MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the new headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in Moscow, stressing the important role of geographic exploration as an intrinsic part of the Russian culture and history.
Addressing the opening ceremony on Tuesday, Putin, who heads the board of trustees of the society, emphasized the need to establish efficient links between the office in Moscow and regional museums and centers "to make materials accessible to all who want to use them," adding that the Russian Geographical Society has offices in 81 regions of Russia.
The president also called on the trustees to take an active part in contributing materials to the collection of the society and vowed to do it himself.
“I promise to do it myself and I hope this collection will be used actively,” Putin said.
Putin, who is known for his love of outdoor activities, earlier said in an interview with Outdoor Life: “The very mission of the RGS reaches out to my heart, namely to inspire people to love Russia. This phrase contains a desire to open up Russia’s beauty, diversity and identity to our society and to the whole world, to present its authentic image.
The five-story RGS building in Moscow has all the facilities needed to ensure the efficient work of the staff: a media studio, an exhibition hall, a print shop, and offices for the Society's executive bodies.
The library will be available to students and researchers.
The building will later host a museum and archives.
According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is the president of the RGS, the headquarters will hold meetings with participants in the Society's expeditions and scientists, organize video conferences with regional offices, and show films sponsored by the society.
The RGS is the oldest scientific organization in Russia that has been uniting professional geographers and other scientists, public figures and geography enthusiasts since 1845.
The society plays a vital role in developing Russian science and education, promoting ecology and geographical knowledge and supporting principles of sustainable development in Russia.