Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke highly of the people-to-people contact between Russia and China, saying it helped to promote bilateral relations.
"People's diplomacy has largely helped save the Russian and Chinese peoples' traditional feelings of empathy to each other," he said in a congratulation letter to the 50th anniversary of the Russian-Chinese Friendship Society.
"(It) promoted normalization of inter-state ties and raise them to the level of a trustful partnership and strategic interaction," Kremlin press service quoted him as saying.
"All through these years, the society has been working effectively to strengthen mutual understanding and all-round cooperation with our great neighbor -- the People's Republic of China," Putin said.
Russia and China have hosted two reciprocal theme years since 2006 to further bilateral ties. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is to visit Moscow and put an end to the "Year of China" in Russia early November.
(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2007)