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MOSCOW, March 20 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin congratulated Director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Irina Antonova upon her jubilee on Tuesday.
"In Russia and abroad you enjoy deep respect as a talented person of diverse knowledge and a gifted expert in art. During 50 years since you have been Director of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts you made a great contribution to broadening international cultural cooperation. Thanks to your excellent professional skills and energy the Pushkin museum regularly hosts exhibitions which acquaint the public with genuine masterpieces of world art," Putin said in a message of greetings addressed to Irina Antonova, who turns 90 on Tuesday.
"Indeed, I am ten years younger than the museum I head," Antonova told Itar-Tass. "This year we are celebrating the hundredth anniversary since the museum was founded," Antonova said. "All my life was connected with the museum. I was born in Moscow, graduated from Moscow State University and came to work at the museum first as a junior expert and later was gradually promoted to the top position of the museum director. It was the former Soviet minister of culture, Yekaterina Furtseva, who signed a resolution on my appointment on February 13, 1961," Antonova said.
Looking at this elegant woman, who looks young and full of energy, one can hardly believe that she turned 90 on March 20. Irina Antonova is a laureate of many awards, including three Orders of Merit of the 3rd, 2nd and1st degrees. She also has a French title of Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and she is a laureate of a joint award instituted by the president of Russia and the prime minister of Italy.
Irina Antonova does not rest on laurels and remains a very active person. "Being old is no obstacle. I know it from my own experience," she said, adding that one might fade at the age of 30 already. Irina Antonova has a thousand things to do in the run-up to the hundredth anniversary of the Pushkin Museum due on May 31.