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    MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message of greetings to International Likhachev Readings, a annual international gathering of scholars seeking to uphold the legacy of Dmitri Likhachev, a major Russian Slavicist.

    President Putin expressed satisfaction with the fact that the agenda of Likhachev Readings was expanding to include other issues of relevance and that interest in the forum among foreign academics and researchers kept growing.

    This time around, Likhachev Readings will be focused on the role of education in making society more humane.

    The forum is also a tribute to Likhachev, whom Putin described as an "outstanding scholar, patriot and citizen." His essays on moral and spiritual development of younger generations will never lose their value, remarked the Russian President.

    Likhachev (1906-1999), a Leningrad native, survived Stalinist repression in the late 1920s and early 30s'. He carried on with his linguistic and historical research even when the city was besieged by Nazis. In 1942, his book "Defense of Medieval Russian Towns" came out.

    Likhachev's scholarly achievement earned him membership in many foreign academies of sciences and top national and international awards. His works include "The National Identity of Medieval Russia," "The Emergence of Russian Literature," "The Poetics of Early Russian Literature," and "The Literary Legacy of Medieval Russia and the Modernity," to name just a few titles.

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