Rus­sia and Kur­dis­tan

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

A high rank­ing del­e­ga­tion from the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion vis­ited Kur­dis­tan Re­gion last week and met with Re­gion’s top of­fi­cials.

The del­e­ga­tion that in­cluded Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s En­voy to the Mid­dle East and Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Mikhail Bog­danov, Chair­man of Gazprom Neft, Alexander Dyukov, and Deputy En­ergy Min­is­ter, Yuri Sen­tyurin, met with Kur­dish Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani.

Dring the meet­ing Bog­danov praised the role of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) and the Pesh­marga in the fight against Is­lamic State. He also de­liv­ered ‘Sto­ried Land: Kur­dish Cul­ture through the Eyes of Rus­sian Schol­ars’, an aca­demic look at the his­tory of Kurds, writ­ten by Rus­sian au­thors, to Pres­i­dent Barzani.

“When Kurds moved to Rus­sia in the mid-20th cen­tury, the po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural re­la­tions be­tween Kur­dis­tan and Rus­sia im­proved and we would like to take th­ese re­la­tions for­ward.”

The del­e­ga­tion also met with Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani, where they high­lighted his­toric re­la­tions be­tween Kur­dis­tan and Rus­sia, and their in­ten­tion to strengthen those re­la­tions, par­tic­u­larly in the eco­nomic and cul­tural fields.

The Chair­man of Gazprom Neft, Mr. Dyukov, briefed Prime Min­is­ter Barzani on the ac­tiv­i­ties and progress the com­pany has achieved in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, ex­press­ing his sat­is­fac­tion with the level of co­op­er­a­tion his com­pany re­ceives from the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment, es­pe­cially the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Mr. Dyukov an­nounced that Gazprom Neft plans to raise the vol­ume of his com­pany’s in­vest­ment in the Re­gion.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani ex­pressed to the del­e­ga­tion his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for their visit and for or­ga­niz­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony for in­tro­duc­ing of the book, “The Na­tion of Epics: Kur­dish Cul­ture in the Eyes of Rus­sian Schol­ars”, which was com­piled and writ­ten by schol­ars from the Rus­sian In­sti­tute of Ori­en­tal Stud­ies and the Rus­sian In­sti­tute of Ori­en­tal Manuscripts, and pub­lished by Gazprom Neft.

He re­it­er­ated that cul­tural re­la­tions will lead to strength­en­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tions. He ex­pressed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion for its readi­ness to fur­ther de­velop re­la­tions with Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani also dis­cussed the war against the Is­lamic State ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion, and the courage and brav­ery of Pesh­marga forces who counter this threat.

He pointed out that due to this bru­tal con­flict the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion en­dures a heavy eco­nomic bur­den that has been made even more dif­fi­cult due to in­ad­e­quate re­ceipt of agreed Bud­get share from the Iraqi Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment. He em­pha­sized this short­fall is oc­cur­ring at the time when the KRG serv­ing the needs of more than 1.5 mil­lion dis­placed peo­ple who fled to the Re­gion seek­ing refuge from the con­flict. The dra­matic decline in oil prices has com­pounded the bur­den.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani ex­pressed his hope that the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion will as­sist the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to ef­fec­tively pass through this very dif­fi­cult pe­riod.

Dur­ing the visit, the Rus­sian del­e­ga­tion also at­tended a cer­e­mony for the an­nounce­ment of the book “The Na­tion of Epics: Kur­dish Cul­ture in the Eyes of Rus­sian Schol­ars”, which was or­ga­nized at the Saad Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Er­bil on Sun­day, May 17, 2015.

Pres­i­dent Barzani, PM Barzani, Deputy PM Qubad Tal­a­bani and other KRG of­fi­cials and min­is­ters at­tended the cer­e­mony.

Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Bog­danov de­liv­ered a speech at the be­gin­ning of the cer­e­mony, in which he talked about Mustafa Barzani’s stay in Rus­sia in the mid-20th cen­tury, as well as the his­tor­i­cal re­la­tion be- tween the two na­tions.

