President of the RGS Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoigu
Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoigu was elected President of the Russian Geographical Society in November 2009.
Sergey Shoigu (Extraordinary Congress of the Russian Geographical Society, 17 November 2009): “I spent a lot of time in construction brigades in my youth. It was a wonderful time. There were hiking, singing and playing guitar around the campfire. Even the work did not seem hard for us. I wanted to revive these traditions. And I would like modern youth to be inspired by the spirit of traveling precisely in the native country.
I had previously been interested in the history of the RGS, read about its research, expeditions, but did not know what a difficult economic situation this legendary organization was in... There was a desire to support the Society. And when I received a proposal from the Academic Council and regional departments of the Society to run for the post of President of the Russian Geographical Society, I realized that I could do more, and decided to become a candidate for President of the RGS."
Sergey Shoigu has begun to support the expeditionary, publishing, and educational activities of the Society actively from the moment of his assumption of duties. He initiated the creation of the RGS Youth Club, supported such new large-scale projects as the Geographical Dictation, the photo contest “The Most Beautiful Country”, the RGS Festival, expeditions (“Kyzyl-Kuragino”, “Gogland”, “Tunnug”, and many other).
Sergey Shoigu not only initiates RGS projects and manages their implementation, but also participates in the Society's actions personally: annually checks his knowledge during the Geographical Dictation, he is a member of the jury of the photo contest “The Most Beautiful Country”, and also meets with members of the RGS expeditions.
Sergey Shoigu: “Expeditions are the most fascinating part. For example, another expedition to the Tuva Valley of Kings had ended just recently. The Tunnug kurgan, according to some scientists, is the oldest of the Scythian burial kurgans in Russia, and it hides many secrets. Another RGS expedition ended in the first half of July. It took place in the flooding zone of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station. And there was discovered an ancient mummy dating from about the 1st century BC. But this is only a small part of the RGS, we have much work to do."
The RGS organizes media clubs regularly - meetings with the press, which are often chaired by Sergey Shoigu. The RGS President tells journalists about the most interesting projects of the Society in person. And, in 2018, Sergey Shoigu held a guided tour of the Konstantinovskaya battery for the media representatives in the Crimea. The battery was recently restored with funding from the Russian Geographical Society.
Sergey Shoigu: “When we began work on the battery in 2014, the walls of the fort were almost completely destroyed. It was full of garbage. This made a depressing impression. We restored the historical appearance of the citadel in full accordance with its original drawings, restored the monument to the fallen soldiers, arranged the territory, placed a permanent exhibition. The total area of the premises now stands at 4,500 meters. This is almost as much as in the Central House of Artists in Moscow."
Since Sergey Shoigu assumed the post of President of the RGS, the number of projects of the Society and their participants has increased significantly. Today, the RGS has more than 22 thousand members in Russia and abroad. Regional offices of the Society work in all 85 regions of the Russian Federation. Thousands of volunteers take part in the Society's expeditions. Every year, exhibitions, lectures and film screenings of the Society are attended by millions of people.
Sergey Shoigu: “Today the audience of the projects of the Russian Geographical Society is tens of millions of people in Russia and abroad. According to independent sociological research, the awareness of the Russian Geographical Society among the population has increased almost three times over the past five years. But the most important thing is that the number of people, willing to join the Society and to take part in our activities, is growing rapidly."