The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Book Union signed an agreement of cooperation yesterday. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, the ceremony took place at ministry headquarters in Moscow. The agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and President of the Book Union and Chairman of the Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin.
Mr Ivanov said that the aim of the agreement is 'to unite the efforts of the Foreign Ministry and the largest book union in Russia to enhance the international reputation of the country as a contemporary world power.' He added that the agreement marks the beginning of long-term cooperation between the Russian Foreign Ministry and Russian publishers. The minister explained that the agreement will benefit those Russians living abroad as the ministry and the union will actively seek to increase the number of books available abroad in Russian. Mr Ivanov emphasised that the intellectual potential of a country has a strong influence on its authority and reputation and 'language is at the heart of any culture.' The minister added that 'the Russian language remains one of the most important languages in the world and is spoken by 1.5 billion people.'
Mr Stepashin said this agreement shows that the government is taking an interest in the spread of Russian books abroad. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said, the government was not so active. 'Now we are adopting an aggressive policy to promote the sale of Russian books abroad,' concluded Mr Stepashin.