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Russian Geographical Society Board of Trustees meeting

April 23, 2019

Vladimir Putin held the eleventh meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society at the Society’s headquarters. The agenda included a review of the organisation’s performance in 2018 and the current year’s projects.

Prior to the meeting, the President toured an exhibition of crockery raised from a sunken 19th century English ship. The ship was discovered in 2017 at a depth of 60 metres in the waters off Gogland Island using hydroacoustic equipment during an expedition by the Russian Geographical Society’s Centre for Underwater Research.

Russian Geographical Society medals and certificates of merit were presented at the end of the meeting.

President of the International Fencing Federation and member of the Russian Geographical Society Board of Trustees Alisher Usmanov was awarded the Konstantinovskaya Medal for his outstanding contribution to RGO activities.

The Ivan Borodin gold medal was presented to Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society Alexander Chibilev for his outstanding contribution to the study and protection of natural heritage sites in Russia and on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

The Nizhny Novgorod and Tomsk regional branches of the Russian Geographical Society were awarded the small silver medal for fostering a sensitive attitude toward nature among young people and for studies of the Siberian region, Russia and the world, respectively.

The team behind the documentary film The Northern Sea Route received a certificate of merit for popularising the history of the heroic development of the Russian Arctic, and the youth club based at the RGO branch in the Republic of Crimea received a certificate of merit for achievements in developing RGO youth clubs.

* * *

Speech at the Russian Geographical Society Board of Trustees meeting

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,

I welcome all of you to this Russian Geographical Society Board of Trustees meeting. Once again, we are meeting at the historical headquarters of the organisation and, by tradition, we will discuss completed and future projects, which are implemented largely thanks to your support.

An approach based on personal involvement and the serious practical help of the trustees and members of the RGO’s media council makes it possible to implement truly useful initiatives, involve people of all ages in exciting and constructive work that makes it possible to learn more about the nature, history and culture of Russia, and direct your talent and energy towards the good of our Fatherland.

There are many areas where the RGO’s abilities can be applied. Apart from purely geographical, educational, and research programmes, the society is engaged in the preservation and study of cultural heritage, in environmental protection and research work. Every year, dozens of films and books are released thanks to RGO grants, and various exhibitions and educational events are held. The promotion and popularisation of educational and environmental tourism plays a special role in RGO activities.

In autumn, Russia will host the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organisation. As the host country, it is important that we not only properly host visitors from more than 150 countries, but also make every effort to ensure that the leading representatives of the global tourism industry realise how great Russia’s tourism potential is, that we have every reason to be among the leaders in international rankings of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

Of course, having appropriate infrastructure plays an important role in attracting tourists; this much is clear to everyone. But good hotels and transport accessibility cannot compensate for the lack of clear and well-arranged travel routes. I am confident that not only professionals, but all people who know and love our country should be engaged in developing this content, to use a modern term, for a national tourist product, and here the Russian Geographical Society certainly has something to offer. No other organisation or agency can boast such an extensive database of Russia’s natural wealth, folk traditions and landmarks.

No less important is the RGO’s unique community, which brings together experienced local historians, researchers and ethnographers. They already have many projects that can showcase Russia to the world in its diversity, from small thematic trails to large package tours across several regions of our vast country. These could include a tour to places associated with the history and culture of the Bosporus Kingdom, for example – through Krasnodar Territory, Rostov Region, Crimea and Sevastopol; or the Discover Siberia project, which covers 10 regions in the Siberian Federal District, Buryatia, and Baikal region. For lovers of outdoor activities, the Russian Geographical Society offers unique fascinating tours along the routes travelled by Russian pioneering researchers

Initiatives like this should certainly be supported. And I would ask the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of the Environment to establish practical cooperation with respected experts from the Russian Geographical Society. These people really know what is interesting, as is clear from the success of the local history projects that our branches implement with RGO grants. All the more so since this work attracts not only the teams involved, but also people who are interested in the history of the country, and we have branches throughout the country.

I would like to note that a recommendation from the Russian Geographical Society should be an additional incentive for tour operators. It would be a good idea for Rostourism [Federal Agency for Tourism] to get busy promoting their cooperation with the RGO.

In conclusion, I would like to once again thank everyone who helps the Russian Geographical Society, and certainly its tireless enthusiasts.

I would like to wish you all success. This is good, proper, useful, and very valuable work for the country. Thank you very much.


April 23, 2019