On June 5, an online marathon was held to mark the International Day of the Russian language. This Day has been celebrated annually around the world since 2010.
The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN in Geneva, the UN Office in Geneva and the Russian Cultural Seasons Foundation with the support of the UN Association of Russia. The co-organizers of the project were the “Theatrical Russia” Project, the Russian Honorary Consulate in Lausanne, Rossotrudnichestvo, the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly and the Content Foundation for the Development of Expert and Analytical activities were.
The teleconference of this format, initiated by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN in Geneva together with the “Theatrical Russia” Project united six Russian cities and several foreign countries. It is an innovative phenomenon from the point of view of diplomatic activity both in terms of the number of participants in the online telethon and the number of audiences from different countries. The online format allowed mastering a new technology that was not used before in diplomacy for a wide range of people.
The online marathon consisted of two parts: a Moscow - Geneva teleconference and a theater telethon with congratulations and screenings of fragments of film versions of performances presented by 12 theaters from different regions of Russia. The format allowed us to cover 504 006 spectators.
The teleconference was attended by Tatyana Valovaya, Director of the UN Office in Geneva; Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Office in Geneva; Maxim Ksenzov, Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation; Anatoly Torkunov, rector of MGIMO, Chairman of the United Nations Association of Russia; Eleonora Mitrofanova, Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States; Anatoly Karpov, Deputy of the State Duma, World Chess Champion; and Francesco Pisano, Head of the UN Library at Geneva.
The online marathon was moderated by Elmira Shcherbakova, General Chair of the Council for International Cultural Cooperation of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, and the producer of the “Theatrical Russia” project. Tatyana Valovaya and Gennady Gatilov stressed that multilingualism is a necessary condition for full-fledged communication between peoples, which ensures the effective movement of all UN working processes.
Director of the UN Office in Geneva Tatyana Valovaya: “Our UN Office in Geneva employs citizens of more than 100 nationalities, they speak 70 languages, and Russian is one of the most popular languages. Many UN staff members use Russian, and I am very, very pleased with this.”
Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Office in Geneva: “On June 6, we celebrate the Russian language Day. It was established in 2010 together with the establishment of holidays dedicated to the official languages of the UN. Traditionally, we celebrate this holiday at the UN Headquarters, but this year, due to the circumstances, we are holding this Day in a video format together with the “Theatrical Russia” project.
For many years, the Russian language has been the basis of spiritual and historical community and original cultures for the peoples of Russia and the world. Today, for our multi-religious country, the feeling of patriotism and love for the Motherland for the native language is truly priceless. And most of all, the language ensures the sovereignty, unity and identity of the Russian nation.
As you know, we will soon vote on the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. It is proposed to fix in the Constitution the Russian language as the state language throughout the Russian Federation. This is a very important amendment in terms of the role and significance of the Russian language in our lives.”
Anatoly Torkunov, Chairman of the Russian Association for UN assistance, MGIMO rector, drew attention to the modern process of adapting the Russian language, when in other countries it is "mastered", becomes local, and is perceived even in a foreign-speaking society as one's own.
The Moscow - Geneva teleconference was held on the platforms of the information partners: the Culture RF portal, the website of the Channel OTR etc. The broadcast was conducted in two languages.
Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Maxim Ksenzov: the Russian Language Day is a celebration that unites all Russian citizens and compatriots who live in other countries. Alexander Pushkin has fully revealed the beauty of the Russian language in his works that is why large-scale educational events are held on this Day. According to the Culture RF portal the section “Poems” contains more than 12 thousand poems of different times. Over the past three months, the section has been viewed by about six million people. It makes the portal the most popular. We are convinced that the participation in this project of dramatic art masters from famous theaters makes a significant contribution to the popularization of the Russian language and the promotion of cultural and world values.”
The Moscow Pushkin Drama Theater opened the theater telethon. The actor Sergei Lanbamin congratulated the participants and passed the baton to Roman Fomin the actor of the Moscow Academic Theater of Mayakovsky . Then the baton was picked up by Yuri Anpilogov the actor of the Modern Theater. The format of the event allowed the audience to get acquainted not only with Moscow theaters: the Kostroma Puppet Theater from was the next. Then the actors of the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater congratulated the audience. Vladimir Kravchenko, artistic Director of the Lipetsk State Academic Drama Theater of L. N. Tolstoy joined them.
A unique equator of the theater telethon became the performance of the world's only repertory the Moscow Gypsy Theater “Romen”. Adeline Plahotnaya and Madina Dubayeva sent their congratulations. After a musical pause, theater and film actor of the Moscow Gorky Art Theater Maxim Dakhnenko, the artistic Director of the Yaroslavl State Drama Theater of F. Volkov, Sergey Puskepalis, joined them. Vladimir Skvortsov, the Chief Director of the Moscow Drama Theater “Man”, continued the series of congratulations, passing the baton to Alexey Yermilyshev Director of the Arkhangelsk Lomonosov Drama Theater. Then actress Maria Stepanova, actors Ivan Bratoev and Mikhail Kuzmin joined the congratulations. The final point of the theater telethon was set by the actors of the Perm Academic “Theater-Theater”.
The decision to hold days of official languages of the United Nations was prompted by a desire to emphasize the importance of multilingualism and cultural diversity in the work of the world organization.
Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Eleonora Mitrofanova: “The annual average number of participants of the holiday events in 98 countries supported by Rossotrudnichestvo exceeds 30 thousand. Today's format allows expanding the audience, and perhaps it should be preserved in the future.”
Viewers saw fragments of the film version of the plays: “The Cherry Orchard” of Moscow Pushkin Drama Theater; “The Uncle's Dream” of Moscow Academic Theater of Mayakovsky; “Is it okay that I’m Chekov” of Modern Teater; “Bear” of Kostroma Puppet Theater; “Eugene Onegin” of Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre; “Uncle Vanya” of Lipetsk State Academic Drama Theatre of L. N. Tolstoy; “Sing, ring, my guitar” of the “Romen”; Theatre “Fathers and Children” of Moscow Gorky Art Theatre; “Moscow-Petushki” of the Yaroslavl Drama Theater of F. Volkov; “Biography” of the Moscow Theatre “Man”; “Vasily Terkin” of the Arkhangelsk Lomonosov Drama Theater; the Musical “Vinyl” of the Perm Academic “Theater – Theater”.
Russian Language Days are held every year in the library of the UN Office in Geneva.
Russian State Duma Deputy and World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov: “We held a lot of musical and poetic events: a Great Russian artist Oleg Pogudin presented the beauty of the Russian language in a romance. Last year we organized a performance of the Moscow Cossack Choir, which showed the power and depth of the Russian language through the Folk Art. Of course, we would like to be in Geneva today, in the halls of the wonderful UN Library, but the today’s reality is that we should be in Moscow under quarantine. I am very grateful to all of you, colleagues, for the interesting and informative conversation we had about the Great Russian language in the new format.”
The broadcast of the online telethon was viewed on the pages of the project's information partners:
- on the Culture RF portal -174,718 viewers in Russian language, 38,908 viewers in English language;
- on the website of Public Television of Russia (ORT) -196,507 viewers,
- at the sites of Rossotrudnichestvo - 74,748 spectators;
- on the TASS platforms and the YouTube channel of the Content Foundation - 19,125 viewers.
A bright gift from the “Theatrical Russia” Project was Alexander Pushkin's poem “I remember a wonderful moment” performed by actors from all the theaters participating in the telethon.
The recording of the broadcast is available for viewing on the portal Culture RF.
The material was prepared by the PR service of the “Theatrical Russia” project Diana Budanova and Elena Mamontova.