A Russian culture festival, which has already become traditional, begins in the Japanese capital on Monday. On the Russian side, the festival's opening ceremony in Hotel Imperial will be attended by Mikhail Shvydkoi, special presidential representative for international culural cooperation, Yevgeny Afanasyev, the Ambassador of Russia to Japan, as well as a parliamentary delegation led by Mikhail Slipenchuk, coordinator of the State Duma group on contacts with the parliament of Japan.
The programme for this year's Festival of Russian Culture in Japan will begin with performance by Maria Maksakova, soloist of the opera troupe of the Maryinsky Theatre.
Within a period from June to December, performances are to be given in various parts of the country by prominent Russian music collectives and Russian folk song ensembles; exhibitions of paintings will be arranged, and acted and animated cartoon films will be shown. In June, the Moscow Philharmonic Society's Academic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Yuri Simonov will give 12 concerts in Tokyo, Sapporo, and other cities.
The Big State Circus, which has caught the fancy of the localaudiences and which has been participating in the Festival for a third year in successin, will tour Japan in July and August.
The Russian Culture Festival is held here for an eighth time now. Last year, more than one million people visited performances given under the Festival's auspices in practically all prefectures of Japan. Japanese art lovers took a lively interest in creative meetings with Russian ballet masters and in exhibitions of paintings from the Treatyakov Picture Gallery and the Hermitage Museum of Fine Arts. Proceeds from the Festival's events were remitted to the fund of aid to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the north-eastern coast of Japan in March 2011.
Speaking of the results of last year's festival, Shvydkoi pointed out, "The Festival is an unprecedented phenomenon in our relations with foreign countries. Nothwithstanding all the complexities and the internal political changes in Japan, the Festival has not been affected by anything. Our relations with Japan in the cultural sphere are not connected with political situation. They bring only joy to our peoples".