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Official website of the President of Russia

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Visit to Milan

September 30, 2011, Italy

Svetlana Medvedeva opened the traditional Russian Evening in Milan and learned about the work of Instituto Clinico Humanitas, an innovative medical centre in the city of Rozzano, Italy. She also attended a concert of Russian sacred music.

The Russian Evening was held for the sixth time as part of the St Petersburg and Milan Sister Cities programme, coinciding with current reciprocal Years of Culture in Russia and Italy.

“It is symbolic this large-scale project was officially launched at the beginning of the year by Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi and President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. I am certain that this kind of attention from heads of state highlights the significance of humanitarian and cultural connections in developing our nations’ full set of bilateral relations,” Ms Medvedeva remarked.

“You have a great expression: We search with our minds but we find with our hearts. It truly characterises the affinity, genuine interest and sympathy that our nations’ people have felt toward one another over the course of many centuries,” Svetlana Medvedeva added, speaking to the guests – prominent representatives of Italy’s cultural, political, and business communities.

The First Lady remarked that the programme of national years covers culture, education, sports, science, and the economy, with events taking place in different cities. “This allows our citizens to get better acquainted with one another and enrich bilateral cooperation through new ideas and projects, so we will continue broadening our humanitarian ties. After all, they allow us not only to see into our past, but also build our future with greater certainty,” Svetlana Medvedeva concluded.

The St Petersburg and Milan Sister Cities Project is aimed at developing trade, economic and cultural relations between the two cities. It is being implemented by the Socio-Cultural Initiatives Foundation, International Programmes Directorate, Fund for Promotion of Italian-Russian Relations supported by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of St Petersburg, in association with Milan’s Mayor’s Office, Italy’s National Chamber of Fashion, and the Russia-Italy-Lombardy Association. Ms Medvedeva has put in an enormous amount of work to make her hometown of St Petersburg more accessible to the people of Milan, who are able to enjoy Russian art every year through St Petersburg Days events. In 2008, the partnership between the cities was reinforced during a meeting between Svetlana Medvedeva and Milan’s then-mayor Letizia Moratti.

The programme of this year’s Russian Evening included the Future Generation exhibition by famous St Petersburg artist and menswear and costume designer, Leonid Alexeev.

Vladimir Mikhailov’s Jewellery Salon presented the Vladimir Mikhailov: Orthodox Images in Jewellery collection, featuring over 50 pieces made using ancient highly intricate northern techniques.

Guests were entertained by the Mariinsky Theatre soloists, Daniil Shtoda and Maria Maksakova, and a jazz ensemble from St Petersburg’s Modest Mussorgsky Music College.

The evening also featured presentation of a unique exhibition, The Fate of Russian Opera, from the collections of the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music.

The First Lady also attended a joint concert of the Moscow Synodal Choir and Accademia delle Opere symphony orchestra in the Milan Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which completed the St Petersburg Days in Milan programme as part of the St Petersburg – Milan Sister Cities project.

The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in the 15th century, is known for housing The Last Supper fresco by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The concert’s programme included excerpts from the All-Night Vigil by Sergei Rachmaninoff, compositions by Giuseppe Verdi, as well as The Song of Ascent, a symphony for chorus and orchestra by Metropolitan Hilarion.

As part of her visit to Milan, the First Lady visited the town of Rozzano, home to the innovative Istituto Clinico Humanitas. The executives of the centre, Luciano Ravera and Norberto Silvestri, offered Mrs Medvedeva a brief video presentation and a tour around the chemotherapy and radiation divisions, as well as wards equipped with the latest medical technology.

Humanitas is a network of clinics with locations in Turin, Bergamo, Aosta, Castellanza, as well as Catania, Sicily. The centre’s main field of work is the treatment of oncological diseases, particularly those affecting women. In addition, Humanitas specialises in treating musculoskeletal and orthopaedic disorders in children and adolescents under the age of 18.

Ms Medvedeva had high praise for Humanitas’ practice. “It is very important that everything at your centre – doctors, personnel, management, and equipment – everything at the clinic is to the benefit of every patient. It is very important that your work is aimed at diagnosing and detecting diseases in the early stages,” the First Lady said, emphasising the need to disseminate the Humanitas medical centre’s know-how.

In December 2010, at a meeting with leading Russian and foreign oncology specialists, Svetlana Medvedeva put forward an initiative to establish an association of non-profit women’s health centres in all regions of Russia. The first such centre will open in St Petersburg.

September 30, 2011, Italy