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Northeast Asia Peace Initiative

Seoul Legislators Visit Russia

Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia - Legislators from Seoul, South Korea, visited Russia from July 18 to 20 to meet with officials in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The head of the delegation was Mr. John-Paul Hong of UPF-Korea. After meeting with leaders of Rosobrnadzor (the agency with educational oversight of Russia) and a dialogue with legislators of the Moscow districts Zuzino and Galyanovo, the delegates moved to St. Petersburg.

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Accompanied by the Secretary General of UPF-Northwest Russia, Tatyana Krasnosumova, the delegation visited the University of Economics and Finance on July 20. The university occupies the building of the former Assignation Bank of the Russian Empire, which was built in the late 18th century after the design of the famous Italian architect, Giacomo Quarenghi. Among the graduates was the wife of the Russian President, Svetlana Medvedeva.

The guests were welcomed by the University Rector, Igor Maximtsev. The international projects initiated and carried out by the university especially attracted the attention of the members of the Seoul City Council. They also showed interest in how foreign students from Korea might handle life in Russia if they do not know the Russian language and what their living conditions might be. There were questions about the moral and ethical education of students. The discussions also touched on some political issues of Russia. The guests wanted to know about the stability of the Russian economy and inquired into the possibility of building an oil pipeline from Russia to Korea.

Rector Maximtsev gave detailed answers to all the questions. In particular, he said that the university’s activity is not limited to St. Petersburg; its departments work in Murmansk, Pskov, and Veliky Novgorod. The university enjoys partner relations with 110 major foreign universities and cooperates with Gasprom, Vneshtorgbank, Sberbank, and other leaders of the national industrial and banking spheres.

The visit of the Koreans was short but fruitful. There was one more meeting with Captain Vladimir Arsenkin, who in the 1950s participated in the Korean War on the side of North Korea. Later, he became an activist in the peacemaking movement for creating dialogue between North and South Korea.

Participants in the meetings agreed on the value of further cultural exchanges between Russian and South Korean legislators. A Korean delegation is also expected to attend the celebration of the Moscow City Day in September of this year.

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