According to the latest information, about 35 million of Russian-speaking people, who lived in the former USSR before its break-up, now live outside Russia. 25-27 million of them live in the CIS, and 7-8 million in the countries outside the CIS. These figures were given at a Wednesday press conference by head of the Moscow international relations department Georgy Muradov.
The USA alone has 2-3 million of Russian-speaking people, he said. "They are mainly prominent businessmen, scientists and people of culture," Muradov explained. "Their average income is two times higher than that of Americans," he pointed out.
An international council of Russian fellow countrymen has been set up to promote interaction of Russian-speaking diasporas, Muradov announced. It comprises 40 organizations from 30 countries.
At its last session, the council founded a special nomination, "The year's fellow countryman", he said. This honorary title will be awarded to Russians who live abroad and make a significant contribution to preserving and developing the Russian language and culture abroad, for contribution to the developing cultural, scientific and economic cooperation between Russia and other countries.
The first award ceremony is to be held in Moscow in October 2003.
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.