In our country, the movement for friendship and cooperation with the peoples of foreign countries was initiated in 1925 by the creation of the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS). The outstanding state and public figures, world-famous representatives of the country's science and culture were at the beginning: V.V. Mayakovski, S.S. Prokofiev, M.A. Sholokhov, D.D. Shostakovich, S.M. Eisenstein, I.G. Erenburg, S.I. Vavilov.
VOKS, and then the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies (USFS), which united friendship societies with foreign countries, acquired world-wide significance and meaning. And even in those countries where during the Cold War the hostile authorities attributed USFS to dangerous "subversive organizations", broad circles of the public actively cooperated with it. And this cooperation continued even in the most unfavorable moments of interstate relations.
Unfortunately, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the friendship societies found themselves in a difficult situation. In many societies, reorganization was carried out, which enabled them to survive at that difficult time. In 2004, Russian societies lost the Friendship House on Vozdvizhenka, 16, where they worked and held most of the events. People began to leave the friendship societies, including those public figures who could exert influence on international processes. Many societies faced the need to terminate their activities. However, part of the potential was preserved thanks to the enthusiasm, unselfishness and dedication of those outstanding people who supported and support the work of societies in these difficult conditions.
Today famous figures of science, art and culture, public and religious figures take part in the work of friendship societies. Members of friendship societies are writer Yuri Polyakov, hockey player Vladislav Tretyak, TV presenter Nikolai Drozdov, cosmonauts Alexei Leonov, Alexander Kalery, Viktor Gorbatko, Victor Savinykh, Pyotr Klimuk and many others.
Friendship societies have accumulated extensive experience in conducting events aimed at acquaintance with the history, culture, science of Russia and foreign countries, such as:
- conferences, round tables, forums
- evenings of friendship with the peoples of foreign countries
- evenings dedicated to anniversary and significant dates
- evenings of foreign science, technology, literature and art
- meetings of scientists and cultural figures of foreign countries and the Russian Federation
- lectures, reports and talks of Russian and foreign figures of science and culture
- exhibitions, etc.
A special role in the activity of friendship societies is played by the Russian Association for International Cooperation (RAIC), a public organization established in 1992 in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation and succeeding the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies. Today the RAIC unites more than 90 friendship societies and other public international organizations.
More information about the Cyprus-Russia, Russia-Cyprus friendship societies and the International Public Association "Association of Cultural and Business Cooperation and Friendship with the Peoples of Greece and Cyprus" Filia "can be found on the pages of the International Community of Public Associations - Friendship Societies with the Peoples of Foreign Countries.
The long-term positive experience of the societies of friendship with the peoples of foreign countries shows that they represent an effective instrument of public diplomacy, which influences the minds and consciousness of the foreign public from the point of view of Russia's positive perception in the world, is an important channel for the realization of the task of developing international cooperation.