Thursday, 7 July, 2022

Cultural Bonds as Reflection of Mutual Affinity

Cultural Bonds as Reflection of Mutual Affinity

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Russia-Bangladesh cultural cooperation covers a wide range of spheres: theatre, music, literature, visual arts and cinema. Russia attaches utmost importance to sharing its centuries-long rich cultural traditions with the Bangladeshi public through various events. In 2015, the musicians from St. Petersburg Music House brought here the jewels of the Russian classical music. The year 2017 saw the troupe of the acclaimed Russian theatre “Chekhov Studio” performing “The Seagull” and “The Bear” in Dhaka and enjoying an overwhelming response from the Bangladeshi audience. 

The Russian Embassy in Dhaka hosts cultural events on the occasion of national holidays and in commemoration of milestone events in the bilateral history. The Moscow Cossack Choir and the Alexandrov Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Army gave performances in November 2021 and June 2022 respectively by staging a spectacular and memorable show.

Russia and Bangladesh take special pride in promoting their national languages. The International Mother Language Day celebrated on February 21 at the initiative of Bangladesh, provides an excellent opportunity to reiterate that great respect found in our two countries towards the rich literary traditions of each other. To commemorate “Ekushe February” children from the Russian Embassy’s school read poems and take part in art competitions organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Mother Language Institute.

The Asian Arts Biennale and Dhaka International Film Festival serve as vibrant and inspiring platforms for artists from our countries to establish contacts, to share their artistic perspective and professional experience. Russian and Bangladeshi visual artists participate in joint workshops and artistic programs, hold exhibitions in Dhaka and Moscow respectively. Bangladeshi photographers are among frequent awardees of the Andrey Stenin International Photo Contest, held by “Rossiya Segodnya” media group to pay tribute to the Russian journalist killed in a shelling during his assignment in Ukraine, Donetsk, in 2014.

The interest towards Russian classical literature has always been a distinctive feature of the Bangladeshi readership. Regular events commemorating the legacy of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, Alexander Pushkin, Sergey Yesenin, Anton Chekhov and others invariably attract massive numbers of admirers and connoisseurs. Many works by Russian writers and poets have been translated not only to English, but also to Bengali language, enriching the cultural canvas of bilateral relations. It was also heartening to learn that Russian folk tales have been collected in a book titled “Rushdesher Rupkotha”.

In its turn, the Russian society also takes concerted efforts to preserve the memory of the Bengali cultural figures. The monument to Rabindranath Tagore, erected in Moscow, is a symbol of the deep imprint left by this polymath in the minds of the Soviet and Russian peoples. The stories by prominent modern writer Humayun Ahmed “Shobay Geche Bone” and “Himu”, translated into Russian, find interest and admiration especially among those who learn the Bengali language.

This year the Russian audience also had a chance to listen to the live shows of the local artists. The singers from Bangladesh attended Moscow to perform traditional songs in the concert program on May 9 on the “Immortal Regiment” International Stage in the Gorky Park in honour of the Day of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

The governments of our countries pay special attention to large-scale programs showcasing the rich palette of cultural heritage of Russia and Bangladesh. The Days of Russian culture in Bangladesh and the Days of Bangladeshi culture in Russia, held in 2014 and 2015 respectively, have built a bridge for our humanitarian exchanges. The Russian House in Dhaka remains the centre of gravity for numerous Bangladeshis eager to learn about Russian culture and history and holds various educational and cultural events to cater to these needs.