Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Rome
An interview with representative Mr.Oleg Ossipov
by Ivan De Stefano
Distinguished Mr. Ossipov, cultural bonds between Russia and Italy date back over 500 years ago, what intercultural projects stand as basis to the connection Russia/Italy nowadays?
The connections’ history between Russia and the Country of the Apennines’ peninsula is an ancient and eventful one. During the 12th century zar Aleksej Michajlovic sent in Venice the first Russian ambassador, Ivan Cemodanov. But even before an envoy of venetian Doge visited Russia. Later in 15th century came in Italy from Russia iron, hemp, linen, hides, wax, furs, caviar. Merchants from Italy brought oil, silk, wool, dried fruit, lemons, chocolate but also tissues, statues, mosaics, prints.
Both life and works of many exponents of Russian culture are bond to Italy. Gogol’ wrote in Rome the final chapters of “Dead Souls”. Karl Brjullov, author of “The last day of Pompeii” was acclaimed by Italians in the streets. Ivan Turgenev started in Rome the novel “A noble nest”. In Florence Dostoevskij completed the drawing up of the novel “The Idiot”. Composer Petr Cajkosvkij was inspired by Florence and Naples. Another Russian composer, Michail Glinka, had an excellent mastery of Italian tongue. The demonstration of the steadiness and solidity of cultural connections between the two Countries was the year 2011, that was declared Year of Russian culture and tongue in Italy and Year of Italian culture and tongue in Russia. Italian is studied in about a sixties schools in different Russian cities. Moreover twinnings are born between schools that communicate virtually to realize teaching programs in common.
A basic support in developing bilateral relationships is given from Federal Agency Rossotrudnichestvo, from Foundation “Russkij mir” and from Italian Culture Institute in Moscow and St. Pietroburgo. In 2011 was inaugurated in Rome the Russian Culture and Science Centre. In 2010 Italy and Russia have also subscribed the Agreement of Acknowledge for attesting qualifications which, however, hasn’t been ratified from the Italian part yet. Closer interparliamentary relationships could encourage an acceleration in the ratifying process. This would mean an increase in mobility for graduates because they could continue their formation in the chosen Country freely and undertake the research course of study, the master. The students’ mobility realized during the process of Bologna should be integrated with bonds and interactions at the professors’ level, an essential thing to do to settle curricula and, then, intensify the double degrees practise. Tourism needs a special attention. Italian travellers should visit not only Moscow and St. Pietroburgo, but also other cities which can claim a rich history. This is the way to develop cultural tourism, to give the chance to know thorough the faceted history and culture of Russia. Inside the to-do matters we would have information campaigns to carry on in many Italian regions to suggest and show to Italian people some itineraries in Russia. But first of all sanctions and countersanctions should be abolished as they cause our Countries billionaire damages. I personally know some Italian tour operators that have been ruined by such a politic. I hope their misfortunes could end soon. Nowadays about 30 subjects of Russian federation have signed agreements with Italian regions. Regional administrations should implement the experience of those who produced specialised agencies for the attraction of investments and the support of investors. Between the targets of those agencies there are: the spreading information about the attractiveness of Russian Federation’s subjects, the detection and captivation of investors, the developing favourable trends in cooperation and the formation of substructures to sustain concrete projects.
Russian Cultural Centre features a library with more than 5000 literary issues and many excellent courses such as dancing, children’s theatre, singing, acting and Russian tongue. Can you deepen about the standards of selection of teachers and about the level of preparation you do guarantee to aspirants?
We enlace work relationships only with professionals, as we are first of all responsible for those who attend our courses and studies. Between our art pupils there are a lot of children and children, you know, sense falsity straight away. Besides we favour as co-operators our fellow citizens: we are a Russian Culture Centre, then also art subjects are taught in a “Russian key”. We were bound to reject proposals to start courses of Argentinean tango, Irish step and more, including the proposal of a Canadian TV journalist.
We are strongly convinced that also Russian tongue teaching requires a mother tongue, it can’t have just an excellent formation. Indeed we invited to coordinate the Russian courses Irina Dvizova, who teaches since years at the Università degli Studi in Florence. She has a structural and applied linguistic degree awarded with magna cum laude at Foreign Tongues Institutes of Minks. After she moved to Italy she accomplished the course of study in Letters at Florence’s University graduating with 110 and praise in Slavic philology. Her interests go from intercultural communication to literature’s translation.