Bog­danov also praised the au­thors and pub­lish­ers of the book.

Gazprom Neft Chair­man Dyukov also de­liv­ered a speech and talked about his com­pany’s op­er­a­tions in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and the com­pany’s fu­ture plans in the Re­gion.

Dyukov said eco­nomic re­la­tions are as im­por­tant as other re­la­tions be­tween the two na­tions.

He said that Kur­dish his­tory has at­tracted the Rus­sian na­tion. He added that when Pres­i­dent Barzani vis­ited Rus­sia two years ago, he met him. Af­ter see­ing all the doc­u­ments and scripts they de­cided to pub­lish this book.

Dyukov an­nounced that his com­pany’s next project would be pub­lish­ing an en­cy­clo­pe­dia of the Kur­dish and Rus­sian His­tory and a doc­u­men­tary film.

PM Barzani also gave a speech to the at­ten­dants, in which he wel­comed the del­e­ga­tion again and told a Rus­sian say­ing that says “the same way that feath­ers make a pea­cock beau­ti­ful, cul­ture and en­light­en­ment make hu­mans beau­ti­ful.”

He also said that the visit and the pub­li­ca­tion of the book are proofs that Rus­sia and Kur­dis­tan would like to im­prove their mu­tual ties and cul­tural ex­change.

“Cul­ture is the lan­guage of na­tions, is an in­vi­ta­tion for dia­logue and in­tro­duc­tion, is a sign of orig­i­nal­ity of hu­man­ism in build­ing in­for­ma­tion bridge and es­tab­lish­ing the citadel of knowl­edge and science,” said PM Barzani.

Talk­ing about the new book, PM Barzani said this adds a lot of value to the Kur­dish his­tory and cul­ture as it col­lects his­tor­i­cal pho­tos and doc­u­ments from Rus­sian Schol­ars about the Kurds and have been pre­served at Rus­sia’s in­sti­tutes and mu­se­ums.

“If Europe is the place for Ori­en­tal­ism in gen­eral, Rus­sia is def­i­nitely the place for stud­ies about Kurds,” said PM Barzani. “Due to its ge­o­graph­i­cal prox­im­ity to Kur­dis­tan, Rus­sia has been able to es­tab­lish strong re­la­tions with the Kur­dis­tani na­tion. We know that ori­en­tal­ism has a long his­tory in Rus­sia and a large num­ber of ori­en­tal­ists work­ing on Kur­dish stud­ies in Europe were from Rus­sia and have grad­u­ated there.”

Dur­ing his speech, Barzani men­tioned Vladimir Mi­norsky, an ori­en­tal­ist who is well known among Kur­dish schol­ars.

He said Mi­norsky did a lot of valu­able work on Kur­dish geog­ra­phy and his­tory dur­ing the past cen­tury. He also men­tioned that Mikhail Lazarev, who wrote about Kurds from the end of 19th cen­tury till the end of the World War II.

Barzani talked about the im­pact of the Rus­sian clas­sic po­etry and lit­er­a­ture on Kur­dish po­ets and schol­ars, in­clud­ing the great Kur­dish poet Ab­dulla Go­ran.

Kur­dish PM en­cour­aged Kur­dish schol­ars, writ­ers and pro­fes­sors of his­tory, lit­er­a­ture to do re­search on the scripts that be­long to Kur­dis­tan and are a na­tional trea­sure and are pro­tected in Rus­sia’s mu­se­ums.

At the end of his speech, PM Barzani said they value their re­la­tions with Rus­sia and would like to im­prove their po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, and cul­tural re­la­tions for the ben­e­fit of both na­tions.

“I hope cul­ture can be used as a soft weapon for peace, and estab­lish­ment of a civ­i­lized so­ci­ety on the ba­sis of un­der­stand­ing and pro­vid­ing a life full of dig­nity and jus­tice for all the na­tions of the world.”

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