3 July 2015

Address by H.E. Ms Eleonora Mitrofanova, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of first Russian cultural monuments’ inscriptions in UNESCO World Heritage List

Photo©Russian Delegation to UNESCO: Konstantin VOLKOV

Dear members of the World Heritage Committee,
Dear representatives of States Parties and advisory bodies,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am pleased to welcome you on behalf of the official delegation of the Russian Federation at the presentation organized by Russian Ministry of Culture on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of first national cultural monuments’ inscriptions on UNESCO World Heritage List.

Today we celebrate with you major events of the year of 1990 that is already far away from us. Let us recall that this was the year of a radical restructuring of the internal system of administration and management and the subsequent disintegration of the USSR. That year was a harbinger of a severe socio-economic and political crisis, and the people of our country had to pass through its ordeal.

In these most difficult circumstances Soviet specialists in cooperation with UNESCO carried out a profound research and preparatory work that resulted into the inscription of the first three Russian cultural monuments on UNESCO World Heritage List. It is no coincidence that the most symbolic and globally recognizable Russian sites were selected – the Moscow Kremlin, the Historical Centre of St. Petersburg and the architectural ensemble of Kizhi.

For our multinational country and for other peoples, these monuments are inextricably linked to its historical grandeur, unique cultural code and spiritual heritage. These three major cultural and spiritual sources – the Kremlin, St. Petersburg and Kizhi – possess profound unifying and humanistic capacities, both within the country and beyond it, in the Eurasian and global spaces. All of them are indisputable examples of monuments with an outstanding universal value for mankind.

I am pleased to note that the 25th anniversary of the inscription of our sites by the World Heritage Committee coincides with other anniversaries of major world historic events. Key among them are the 70th anniversary of UNESCO and the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory over Nazism. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the process of the final reunification of Germany, the friendly and welcoming host country of Committee's current session. In this crossroad of historic dates and events we can clearly see certain symbolism that is very important today, as well as the evidence of UNESCO unique mission and global role.

This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the inscription of the Kazan Kremlin on the World Heritage List. This being so, allow me to welcome the members of our delegation from Tatarstan. Moreover, their jubilees are celebrated today by several other Russian sites – the Virgin Komi Forests (20 years), the Ferapontov Monastery and the Curonian Spit (15 years), Yaroslavl and the Struve Arc (10 years) and, finally, the Putorana Plateau (5 years).

Speaking of anniversaries, I cannot but mention the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, which was brilliantly organized in St. Petersburg in the framework of the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2012. Russian and international partners who organized this celebration received the highest ratings for actually carrying out the best of the international fora in the history of the Convention. Of course, this would not be possible without the participation of Moscow and other colleagues.

The recognition of the above-mentioned Russian sites by UNESCO paved the way for Russia’s active participation in the protection of the World Heritage and highlighted the global value of its monuments. It also ensured, in collaboration with international experts, a rigorous conservation of our sites that, together with the whole of the country, were passing through a crucial period in its development. In this context, I would like once again to express my deepest appreciation to UNESCO experts and Russian representatives embodied by those present here today for their invaluable contribution to the protection of these and many other Russian monuments.