Rossotrudnichestvo, Russia's foreign cooperation agency, is set to open a center of culture and science in Singapore by late 2021 and relaunch a similar center in Damascus by 2020, Eleonora Mitrofanova, the agency’s head, told Sputnik in an interview, adding that preparations for the construction of the Singaporean center have already started.
"The activity of Russian centers of culture and science is highly in demand in many countries. We are actively working on expanding the network of our centers. The big task for us today is to open a center in Singapore. It will be a full-scale cultural and spiritual center with a chapel. The relevant intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2015, while in 2018 a groundbreaking ceremony took place with the participation of Russian President [Vladimir Putin]. If everything goes according to the plan, we can start talking about this center's operations by the end of 2021," Mitrofanova said.
Meanwhile, a similar center in the Syrian capital, which stopped working amid the nation's armed conflict, is expected to reopen by next year, she added.
"In reality, the Russian Center of Culture and Science [in Damascus] was not operating for a very short period of time. Despite the complicated situation [in the country], Syrians continued to work there while our employees were coming from other countries to host events. A chess club has already started working at the center again," Mitrofanova said.
She added that Rossotrudnichestvo currently has 98 representative offices in 81 countries.
The agency also plans to hold a number of exhibitions dedicated to anniversary of Peter the Great's birthday at its centers of culture and science abroad, according to Mitrofanova.
"We plan to hold a number of exhibition projects dedicated to Peter the Great at our representative offices, jointly with the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve in 2020–2022 as 2022 marks the 350th birth anniversary of Peter I. The concept of each project will focus on the history and culture of the country in which it will be held," she said.
Rossotrudnichestvo is responsible for popularizing Russian culture in the world and supporting Russians living abroad, as well as promoting education and science cooperation between Russia and other countries.