Scientific, Cultural and Sports Cooperation
Humanitarian sphere is one of the most important parts of Russia-DPRK relations.
Regulatory and legal foundation of bilateral relations in the humanitarian sphere was laid on March 17th, 1949, when the Agreement on economic and cultural cooperation between the USSR and the DPRK was signed. Then it had been supplemented with the intergovernmental Agreement on cultural cooperation in 1996 and by corresponding regulations of the Treaty on friendship, good-neighborship and cooperation between Russia and the DPRK in 2000 as well as with Pyongyang – Moscow Declarations (signed in 2000 and 2001 respectively).
The DPRK Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries is the principal body responsible for the country’s international humanitarian contacts that include Russia.
Cultural exchanges between Russia and the DPRK are quite intensive. Traditionally Russian performers participate in the annual Friendship Art Festival “April Spring”: In 2012 artists of P.I.Tchaikovsky’s Moscow State Conservatory, State Dance Ensemble “Cossacks of Russia”, State Academic Folk Ensemble “Russia” n.a. L.G.Zykina and Russian State Circus demonstrated their talents in Pyongyang. Those very days Russian Minister of Culture A.A.Avdeev and Rector of Moscow State Institute (University) of International Relations A.V.Torkunov visited Pyongyang to take part in the events dedicated to the centennial of the President Kim Il Sung.
Korean artists groups also tour to Russia. One of the most interesting examples was the performance by Kyongsan Kindergarten’s children at the renewed Theatre of Nations opening ceremony and at the musical festival “Moscow meets friends”. Besides, the Military Orchestra of Korean People’s Army took part in the first Far-East International Festival of Military Bands in May, 2012, and Children Ensemble of the Morangbong School N1 of Pyongyang has visited Amur’s Region to participate in the events dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s visit to Russian Far-East regions and the 1st anniversary of his visit to Siberia and Far- East. It is also planned that in 2013 Korean kids ensembles will perform in Russian cities.
For the first time opera “Eugene Onegin” in Korean was staged at Pyongyang Conservatory in 2010 and successfully goes on now. Moreover, artists of the Conservatory are working on staging Russia operas “Ivan Susanin” and “The Snow Maiden”.
Opera “Eugene Onegin”. The scene of Onegin’s declaration of love to Tatiana.
Within the framework of cultural cooperation both sides promote exhibition activity. Korean arts and crafts, literature and photos exhibitions were held in various Russian cities and towns (Blagoveshchensk, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Nakhodka, Ryazan, Saint-Petersburg, Khabarovsk, Ulan-Ude). Usually they were dedicated to the memorable dates of the DPRK. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s visit to Russian Far-East regions and 1st anniversary of his visit to Siberia and the Far East in August, 2012, exhibitions and cultural events were arranged in some Russian towns (the exhibition in Amur Oblast’s History Museum, the DPRK’s Culture Days in Nakhodka, the ceremony of memorial plate inauguration at the Bureya Hydro Power Station). A number of similar events were held in December to commemorate the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s demise.
The cooperation in tourism is also on the rise. Annually about 300 Russians visit Pyongyang and up to 1000 Russian tourists visit Rason (in 2011 there were 700 tourists). Every year in July and August about 200 Russian children enjoy a rest in the International Summer Camp “Songdowon” at the invitation of CC of Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League.
Mutual ties in sports are established on the interregional level and regulated by the annual plans of team exchanges between the DPRK and Russian Primorski Region, Khabarovsk Region and Amur Province.
Russian athletes participate in international sports festivals and competitions, which are regularly held in the DPRK. Every year in February Russian athletes take part in International Figure Skating Festival for “Paektusan” award. E.Plyushenko and skating pair A.Smirnov-Y.Kawaguti visited Pyongyang in 2011, while E.Plyushenko with M.Stavinsky performed here in 2012, and pairs T.Novik-A.Novoselov, E.Pushkash-J.Guerreiro – in 2013.
A.Smirnov and Y.Kawaguti’s performance at the international figure skating festival for Paektusan award, 16.02.2011
In April, 2011, Russian athlete Oleg Marusin had won gold medal in the 24th International Marathon for “Mangyondae” award in Pyongyang. About 800 sportsmen from 80 countries participated in the 17th Taekwondo Championship from 8 to 12th of September, 2011. Russian team ranked the second (following the DPRK team) in overall team results.
North Korean athletes, in turn, also participate in international competitions in Russia (mostly in Russia’s Far-East).
Under the plan for cooperation in education, 25 North Korean students receive scholarships from Russian State budget annually to study at Russian universities. In 2012 Russian Ministry of Education and Science has increased the number of scholarships to 35.
Ties between our countries’ leading educational organizations’ are developing as well. Representatives of Moscow State University, Far-Eastern Federal University, Far-Eastern Studies Institute, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science visited the DPRK in 2011 to participate in the official events and scientific conferences at the Kim Il Sung University. In 2012 Russian scientists from Moscow State University have also participated in the scientific conference “For Social Progress and Prosperity” at the same University.
Russian Center established by the “Russkiy Mir” Foundation operates successfully at Pyongyang Institute of Foreign Languages. It organizes lectures, classes and theme events for Russian language lecturers and students. In 2011 “Russkiy Mir” Foundation had provided 3 grants to support different educational programs: “Preparation and Creation of the Digital Computer Database for Russian Language Studies”, “Preparation and Creation of the Russian Language Distance Study Program at the DPRK’s Universities” and “Organization and Providing Master-classes and Seminars for Russian Language Secondary School Teachers”.
In 2012 under active support of the Russian Embassy the Center has held Russian and Korean folk fairytales evening; Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the DPRK A.A.Timonin and the Rector of Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies Pak Chong Jin participated at the commemorative event to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Center; the specialists of the Center intend to take a part in the 6th Assembly of “Russkiy Mir” Foundation in November, 2012, in Moscow. The Rector of the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies and the Director of the Centre took part in the VI-th Russian World Assembly of “Russkiy Mir” held in November, 2012, in Moscow