The “Orfeo” sing school is lead by Julija Zykova, graduated cum laude at Russian drama arts Academy (GITIS). Leading acting school “Actors’ Academy” is Natalia Florenskaja, graduated cum laude at Russian cinematography Public University (VGIK). Also the artistic director of the dance school “Joy” Tatiana Chuprina, Ukrainian citizen, has a degree cum laude. Creator and curator of Painting school is Daria Stepanova, designer who has studied at Moscow Design and Services Public University.
The culture of a Nation is the heritage on which is founded the spiritual and formative enrichment of future generations, may we esteem a Country’s culture as the highest economic value to invest on?
I would avoid to refer to culture in terms of a potential of investments. Artworks sprout in an inspiration’s surge, they hold a supreme enlightening. In those instants the last worry of all for an authentic composer, artist or writer is the thought about his masterwork’s quotation on auction. Rather his mind is on the Beautiful Lady or inspired by his country’s army triumph on the enemy. I am leaving behind mass-culture whose meaning is, in the end, to obtain profits.
About financing culture, in my opinion, the establishment should produce the habitat where talented people can realize themselves. History tells us that often masterpieces were conceived and realized in garrets or dark basements, or again in garages, and that their authors were vagabonds before being renowned.
In human history there were periods of darkness but also of enlightening, joy, happiness: just think about Renaissance or fifties-seventies years of 20th century. What is due to Neorealism in Italian cinema and the cinematographic boom in other European countries? San Remo festival’s success? The flourishing of literature, arts and design during the sixties? Reasons are that 20 years later the most bloodshed war in humanity history Europe and the whole world had recovered: hereafter a peaceful life were unravelling.
Answering your question I may say that in present conditions of oppressing conscience, of disregard, of total absence of spirituality, of the poor hoax given by Internet and mass-medias, of the storming of consumer’s “culture” and insipid TV serials the new Leonardo and Puskin will struggle to be born.
How does Your Country stimulate international university formation?
Russian universities admit regularly foreign students following bilateral agreements between athenaeums at favourable conditions from the point of view of courses’ expenses, of room and board. But since some years, thanks to Russian government’s decisions, there is the chance to study in Russia for free. Requiring and acceptation’s procedure is simplified by informative portal www.russia.study. Russian centres for Culture and Science have in this venture a basic role: they spread information and they enter in the applicant’s selection. In the last three years Russian federation has accepted enquiries from 15 thousands foreign citizens per year. As for formation areas it would be difficult to list them all: from engineering courses to natural sciences, from mathematic studies to philology and russistic, from medicine to culture.
Russian technology and research are world-classes, on which new projects Your Country is aiming to, for medium- and long-terms?
In Russia the 8th February is Science Day. On this recurrence are remembered various savants whose science’s provision is invaluable: from Lomonosov to Lev Landau. Past Russian science’s triumphs are honoured too. Russia is the birth land of biosphere theory, here the first artificial satellite was launched (indeed, Russian word “Sputnik” is worldwide), here the first nuclear power-plant were projected and activated. Since the scuttle in 90ies and the crisis in 2008, nowadays in Russia are refreshing industries and sciences, also high-tech.
In 2000-2010 decade physics from Reunited Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (near Moscow) obtained 6 of the heaviest chemical elements with numbers 113-118. Two of those elements have already been named: element 114 – Flerovio, element 116 – Livermorio. On 7th June at Irkutsk was introduced the new medium-range passenger plane MS-21, that can be used in every climate area without seasonal interruptions. There have been built 2 kinds of aero-bus: the first is designed to charge from 132 to 165 passengers, while the second one can hold from 163 to 211 people. Planes’ family MS-21 is realized to replace the today pool of Tu-204, Tu-154B/M and their occidental counterparts: Boeing 737 and A320.
Lately the prime minister of Russia, Dimitrij Medvedev signed the Decree about guarantees on leasing purchasing of short-track passengers’ planes Sukhoi Superjet-100. On May the first Sukhoi Superjet-100 were delivered to Irish airline CityJet.
In 2010 Siberian archaeologists, led by academic Anatolij Derevjanko, discovered, during excavations in the cave Denisova in Altaj, some remnants of an extinct human kind. Until that moment scholars knew only two kinds of superior ancient humanity: Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man, but GNA examination of the Siberian find confirmed: 40 thousands years ago in Eurasian continent lived a third kind called, accordingly, Denisova Man.
On 28th April was launched, successfully, the first spaceship from Cosmodrome “Vostocnyj”, situated in far east. This is the first Russian Cosmodrome of civil aeronautic.
As before we remain leaders in military aviation and in producing helicopters, in metalworker industries for nuclear segment and in piloted spaceships. Our KAMAZ use to win Dakar’s races, rocket-launchers for antiaircraft defence Triumf have no equals for accuracy, while submariners Kilo-class are the most silent in the world.