Russians living in Rwanda on Tuesday celebrated National Holiday of the Russian Federation, also known as Russia Day.
The ceremony was held in Kiyovu, a Kigali suburb, and graced by a number of officials from both countries as well as envoys accredited to Rwanda.
In his remarks, Dr Mikhail D. Nikitin, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Russian embassy in Kigali, said that the holiday is important as it relates to the declaration of state sovereignty, which was adopted 22 years ago.
This, he said, marked the beginning of a new Russia that was free from ideological prejudices of previous regimes and confrontations of the past.
“Over the last two decades our country has gone through a period of radical economic, social and political reforms, which was a difficult and dramatic time.
‘‘However, it has given us an important experience of political and social transformation,” said Nikitin.
Nikitin added that the reforms gave his country a clear understanding that freedom is inseparable from the responsibility for the destiny of a nation.
Today, Russia has strengthened its statehood considerably, improved its financial and economic potential as well as people’s wellbeing, according to the diplomat.
Francis Gatare, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board and a Cabinet member, who was the guest of honour, commended the existing cooperation between Russia and Rwanda.
He said that, as a result of the good relations, many Rwandan students have attended Russian universities while others trained in various capacities in Russia.
Gatare reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Rwanda to strengthen relations with Russian Federation, as well as working together as members of the international community on various multilateral issues.
“I believe that continued dialogue will strengthen existing cooperation and create new opportunities for partnership between our two countries,” he added.
Russia and Rwanda share a common aspiration to ensure sustainable economic and social development to overcome poverty and diseases, officials said.
The countries maintain ties in different fields including education, human resource development, ICT, sports, among others.
In the spheres of education, the number of Rwandan students studying in Russia has been steadily increasing. Today, more than 100 of these students receive professional training in Russia.
About 800 Rwandan students have been able to graduate from several Russian varsities.
“No doubt that investment in skills and knowledge is a key factor in the creation and functioning of a knowledge-based economy,” Nikitin noted.