SPEECH BY SERGEY SHOIGU AT THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE RUSSIAN GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY (APRIL 23, 2019, ST. PETERSBURG)
Good afternoon, dear members of the Board of Trustees!
Today we have another meeting of the Board of Trustees at the historical headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society. I congratulate you all on this and would like to give the floor to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich!
To continue the discussion and expand on the subject of domestic tourism, there is really a huge amount of work to be done. But a lot has already been done. And here I cannot help but mention some projects that have already been implemented. And, of course, we will also talk about what we intend to do.
I'll start with the festival, which we hold once every two years. This year it will be held in “Zaryadye”. Here will be represented virtually all corners of our country, all ethnic groups, nationalities. We will show crafts and culture; we will show how people live, how they hunt and fish; how they make, preserve food, how they used to do it; also, what they use for sailing; and much, much more.
The largest exhibition in today's exhibition activities of various tour operators will be presented here. One can hardly find larger tourism event than this one. And we, of course, are preparing for it. We are preparing by conducting various contests; conducting large events, such as voluntary certification of tourist routes.
That is, when those who have traveled some tourist routes are certified and submitted further for expert evaluation. This also includes a lot of expeditions. Each expedition has its own individual character, its goals and tasks. The films, that are made at the end of these expeditions, and the works published, are of great interest to many not only in our country, but also far away abroad. We, of course, are talking about expeditions to Kamchatka and Chukotka, the Shantar Islands, the Kuril Islands Chain; Matua and Shumshu Islands; and about what concerns our part of the Arctic. Some enthusiasts have created a jeep route across the north of our country and invite everyone to participate in these expeditions. There, of course, are our underwater expeditions. The work of finding, studying and presenting to the public those artifacts that represent the history of our country, the history of discoverers, pioneers; but also, no less important, and, perhaps, more important, the history of military glory of our navy and our country.
Of course, it is impossible to retell everything in one short speech. That is why we placed the report of the Russian Geographical Society for 2018 for all on the tables. You can look through it, study it, it is quite voluminous. There is a number of projects that we have been conducting for quite some time. Such as the floating university, a project called “Certification”, and the creation of a fairly serious atlas of the caves of our country. It involves dozens, if not hundreds of expeditions, the study of the issue, we are at the stage completing this great work.
Not so long ago, the work was completed on the healing springs of our country, and, as far as I know, as Nikolai Sergeyevich Kasimov has told me, we have now transferred all this to the publication. We hope that in the near future this large atlas will be released. And all this, of course, includes the attraction of tourists and those who would like to know our country better and in more detail.
In order not to distract you for a long time, I would like to bring to your attention a short film about some of the results of 2018 and then move on to the projects that we intend to conduct in 2019 and subsequent years.
But there everything is very concise, brief. Of course, you can find more details in the reports. The “Geographical Dictation” of the Russian Geographical Society was written in 99 countries. There is a huge number of those who want, know or, perhaps, do not know our country well, but want to know more about it.
I would like to dwell on some projects of the Russian Geographical Society some more.
As you know, at the end of December of this year - January of the next, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by our compatriots, members of the Russian Geographical Society, Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev.
We discovered this continent, and we have always been at the forefront in its research. As you know, the first Soviet scientific stations were created in the 1950s - these are “Mirny” and “Vostok”. Our scientists mapped Antarctica`s mountain ranges, valleys, bays.
The most important geographical discovery in Antarctica, in any case, of today is, of course, Lake Vostok. It was discovered at a depth of almost four kilometers, and this was done by our scientists, including the honorary president of the Russian Geographical Society, Vladimir Mikhailovich Kotlyakov, who is present in this room.
There are currently five permanent Russian research stations in Antarctica. For their successful work, appropriate conditions are needed. The project we are going to tell you about today is the construction of a new wintering complex at “Vostok” station.
* * *
Another important region for our country is, of course, the Arctic. And here we would like to recall and, this year, to carry out a large expedition.
