The "Year of China" provided a unique opportunity for Russians to learn about Chinese culture, a renowned Russian Sinologist said yesterday.
Alexey Voskresensky, a professor at the Institute of International Relations in Moscow, said: "Chinese culture is splendid and magnificent, but the majority of Russians are not familiar with it."
An overwhelming proportion of Russians have inadequate knowledge and understanding of China, he said.
About 72 percent of Russians have never had any contact with Chinese people, Voskresensky said, citing a poll conducted by a Russian foundation in February.
"Russians crave Chinese culture but their enthusiasm is hampered by a lack of convenient conditions and venues," he said.
The holding of a "Year of China" in Russia, a series of cultural and economic events, which began in March, "has laid a solid foundation for further broadening Sino-Russian cultural exchanges," he said.
The "Year of China", which ended yesterday, was the second reciprocal "national theme year" organized between China and Russia.
A "Year of Russia" was held in 2006, in China.
"The activities have been a huge success," the professor said.
He said he had been impressed by the variety of activities held during the eight-month-long festival.
The performances put on during the cultural and economic exchange gala, which displayed the abundant forms of Chinese art and culture, "dazzled Russian audiences" he said.
"Those performances have truly enhanced Russian people's understanding of the history and present state of Chinese art and culture," he said.
Also, China's participation in the 20th Moscow international book fair, at which an array of Chinese contemporary literature and science books were exhibited, has aroused attention from Russia's scientific and literary circles," Voskresensky said.
The holding of university art festivals by students in the two countries and the establishment of several Confucius institutes provided a valuable platform for spreading Chinese culture and facilitating student exchanges, he said.
Russians' interest in Chinese culture "is steadily intensifying" thanks to the "Year of China" events, he said. The translation and publication of Chinese books, he said, was also becoming increasingly popular in Russia.
He said he hoped the current cultural exchange momentum could be maintained in the future.
"More importantly, (we should encourage) more and more people to participate in promoting and strengthening Russia-China exchanges."
(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2007)