Director of the Museums and External Affairs Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
If there wasn't such a great reason to create this exhibition as the cross-regional year of cooperation between Russia and France, it should have been invented. Indeed, our cultures have very-very much in common: we can talk for hours about French art; if you ask a Frenchman about Russian art, you will probably immediately hear at least about the Diaghilev Seasons of the early twentieth century. I am grateful that we can enjoy touching genuine masterpieces of world art in these difficult times. I am sure that for the next four months, this place will become the epicentre of the cultural life both of Moscow and all of Russia and, God willing, of the world community.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
The history of Russian-French relations goes back centuries. The marked story of the marriage of the French King Henry I and Anna Yaroslavna, the daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, which became an integral part of French history and left a remarkable impression on it — can be considered the starting point. Since then, the destinies of our countries have been intertwined in a variety of ways. I recall that Hélène Carrère d'Encausse, Perpetual Secretary of the French Academy, who enjoys great respect and authority in Russia, rightly noted that the course of history has repeatedly brought Russia and France together, united, opposed, and reconciled them.
It is well known in France that the text and music of the key song of the Resistance – Chant des Partisans – were written by natives of Russia Anne Marly, Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon. In our world, despite different approaches to political problems and issues of the modern world, a very positive atmosphere of our relations is preserved, and the political dialogue is developing; mutual cultural contacts and sympathy of the two nations for each other constitute a perfect solid basis for bilateral relations. And this year is no exception: we have an enormous amount of events; the confirmation of this is a rich program of the Cross Year of Regional Cooperation between Russia and France. I believe this exhibition will become another significant contribution to the strength of friendly and good neighbourly relations between our countries.
Ambassador of France to Russia
Since the 11th century, relations between our two countries have developed and enriched — the diversity of the exhibits on display today is the evidence. They are numerous illustrations of Franco-Russian human relations throughout a thousand years of mutual history.
The marriage of Princess Anna Yaroslavna and King Henry I of France is mentioned in a Gospel provided by the city library of Reims. Of course, it is not easy to learn the exact origin and process of creating this remarkable document. But concerning human relations, the important thing is what is kept in collective memory, namely that the marriage, which took place, fortunately, before the schism in Christianity, testifies to our consciousness of a common European space.
I am happy that the Kremlin Museums offer its viewers an exhibition that reveals the prospects of Franco-Russian friendship that we all feel every day. This friendship proves that personal communication is the most important and lasting in terms of bilateral relations.
Special Representative of the Russian President for international cultural cooperation
The connection between Russia and France is so deep and paradoxical that many people have forgotten that the famous phrase considered the bulwark of Russian monarchy and Slavophilism, about autocracy, orthodoxy and nationality, was written in French.
If it were not for the pandemics and quarantines, this exhibition is worthy of the presence of the two presidents, and it is worthy of the highest official ceremonies. It is indeed a Kremlin gift to the Russian people from the Kremlin Museums and France. And it is a great joy to be here today. One can see two hundred pieces on display, but simply walking up to the Reims Gospel – and it will remain in your soul for life, and in a sense, maybe, even enlighten all of us, because the greatest names in the history of France and the history of Russia have touched it.