Russia-Lanka "Images of Friendship"
Tuesday, 06 April 2010
A photographic exhibition on Russia - Sri Lanka relations was declared open by Ambassador of the Russian Federation
in Sri Lanka, Vladimir P.Mikhaylov and Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka, Lalith Weeratunga at "Galle
Face" Hotel on April 5.
The photographs depicted key landmarks of exchanges between the two countries including the first man in space, Yuri
Gagarin visit to Sri Lanka in 1961, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visit to the USSR in 1963, Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey V.Lavrov visit to Colombo in 2009 and President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa
visit to Moscow in February 2010.
Speaking on the occasion, the Russian Ambassador, Vladimir P.Mikhaylov stated that the exhibition was not an
ordinary one. The photos presented were to cover the development of the friendly Russian – Sri Lankan relations in many
fields through decades. Of cause, they cannot reflect all the aspects of bilateral cooperation – such as common
struggle against double standards and misuse of human rights question in the UN and other international fora, studying
of thousands of Sri Lankan students in Russian universities, etc. But the broad public for whom the exhibition will be
open for several days will find a lot of interesting here.
Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga stated that Sri Lanka sincerely hopes that Russia will succeed in
defeating terrorism as Sri Lanka did against the LTTE. ‘Sri Lanka being a small country with limited technology
defeated terrorism with the human resources,’ he stated and added that Russia being a much larger and powerful state
will no doubt achieve this. Mr. Weeratunga further stated that Russia came to the support of Sri Lanka when the country
was fighting terrorism.
Immediately after the electoral victory of 1956, the new Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike took steps to promote
bilateral relations with the Soviet Union, establishing diplomatic relations on February 19, 1957. Yet, relations go
back to 1891 when the Russian Consulate was established in Galle. Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike made official
visits to the USSR twice in 1963 and 1974.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa visit to Russia in February 2010 had special significance being the first visit of a Sri
Lankan leader to Russia after 36 years and the first ever by a Sri Lankan President. He had very fruitful discussion
with President of the Russian Federation Dmitry A.Medvedev and was awarded a Honoris Causa Doctorate by the Peoples’
Friendship University (PFU).