Russia’s culture minister replaced President Putin as the guest of honor at the opening ceremony of a Russian spiritual and cultural center in Paris. Putin’s visit to the French capital was postponed at the last moment amid conflict over Syria.
Construction on the center, which is legally part of the Russian embassy in France, with all corresponding immunities, began in 2013 and cost about €90 million to complete.
The four-building complex located near the Pont de l’Alma bridge in Paris’ 7th arrondissement includes a Christian Orthodox church, a Russian-French elementary school, an exhibition center, and a church administration building complete with living quarters for staff members.
Minister Vladimir Medinsky was the guest of honor at Wednesday’s opening ceremony, acting in place of President Vladimir Putin. The president was supposed to visit France, but the Elysee Palace chose to cut the program for his visit short at the last moment in an apparent gesture of protest against Russia’s veto of a French-sponsored draft resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council. The opening of the cultural center was among the events the French wanted to axe. Russia responded by postponing the visit altogether.
Putin, who has decided to visit Berlin instead, said the opening of the Paris center demonstrates the strength of Russo-French humanitarian ties, despite any political differences between the two nation’s governments.
Source : RT – Daily news