Eritrea real clear politics's Weblog

November 30, 2009

Monument to Russian poet opened in Eritrea, East Africa

Filed under: Culture — eritrearealclearpolitics @ 12:50 pm
nov, 29, 2009 12:56 – Itar-Tass (Russia)

ASMARA, Eritrea, November 29 (Itar-Tass) — Thousands of people gathered in the central square of Asmara, the capital of the East African State of Eritrea Saturday for a gala ceremony devoted to the opening of a monument to Alexander Pushkin, the landmark Russian poet of the 19th century, whose great-grandfather was born in this part of the African continent.

Thousands of residents of Asmara gathered for the ceremony in one of the city’s most vivid squares that was given Pushkin’s name five years ago.

The author of the monument is the acclaimed Russian sculptor Nikolai Kuznetsov-Muromsky and the architectural layout of the project was performed by Moscow architects Maria Ozherelyeva and Mikhail Sudakov.

A Russian delegation took part in the event. It was chaired by movie actress Yelena Drapeko, who is a deputy chairperson of the committee for culture at Russia’s State Duma.

The delegation also included the President of the Russian-Eritrean Friendship Society, Igor Novosyolov, the Vice-President of the same society, Valery Melnikov, experts from the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and a group of Russian reporters.

The organizers invited the Russian ambassador in Asmara, Igor Chubarov, to attend.

On the Eritrean side, the list of VIP participants included Asmara mayor Tevelde Kelati, government officials, and the Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Abune Dioskoros.

A capsule with soil from Pushkin’s grave at the Holy Mountains Monastery in Russia’s North-West Pskov region was laid at the foundation of the monument.

“Welcome to the homeland of your ancestors, dear Alexander Sergeyevich,” Mayor Kelati exclaimed in his speech.

Yelena Drapeko read out an address by the Duma Speaker, Boris Gryzlov.

The architectural ensemble of Pushkin Square in Asmara will change in the future, as a compound of the Russian Cultural Center with a library, a bookstore, a club and a school of the Russian language to be built there.

Pushkin’s works translated into the Eritrean language of Tigrinya have been entered in the curricula of Eritrean general schools as of this year.

Russia and Eritrea, which had been a province of Ethiopia before previously, established diplomatic relations in May 1993.

Many of the current government officials in this country graduated from Soviet universities and colleges, and today’s Russia continues issuing grants to Eritrean students.

The Eritrean authorities have signed protocols of cooperation with a number of Russian colleges, including the MGIMO University of Diplomacy.

Eritrean President Isaias Aferwerke said in an interview with Itar-Tass that the opening of a monument to Pushkin in Asmara is an important event in the country’s cultural life and a milestone for bilateral relations.

“This action doesn’t mean at all that Eritrea is making claims of any kind to kinship with the great poet’s ancestors but it definitely testifies to the interest towards our own history and to the respect we pay to this outstanding poet.


(c) 2009 Itar-Tass. All Rights Reserved

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