Speaking to Honaronline, Dr. Oleg Akulinichev said the Iranian art and culture played a key role in boosting relations between the two neighbors and expressed hope that the Iran-Russia ties will continue apace because both nations share a long tradition of cultural, economic, political and social interaction, facilitated by the close neighborhood on the Asian continent and many common interests.

He said: It is paramount that the two neighbors are familiar with each other’s art and culture. It’s the only way to promote and develop bilateral ties. We are more than ever determined to promote the Iranian art and culture in Russia. To that end, we set up the Russian Association of Khayyam.

Akulinichev further said: Iran’s history and culture is filled with luminaries in both art and literature. This made it hard for us to pick just one. We know Khayyam for 130 years. His poems have been translated into many languages by our top translators and poets. There are now at least 170 translated versions of Khayyam’s Rubaiyat in our archives.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the director of Russian Association of Khayyam said: Khayyam is now as famous as Russian poets Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov. The extensive translations have made Khayyam a household name, indeed a Russian poet, so much so that he is now an important part of the Russian literature. Any doubters should look at the way the cultures of Iran and Russia have interacted and influenced each other for so many years.

He further noted that the Russian Association of Khayyam has not limited itself to this great poet and his work: We chose this great Persian philosopher’s name for our association. But we have different activities in the domains of culture and literature. We want to cooperate closely with our Iranian counterparts.

According to him, efforts are being made to introduce Iranian and Russian artists through cultural and artistic events: The idea is to exchange views and employ and support young talents in the field. The association’s focus is on social media as well. It has a Facebook page with a special focus on Iranian literature, and with over 30,000 followers. The association is working closely with Russian vendors and publications.

In conclusion, he said: The association organizes literary sessions titled The Secrets of Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. We do believe that just like William Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci, Khayyam has many secrets that need to be explored and found. This can help us become a better person. We hope that we can broaden our cooperation with Iran in photography, painting, theater and film as well.

Last Thursday, Niavaran Cultural Center hosted a meeting on Persian mathematician, astronomer and poet Omar Khayyam (1048-1131). Titled “Omar Khayyam Millennium Anniversary,” the international session was attended by many European scholars, including from Russia. It was the first in a series of events planned by the Society for the National Heritage of Iran in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Institute for Promotion of Contemporary Visual Art.

Persian literature continues to inspire many people worldwide today, last but not least, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who loves to read the poetry of Omar Khayyam. In 2008, he said in an interview that he admires Iranian literature and history, which is part of the world's history.

President Vladimir Putin explained: Iran is a world power. Its territory originally stretched from the Middle East to India. Even part of the former Soviet Union was ancient Iranian territory. What I want to say is that the history of our countries and the interaction of our cultures goes much deeper and has much stronger roots than specialists sometimes think. This is the guarantee that we will always find a way of solving any problems that arise, because we understand each other.