered her as his companion in advancing bilateral humanitarian contacts.

The Centenary of the 1917 Revolution is broadly commemorated in Russia. A presidential decree established a special organizing committee entrusted with all preparations for the jubilee celebrations. Scientific conferences, historical and documentary exhibitions, workshops are taking place across the country. President Vladimir Putin in one of his speeches, while touching upon the causes and nature of the February and the October Revolutions, stressed that “we need history’s lessons primarily for reconciliation, for strengthening the social, political and civil harmony that we have managed to achieve”.

The article “Russia in Global Politics” by Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Relations, reads as follows: “There is no denying that the Russian Revolution was a major event in terms of influencing the world history, with its impact being controversial and multifaceted”. According to scholars, the Russian Revolution, inter alia, dealt a blow to the colonial system and thus influenced the course of history in Hindustan, by bringing closer the independence of India. Its 70th anniversary will be celebrated on August 15.

The work of Mrs Moulik is not limited to the study of historic events in Russia in the first quarter of the XX century – it is a thorough description of the most important chapters in the history of the Russian state from the October Revolution to the present day and of the role of Russia in contemporary world affairs. Analyzing recent global developments, the author acknowledges that the world has by no means become a more secure place, but on the contrary, faces new challenges and threats. At the same time, the Russian clout in international affairs is steadily growing – be it the uncompromising fight against international terrorism in Syria or consistent efforts in shaping a fair multipolar world order, which would enable every country to develop freely for the benefit of its people.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Achala Moulik on today’s presentation of the work to her compatriots – the readers of West Bengal, the state widely known for its age-old and deep-rooted traditions of pluralism and social justice. There is no doubt that this book will be of interest for all those willing to better understand various aspects of the development of my country over the last century – from culture to art and from economics to foreign policy.

With all my heart I wish you, esteemed Mrs Moulik, further success in your creative endeavors aimed at bringing together the peoples of Russia and India.

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