An exhibition of works by Russian painter Ilya Repin opens in the Dutch town of Groningen on Friday. The paintings and drawings featured come from the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, the Penaty Estate Museum outside St. Petersburg, and the Saratov Art Museum. Kees van Twist, the director of the Groninger Museum, Groningen, says Repin's works vividly illustrate the life of Russia in late 19th and early 20th century and reflect the mystery of the Russian soul. It is this mystery that accounts for the name of the exposition, The Secret of Russia. Dutch Queen Beatrix is expected to attend the opening of the exhibition, which marks the beginning of a series of Russian cultural events in Holland. The exhibition, which runs December 2001 through March 2002, will be accompanied by lectures about Repin, concerts featuring Russian musicians and dancers, literary soirees, screening of Russian films, etc. Simultaneously, Dutch TV will air a documentary about the life and work of Ilya Repin. The library of Groningen will publish a compilation of poems by Russian and Dutch authors, all of them dedicated to Repin. Apart from all that, the exhibition is meant to signify the rapidly developing business links between Russia and Holland, namely the successful relationship between Russia's Gazprom and Holland's Gasuni, two companies that co-sponsored the exhibition. Before that, in October of 2001, they began executing two Russian-Dutch commercial contracts, one of them envisaging delivery of 80 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Holland in 20 years, the other securing the safety of Gazprom's gas deliveries to Western Europe with the help of Dutch companies.
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