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Russian envoy to US highlights importance of cultural exchanges between countries

"The amount of Russophobia in the American media has been unprecedented in recent years", the diplomat said
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Valery Sharufulin/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Valery Sharufulin/TASS

NEW YORK, November 16. /TASS/. Development of cultural ties between Russia and the United States suits interests of the both states, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in a letter published by The New York Times on Friday.

"The amount of Russophobia in the American media has been unprecedented in recent years. While anti-Russian rhetoric is used for internal political struggles in the United States from time to time, this propaganda campaign has reached absurd levels, spilling over into areas that have little to do with politics," the ambassador underlined in his letter. "Russian culture is portrayed as a powerful tool of the Kremlin to manipulate American public opinion and burnish the image of Russia. The allegations have been substantiated by zero evidence."

"Our countries can develop stereotype-free perceptions of each other only through frequent and authentic cultural exchanges, and most important, by shaping the common values that are necessary for ensuring a safe and prosperous future for the entire world," Antonov emphasized. "Russia and the United States, as the largest nuclear powers and permanent members of the Security Council, bear a special responsibility for this. The mutual isolation that has gripped politics and economic issues should not affect our cultural relations. It is important to stop seeking political expediency and consider both countries’ long-term interests. Everyone benefits from greater cultural understanding between our two countries now and far into the future," the ambassador concluded.

The New York Times notes that the diplomat sent this letter in response to an article entitled "Has a U.S. College Given Russia Too Friendly a Platform?" published last week. It enlists claims put forward by a number of people particularly alleging that the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History at American University is too close to the Russian embassy in the US. According to those quoted in the article, the institute tells its students about the Russian culture and history in an over-favorable fashion.

At the same time, the article also includes comments by representatives of the Carmel Institute and American University who rejected these claims. University history professor Eric Lohr pointed out that "the worse the relationship is in politics, the more important it is to see the other side of the enemy.".