Eleonora Mitrofanova: "Russian language traditionally feels confident in Azerbaijan"
"We highly appreciate the Azerbaijani leadership's position, which has provided constant assistance to the Russian language promotion in Azerbaijan. At the initiative of the Russian and Azerbaijani presidents, the representative Baku Humanitarian Forum, the Russian-Azerbaijani Interregional Forum and the Russian-Azerbaijani Youth Forum are held annually since 2011," head of Rossotrudnichestvo Eleonora Mitrofanova said at the Russian-Azerbaijani panel discussion titled 'Cultural bridges between Russia and Azerbaijan as a basis for intercultural dialogue' which was held yesterday in the Russian State Duma.
She called the Russian-Azerbaijani humanitarian dialogue one of the most vivid examples of successful interaction, which is consistently characterized by fruitful contacts. "One of the largest Russian-speaking diasporas lives in Azerbaijan - 130 thousand people. 2.5 million Azerbaijani citizens currently work in the Russian Federation. Intensive cultural ties are becoming an important addition and support of political ties, first of all, the ties between the leaders of our countries, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, which are very intensive and fruitful. Our ministers meet regularly, and last week Patriarch Kirill met with the President of Azerbaijan.
It is symbolic that Azerbaijan has repeatedly acted as a hospitable international platform for negotiations between Russia and third countries. We really appreciate this contribution."
According to Mitrofanova, about 11,500 citizens of Azerbaijan studied in Russia in 2018: "This refers to all types of education, including postgraduate studies. 1017 people were financed through budget allocations and 10,284 people received fee-based training."
"We make great efforts to support our native language abroad, because we have a huge diaspora in many countries. Objectively, Russian is the language of our communication. This is very well understood in Azerbaijan. We make every effort to promote the work of Azerbaijani Russian-language schools. A teaching and methodological center of the Russian language operates on our base. The center's specialists regularly conduct seminars on pedagogical technologies, on topical issues of teaching Russian. Themed video conferences, retreats, webinars are regularly hosted for teachers of Russian language in Azerbaijan.
The Russian language traditionally feels confident in Azerbaijan. More than 340 schools that teach in Russian operate here, and more than 3000 schools in Azerbaijan teach Russian as a foreign language. 50 of them are included in the project of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education for the in-depth study of the Russian language.
The annual Republican Olympiad in the Russian language and literature among Azerbaijani-Russian schools is the largest one. In 2018, this Olympiad celebrated its 10th anniversary. 24 rounds of the Olympiad were held in 17 cities and districts of Azerbaijan, they were attended by 2811 pupils from 605 schools from 51 regions. The Russian language is actively used in Azerbaijani media and culture. The Russian-language media occupies about 12% of the republic's total media. More than 50 printed media, 14 news agencies."
Mitrofanova said that Rossotrudnichestvo has the 'New Generation' program: “We bring thousands of young people from different countries, trying to select leaders in different areas - these are young politicians, young scientists and media workers. We introduce them to what is happening in Russia ... One of the permanent partners of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Azerbaijan that deserves special mention is the Azerbaijan Association of Graduates of Russian and Soviet Higher Education Institutions. It is a powerful force operating in many countries. We rely on them and work with them. In October 2018, the Azerbaijan Association's delegation took part in the Forum of graduates of Soviet and Russian universities of the CIS member states, which we conduct on a regular basis."
"Bilateral humanitarian ties between our countries are very strong, and they continue to develop intensively. In the near past, we lived in one country, and the echo of the established close relationship is felt even today. Our peoples should not lose this good feeling. Famous Soviet singer and composer Muslim Magomayev put it very clearly once, saying: “Russia is my mother, Azerbaijan is my father.” A lot of people living here could say the same about themselves. Therefore, I am confident in the progressive development of bilateral relations."