Russia’s leading sinologists said they were looking forward to President Xi Jinping’s second visit to Russia and were impressed with his knowledge of Russian literature, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.
China’s president will arrive in Russia on Thursday for a three-day visit to attend the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and for talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Xi chose Russia as the first stop of his initial overseas tour as president in March last year, followed by a visit to Africa.
The Chinese president told Russian students and sinologists at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations then that he had been deeply influenced by their culture.
“The people of China and Russia enjoy a long-standing traditional friendship and a solid foundation for people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Even when I was still young, I had read many works by Russian writers, such as Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Nekrasov, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Sholokhov, whose works had a large impact. The Chinese people cherish profound goodwill toward the people of Russia,” he said, according to the official website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Russian sinologist and historian Evgeny Petrovich Bazhanov told Xinhua he had fond memories meeting Xi in March, saying the Chinese leader had a good grasp of Russia’s national situation as well as an appreciation of Russian literature. Xi’s knowledge of Russia exceeds that of many other world leaders, he said.
Anatoly Lukyanov, who heads the Centre for Comprehensive Studies of the Civilizations in Northeast Asia at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Far East Institute, said Xi had a deep understanding of the Russian culture, according to Xinhua.
Lukyanov said Xi used quotes from Russia’s literary giants extensively during his visit, including passages from Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol and Chekhov.
China’s president also has a good mastery of Russian folklore, philosophy, poetry and art and that was clearly conveyed at the time, the expert added.