There was such a project, begun in 1949, called “Project 503”, which began in 1949 and was completed in 1953. It is the construction of the Norilsk-Urengoy railway. Many heard about it, many flew over it; but we would like to study it in more detail and, with, perhaps, the prospect of a revival of this project for our country and for the development of Siberia.
Here we made the first reconnaissance trip in order to be able to conduct a large research expedition more consciously.
* * *
You know that the Northeast Passage was of interest not only to travelers and explorers of our country, but also to many others. Those who were involved in the development of the North, mining, trade and many, many other things. Of course, there are enormous prospects there today both for our country and for the creation of the means of communication for cargo transportation. We know quite well of the advantages of the Northeast Passage, but, nevertheless, in 2017, the Russian Geographical Society allocated a media grant to “НТВ” channel for making a film about the Northeast Passage.
* * *
A few words or plans on what we are going to do in 2019. Before I give the floor to those who will present the projects of 2019. We have big plans both on land and underground, both on water and under water. So we, of course, will continue this work thanks to the Board of Trustees, members of the Board of Trustees who have already outgrown the time when they simply gave money. Now they ask for a project, and these projects are carried out directly by the expedition and the publication of scientific researchers.
I'll start with the projects that we will do in 2019. The Center for Underwater Research of the Russian Geographical Society is actively working in the Black Sea, the White Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. We showed the results of the work of this center, as well as the work that is carried out underwater by the Marine Research Center of Moscow State University, and many others. But all this, in one way or another, is connected, naturally, with the study and representation of our country.
* * *
The next project to be done in 2019 is the phenological network of the Russian Geographical Society and innovative methods of teaching geography in schools.
* * *
Another topic, in fact, with which our meeting began, on behalf of Vladimir Vladimirovich, including the Russian Geographical Society, is the conservation and study of rare species of animals.
It's really a lot of work. I think it was two years ago, when we listened to people working with the snow leopard. And they, of course, told about their troubles and problems to Vladimir Vladimirovich. Then there were two problems. The first was the replenishment of the population. At the request of Vladimir Vladimirovich, the President of Tajikistan sent two cats, and today they live, released, in the reserve. And the second problem was, of course, poachers. And not those who went after the snow leopard, but after the Siberian musk deer. As you know, parts of the musk deer are actively acquired by our neighbors – China. And poachers put hundreds of snares (these are mainly guitar strings), hundreds, that, naturally, can’t be checked in a timely manner, and snow leopards also get caught there. This, of course, is a huge problem, which, definitely, must be fought, because it is the most barbaric type of poaching. They walk for months in the mountains, putting these snares. Different animals get trapped there, not just the musk deer: snow leopards, foxes, and Alpine ibexes, all kinds of animals.
In addition to rare species of animals, of course, the Russian Geographical Society and our trustees are engaged in the preservation of historical and cultural heritage. One of them is Fort Ross, a 19th-century Russian heritage on the territory of California, which now has the status of a national historical park. This is a unique place, and not only from a historical and tourist point of view. Today it has become a platform for an active informal dialogue between the public of Russia and the United States of America. The project lives and develops thanks to our trustees.
* * *
In conclusion, we traditionally hold the award ceremony for the most significant projects and those people who have made the greatest contribution to the development of the Russian Geographical Society, to those projects that we are conducting and continue to conduct.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, I invite you to present awards to our colleagues.
* * *
Dear colleagues, we begin or continue the tradition that we started, I think, about five years ago - this is the signing of the globe. It’s name is the “First in Russia”. Naturally, our discoverers left an autograph on it. This is Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova , the first woman in space; and Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov, who was the first to conduct a spacewalk; and many others. Today, I would like to propose to continue this tradition, Vladimir Vladimirovich, to you, as the first chairman of the board of trustees of the Russian Geographical Society.
I also would like to invite Anatoly Mikhailovich Sagalevich and Frederik Paulsen. If the announcer does not say, I will explain why they are signing: because they were the first to put the flag of Russia at the North Pole.
Thank you, colleagues.