In the French capital Paris on Wednesday, October 19, was opened the Russian spiritual and cultural center. The ceremony, which was headed by Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky, was attended by the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, and representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, reports TASS. Initially it was assumed that the centre will open the presidents of Russia and France Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande, the French leader on the background of aggravation of relations with Russia over Syria has refused from participation in the solemn events which ultimately led to the cancellation of the visit of Putin to Paris.
But the Russian leader did not leave without attention the opening of the center and sent to the participants of the ceremony, the greeting, the text of which is reproduced on the website of the Kremlin. In the message read out Medina, said that “the creation of this unique complex has become a visible testimony to the strength of cultural and humanitarian relations of France and Russia, the mutual desire of our countries to continue this constructive dialogue”.
“The project approval process was not easy, but the continued support of the French state allowed to perform all the work as scheduled”, – said Putin. Operating Affairs of the President of the Russian Federation Alexander Kolpakov in an interview with TASS said that Moscow fully satisfied with the work done by the French construction company Bouygues.
The complex of buildings with the five-domed Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in the centre was erected on the Quai Branly in the historic centre of the French capital in 2014. The author of the project was the French architect Jean-Michel Wilmot. Previously, the cost of construction of the Russian authorities was estimated at 90 million euros. Plot of land for construction of the center was acquired by the office of the President of the Russian Federation in 2010.
On a total area of 4.2 thousand square meters accommodates four objects. In addition to the Orthodox Church, in the buildings of the centre will be open the exhibition center, school and diocesan administration building with a concert hall and living quarters for priests and staff of the cultural section of the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
As noted by RFI, the center was built “in an extremely respectable Paris”. The Russian center is located close to the Eiffel tower, the Branly Museum, the Grand Palais and the Paris Museum of modern art.
“Showcase of Russian civilization and the project of all Parisians”
Present at the opening ceremony of the center officials did not skimp on the expression of enthusiasm. So, Metropolitan Anthony, handing the audience a hearty congratulations from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, called the event historic. In turn, the Ambassador of Russia in France Alexander Orlov said that the centre is a “showcase of Russian civilization, a meeting place of people professing different faiths and hold different political points of view.” “They will come back to talk about Russia, Europe, about the future of our world,” said TASS diplomat.
The mayor of the Seventh district Rashida Dati emphasized that the complex became a “project of all Parisians.” “It’s not only the creed, but also a monument, which will have high artistic value,” she said. According to the mayor, the authors of the project was a difficult task to fit a new building into an architectural landscape that is part of a UNESCO world heritage site, and with the mission they did.
The opening of the center was an exhibition about the history of relations between Russia and France in the twentieth century. In addition, on Wednesday in the center on the Quai Branly will begin the XVIII annual Congress of the world Association of Russian press (WARP). A large audience is the opening of the complex will gather 250 delegates from 64 countries. Topic of discussion will be current issues of Russian-language media abroad, the issues associated with freedom of speech and protection of journalists ‘ rights.
The center opened amid growing tensions between Moscow and Paris
Recall, preparing for the opening of the center was accompanied by events, attesting to the growing tensions between France and Russia. October 11 it became known about the cancellation of Putin’s visit to Paris. Five days before that, the Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before talks in Moscow with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault announcedthat Putin will visit Paris on October 19. According to the French press, Paris actually put before the fact – it looked as if Putin “asked for it”.
The next day, Russia put its veto on France introduced a resolution in the Security Council of the UN demand to stop bombing of Aleppo and a military aircraft fly over the city. Prior to that, Hollande warned that the lock document discreditied a country that will try to veto, and make her responsible for the continuation of the war in Syria.
After it was vetoed, Hollande said he has not yet decidedwhether Putin personally during his visit. He questioned the usefulness of such meetings in the present circumstances. The next day it became known about the cancellation of Putin’s visit. Press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin will not go to Paris because of the agenda had a number of events, including the opening of a Russian spiritual and cultural center.
Meanwhile, a source Reuters in the administration of the President of France announced that Paris was willing to accept Putin’s condition that his visit be devoted to the situation in Syria, and Hollande will not participate in any other events. In Moscow considered that as unacceptable and decided to cancel the visit. Putin last week urged France not to take offense at the use of the veto on a resolution on Syria in the UN security Council.
Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande on Wednesday will meet in the German capital. Together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, they will discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the Donbass. At the same time as in Moscow and in Berlin declared that do not expect breakthrough from the meeting of “Norman Quartet.”