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MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs and Compatriots has recommended ratification of a Russian-Ukrainian agreement on information and cultural centers. The house may consider the ratification on March 13.
The agreement was signed in 1998 and ratified in Ukraine a year later, Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said. “This is our duty to Ukraine to ratify the agreement,” he said.
The ratification will start a new phase in cultural exchange and create additional possibilities for Russia’s humanitarian expansion, he said.
“The agreement lays down a foundation for opening new cultural centers. There are only two cultural centers now, one in Moscow and the other in Kiev,” he said. Slutsky said that the opening of new centers should start from Lvov, which had been dominated by nationalist feelings. “Russian cultural centers will be very important there,” he said.
Deputy head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation Georgy Muradov agreed with the opinion. “In fact, cultural centers are a very powerful tool of influence if they are developed properly,” he said. The centers interact directly with compatriots and non-governmental organizations. “Such centers opened across Ukraine can prompt a shift to pro-Russian feelings,” he said.
The Russian government submitted the agreement to the parliament for ratification in January 2012. The document aims to create an international legal foundation for the opening of cultural centers in both states and for the promotion of humanitarian, cultural and historical relations.
The centers will hold exhibitions and form public councils and clubs. They will also assist language teachers and researchers.