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Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

Russia and China open cross years of culture

May 16, 2024, Beijing

Vladimir Putin and President of the PRC Xi Jinping made a speech at the gala concert devoted to the 75th anniversary of Russia-China diplomatic relations and the opening of Russia and China’s years of culture.

The event took place in China’s National Grand Theatre.

* * *

Xi Jinping (retranslated): Ladies and gentlemen, friends, good evening.

I am delighted to join you in attending the opening ceremony for the Year of Culture of China and Russia, and a concert in honour of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Last year, President Putin and I agreed to declare 2024 and 2025 Years of Culture of China and Russia. I am confident that the array of vibrant events commencing today will serve as an additional impetus to deepening the centuries-old Chinese-Russian friendship and fostering greater mutual understanding between our nations.

This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. The incredible path we have traversed – a path that spans three quarters of a century – convinces us that the continuous strengthening and development of eternal good-neighbourliness, comprehensive strategic interaction, and mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and China meets the fundamental interests of our countries and peoples, and aligns with the trends set by the international community and the times. The importance of the unchanging relationship between China and Russia is difficult to overestimate.

As one of the cherished traditions of cultural and humanitarian ties between China and Russia, the thematic years are a distinctive feature and an outstanding factor in the chronicle of our bilateral relations, enjoying great popularity among the people in our countries. The ninth cross year organised by the two countries includes various engaging events and humanitarian exchanges, which provide opportunities to use the potential of bilateral cooperation in the cultural sphere and open new horizons for cultural and humanitarian ties between China and Russia.

Music unites the hearts of like-minded people. In Chinese culture, it is traditionally perceived as a language of friendship and a means to express feelings and emotions. Russia’s musical culture boasts a rich and long history and has tremendous appeal. The folk music of China and Russia holds a special place in the flourishing garden of global civilisation.

Today, on this stage, the talented musicians from China’s State Orchestra of Folk Music and Russia’s Nikolai Osipov Orchestra [Nikolai Osipov National Academic Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments] will perform together not only those Russian melodies that enjoy immense popularity in China, including “Evenings near Moscow” and “Katyusha,” but also excerpts from unique Chinese musical compositions with an Eastern flavour, such as “A Fisherman’s Evening Song” and “Flowers are Beautiful and the Moon is Full.”

Today’s musical performance will undoubtedly leave a vibrant mark in the history of cultural exchanges between China and Russia.

Let us further strengthen our traditional friendship within the framework of the years of culture, and as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries, let us forge ahead together, infuse our comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction in a new era with fresh content, and, hand in hand, open a new and wonderful chapter in the history of friendship between China and Russia.

Thank you.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Esteemed President Xi Jinping! Dear friend! Ladies and gentlemen,

I certainly agree with President Xi Jinping – 75 years of diplomatic relations is an important anniversary for our countries. I would like to recall that the Soviet Union was the first state to recognise the People’s Republic of China – on the following day after its establishment.

Our country rendered large-scale assistance at the initial stage of the development of the new Chinese state and facilitated the consolidation of its independence and sovereignty. We are certainly glad that the Chinese people managed to make such impressive achievements in developing their country and fill their ancient civilisation with powerful life energy under the leadership of the Communist Party.

Seventy five years is a short period of time by the yardstick of centuries-long history of Russia and China, but during this period we managed to achieve serious results, amass the priceless experience of close, goodneighbourly interaction that embraced joint successes and achievements as well as important historical lessons.

I apologise for talking at length and not giving an interpreter the time to do his job but I feel at home and decided everyone speaks Russian here.


Allow me to continue. The main thing has always remained unchanged − the traditions of Russian-Chinese friendship, which has stood the test of time and continues to strengthen for the benefit of the peoples of our two countries. We can be justly proud of the fact that Russian-Chinese relations have now reached the highest level in history and have acquired the character of genuine comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction.

They provide a model of cooperation between neighbouring countries, which is based on mutual consideration of interests, respect and trust of each other.

Importantly, Russian-Chinese partnership is continuously growing, improving and diversifying owing to new formats and areas. Its regulatory framework is expanding.

Symbolically, such a large-scale joint project as the years of culture of Russia and China has been timed to the anniversary of our bilateral relations. The programme of our cross years is very extensive. It includes guest performances of capital and regional theatres, circus and cinema festivals, museum and library exhibitions and forums, fairs of culture and art, and sports competitions.

I would like to emphasise that this programme also includes China’s national contest for the knowledge of the Russian language. I am sure that all these events will receive an enthusiastic response in China. Indeed, the names of Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff are well known in China.

The President of the People’s Republic of China recalled popular Soviet songs today – “Evenings near Moscow” and “Katyusha.” However, I know that other melodies will also sound today. Incidentally, I have heard more than once how our Chinese friends emotionally sing these well-known and popular tunes not only in our country but also in China.

In turn, in Russia the interest in Chinese culture is not limited to the use of Chinese motives in décor, architecture, study of the Chinese language, tea ceremonies, the art of making china, or say, in wushu. Modern Chinese cinema, painting. and books by Chinese authors are becoming increasingly more popular.

The suggested programme is not limited to Moscow and St Petersburg, Beijing and Shanghai. It covers many cities and regions of the two countries. This means that many people will receive an opportunity to know each other and will be involved in mutual communication.

We have talked now about music melodies and songs. But these events are devoted to the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations. A well-known song of that time – 75 years ago − is often performed today. It has a sentence that has become a catch phrase – “Russian and Chinese are brothers forever.” I am confident that we will continue strengthening harmonious Russia-China partnership in this fraternal spirit.

We will continue acting in unison for the sake of the successful development of our two countries and prosperity of our peoples with a view to enhancing the authority and influence of Russia and China in the world. Our cooperation has limitless opportunities and prospects. We are strong enough to cope with any obstacles and implement most ambitious plans.

I wish you success in all planned undertakings and thank you for your attention.

May 16, 2024, Beijing