Moscow on Wednesday presented a gift to its sister city of Bangkok – a sundial in the shape of a firebird inspired by a well-known Russian fairytale.
The gift was meant to reinforce two decades of cooperation between the twinned cities as well as mark the 120th anniversary of Thai-Russian diplomatic relations.
Sergey Cheremin, Moscow’s head of the External Economic and International Relations Department, and Kirill Barsky, Russia’s Ambassador to Thailand, presented the gift to Wanvilai Promlakano, Bangkok’s deputy governor.
From left, Kirill Barsky, Russia’s Ambassador to Thailand, and Sergey Cheremin, head of Moscow’s External Economic and International Relations Department, present a sundial to Wanvilai Promlakano, Bangkok’s deputy governor, at Lumpini Park. Nation/Anan Chantarasoot
The sundial is the centrepiece of the “Moscow Corner” in Lumpini Park and forms part of the two-day event “Days of Moscow in Bangkok”. Cheremin and Wanvilai also signed an agreement on cooperation for the next three years.
“Created by a Russian designer, this masterpiece is symbol of good luck,” Barsky told The Nation.
He added that Russian culture included a famous fairytale in which fortune and happiness was represented by the firebird.
“The main character’s idea in this fairytale is how to catch the firebird. Is it possible? It’s hot. But the firebird has feathers and if you catch a feather, you’re in luck,” Barsky said.
“Made from bronze, Thais can hold, rub and hug this masterpiece for good luck and think about Moscow city and Russians,” he said, adding that the “soft power” symbolised by the gift would help strengthen political and economic relations.
The first day of the event wraps up with jazz concert by a Russian band. Nation/Anan Chantarasoot
Moscow also staged a jazz concert at the park as well as a “Culture of Moscow” photography exhibition on display at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until December 24.
“Bangkok and Moscow have been cooperating for the past two decades. The ‘Days of Bangkok in Moscow’ held on August 25 and 26 in Moscow received a warm welcome from Russians. Now it’s our turn to host ‘Days of Moscow in Bangkok’ for strengthening our cooperation on academic conferences, cultural exchanges and environmental protections in order to develop our two cities,” Wanvilai told a press conference at Sala Bhirom Bhakdi in Lumpini Park.
Sergey Cheremin, head of Moscow's External Economic and International Relations Department, signs an agreement on cooperation from 2018 to 2020with Wanvilai Promlakano, Bangkok’s deputy governor, at Lumpini Park on Wednesday.Nation/Anan Chantarasoot
During the two-day event, officials from both cities discussed issues ranging from urbanism to the environment and transportation.
“We are quite similar if we look at both of our metropolises ... We face the same challenges and the same problems,” Cheremin said. “Really quick development has caused a lot of problems for transport and urban areas. How to maintain all these lives in these mega-metropolises?
“It’s really important to share experiences between the two cites. As for us, we have some advanced technologies and Bangkok also has very modern technology, managing so many people and so complicated a municipal system. How to provide stability, harmony and social development? All these issues are making us are quite good friends. As we have shared these experiences for nearly 20 years, it has given us a kind of synergy,” he said.
The “Culture of Moscow” exhibition is on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until December 24. Nation/Rachanon Intharaksa
“It stimulates the culture sphere, social sphere, education, healthcare. We are going to cooperate in the field of sport especially to promote tourism.
“Thailand is very well known to Russian citizens as a tourism destination with nice culture, bright sun and warm sea. For us, the relationship is really important not only at the federal level, but also at the regional level. The relationship becomes stronger and improves every year.”
He added that delegations from Bangkok visited Moscow, where Russians showed their expertise in transport management, social programmes, the renovation of old towns and sustainability for cities. Other areas of collaboration were making cities friendly for citizens while improving the environment and expanding green spaces and parks.