Foreign Ministry and Russian Book Union Sign Cooperation Agreement

The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Book Union intend to legally formalise their relations, sources in the Russian foreign ministry said.

This agreement will be signed by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Chairman of the Russian Audit Chamber and President of the Russian Book Union (RKS) Sergei Stepashin.

As spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Yakovenko said in an interview with RIA Novosti, the decision of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the RKS on signing the Agreement was taken for the sake of successful accomplishment of Russia's foreign policy tasks seeking to strengthen relations with compatriots abroad, spread and consolidate the positions of the Russian language, and promote Russian cultural achievements abroad".

Speaking of the document, Yakovenko noted that the agreement envisaged the foreign ministry's maximal possible politico-diplomatic assistance and practical help to the RKS, the Russian publishers and the distributors of book products. The accord on the RKS giving to the Ministry gratis a certain number and nomenclature of book products turned out by the publishing houses - members of the Russian Book Union - for circulating abroad among compatriots, in the Russian-speaking communities, and at educational establishments teaching in Russian, and for replenishing the libraries of the Russian centres of science and culture, is to be formalised.

Under the agreement, the sides, within their competence and in accordance with the procedure determined by the Russian legislation, intend to develop co-operation in such directions as assistance in forming single information space on the CIS territory, providing the population's access to the writings published in the Russian language, creating favourable conditions for promoting book products of Russian publishing houses onto the foreign markets, fulfilment of the programmes and projects aimed at supporting compatriots abroad, preservation of their unique national and cultural character, and spread and study of the Russian language in foreign countries.

The Russian Book Union, established in April 2001, unites major publishing and book-distributing organisations, as well as enterprises of the Russian printing industry.