On the opening day of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum, the international academic conference ‘Historical and Modern Aspects of the Russia–China Relations in the Light of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China’ took place. This is the biggest scientific event in Russia dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The conference, organized by the Roscongress Foundation, the Russian Historical Society and the History of the Fatherland Foundation, was attended by leading Russian and Chinese historians, heads of universities, research institutes and research centres.
The official opening ceremony was addressed by Nikita Anisimov, Rector of the Far Eastern Federal University; Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage Museum and Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Gao Xiang, Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and General Director of the Chinese History Research Institute, and others.
Igor Pavlov, Director of the Eastern Economic Forum and Deputy Director of the Roscongress Foundation, noted that the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries coincide with the first jubilee of the Eastern Economic Forum, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2019.
“This year’s Forum sums up the results of what has been achieved in Russia’s Far East over the past five years, allowing us to look into the future. I would like the Russia–China academic conference also to help us look into the future of our relations,” said Igor Pavlov.
The speakers highlighted the high standard already achieved in the scientific cooperation between the two countries. According to Valentin Sergiyenko, Chairman of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, China accounts for 60–65% of all foreign contacts overseen by his department. Contacts in the field of agriculture and medicine have been particularly intensive in recent years.
Gao Xiang, Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and General Director of the Chinese History Research Institute, reminded those present that the USSR provided huge support to the People’s Republic of China during the formation of the Republic.
“The main thing is mutual understanding between peoples. The closer the peoples are, the closer the relations between our countries will be. History is a mirror; it gives us wisdom and makes us think about the future. I believe we need to deepen the contacts between our scientists and historians. We should learn historical lessons, making ties between our countries even more positive and stable,” Gao Xiang stressed.
At the plenary session, Sergey Shakhrai, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Joint Shenzhen MSU-BIT University, reported on the development of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the field of higher education, giving the example of the establishment and operation of the joint university he represents. He said even the legal difficulties with the issue of Moscow State University diplomas abroad had not prevented implementation of the ambitious project: the problem was resolved positively and the university has already accepted its third intake on to its bachelor programme this year.
“Today, our university is the only one in China where teaching is in Russian. The past three years have proved the correctness of our approach: study of the Russian language is not a goal but a means for mastering the specialty. Chinese students quickly learn the language and, in their second year, they already submit their coursework and laboratory tests in Russian. The very fact that the diploma is issued in three languages expands their opportunities for further employment. Graduates will also be able to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative of the Eurasian Economic Union,” Sergei Shakhrai noted.
The scientific conference includes the formal opening ceremony of the historical and documentary exhibition dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The exposition features archival documents and photographs reflecting the 400-year history of the dialogue between the two Russian and Chinese cultures and civilizations. The ceremony was attended by Konstantin Mogilevsky, member of the Presidium of the Russian Historical Society and Executive Director of the History of the Fatherland Foundation, Andrey Yurasov, Deputy Head of the Federal Archival Agency, and Zhang Haipeng, Honorary President of the Chinese Historical Society.
“Why do we need a historical conference, a historical exhibition at an economic forum? This is a conscious policy of the Roscongress Foundation and the Russian Historical Society, based on a clear understanding that any economic, political or other modern bilateral relations have a certain historical foundation. In order to pursue business successfully with a country that has its own unique culture, different from that of Russia, a good understanding of its history is required,” stated Konstantin Mogilevsky, member of the Presidium of the Russian Historical Society and Executive Director of the History of the Fatherland Foundation.
“The exhibition shows convincingly that Russia and China have a rich, diverse and complicated history of relations and that our countries and peoples have always shown considerable mutual interest. This historical foundation is the basis and guarantee of future successful development of our relations. It is all the more important that the relations between Russia and China in the modern world are a definite guarantee of its stability,” concluded Deputy Head of the Federal Archives Agency Andrey Yurasov.