Time to make up for modern Arab culture 'deficit' in Russia: Shvydkoi

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MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti, Lilia Kafal Gazal) - The head of Russia's Federal Culture and Cinema Agency, said Tuesday that contemporary Arab culture was largely unknown in Russia.

Mikhail Shvydkoi said cultural contacts with all Arab countries had to be stepped up.

"We are developing relations with the Maghreb countries (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco(," Shvydkoi said. "Talks with Syria are also on the agenda."

Shvydkoi said Russians were very interested in Arab movies.

"Arab movies are particularly interesting to us as a slice, a mirror of modern life, modern political processes," he said.

Shvydkoi said officials were looking into the possibility of training young Arab specialists in Russia's art institutions and giving prominent Russians from the arts world a chance to hold master classes in Arab countries, including in Egypt.

Shvydkoi said a protocol on Egyptian Days of Culture, which are due to take place in Moscow in November 2005, signed by the Agency and Egypt's Culture Ministry in Moscow on Tuesday was "the first step" to promoting Arab culture to its proper level.

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