The "Year of China in Russia" has been widely hailed since it opened in Moscow Tuesday and has drawn attention not only in Russia but across the world.
The theme year, brought under the international media spotlight as a result of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit, continued in earnest Tuesday with the staging of the Chinese National Exhibition -- the biggest comprehensive show China has held abroad in almost three decades.
The theme year is the reciprocal event of 2006's "Year of Russia in China."
"The Chinese National Exhibition shows that it (China) has now recorded a much faster economic growth than the United States," said former Prime Minister Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov.
Contracts worth US$4.3 billion were inked by Chinese and Russian enterprises after the opening ceremony of the exhibition.
The show, one of about 200 events to be held this year to mark the "Year of China" in Russia, occupies a huge hall with more than 20,000 square meters of floor space and showcases some 15,000 products from 30 industries such as energy, machinery, automobile and home appliances.
Gennady Zyuganov, chief of the Russian Communist Party, was deeply impressed by the exhibition, saying Russia should learn from China's rapid development.
"We should learn from China's development experience and turn our eyes away from the pattern of the West, including the United States," said Zyuganov.
Russian TV stations, newspapers and websites broadcasted live or made the opening ceremony of the theme year and the exhibition their lead stories, and highlighted China's achievements in aviation, ship-building, information technology and other sectors.
The Commersant and Rossiskaya Gazeta, two key newspapers in the country, published special issues for the theme year, introducing to their readers an overall view of China, covering various aspects such as politics, foreign policy, economy and trade, history and culture.
The Moscow Times, which also paid much attention to the event, said agreements signed during Hu's visit enhanced closer economic cooperation between the two countries.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said the theme year "will be accompanied by interesting, unique and informative events for the Russians."
The theme year's more than 200 festivities include a cultural festival, an exhibition of fine porcelain and another of treasure from the Forbidden City, as well as acrobatics performances, ballet and Shaolin Kung fu.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2007)