In a significant event held at the University of Duhok on May 16, 2023, Mr. Maxim Rubin, the General Consul of the Russian Federation in Erbil, engaged in an open session at the Students Center. The session witnessed the presence of esteemed individuals, including Dr. Nabaz Ibraheem Mohammed, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Saeed Khudeda Alo, Dean of the College of Humanities, along with numerous students, teachers, and university academic staff from various departments.
Commencing the session, Dr. Saeed Khudeida Alo extended a warm welcome to Mr. Maxim Rubin on behalf of the University of Duhok and expressed gratitude for his first visit to the institution. Dr. Saeed briefly highlighted the historical relations between the Kurdish and Russian communities, particularly acknowledging Russia's support for the Kurdish liberation movement from 1958 until 1991. Subsequently, following the complete collapse of the Ba'athist regime in 2003, notable progress was observed in Kurdish-Russian relations across multiple domains.
Moderated by Mr. Mohamad Taterkhan, the session proceeded with Mr. Maxim Rubin expressing his delight at being present within an academic institution and sharing knowledge and experiences with students and teachers. He emphasized the historical significance of the Kurdish-Russian relations, underscoring Russia's pioneering research and contributions to Kurdology, the science of Kurds. Furthermore, he highlighted Russia's support for the Kurdish liberation movement, particularly during the arduous journey of Mustafa Barzani, the Kurdish leader, and his companions, when they sought refuge in the Soviet Union. During Barzani's 12-year stay, strong social ties between the Kurdish people and the Russian community were established.
Regarding economic cooperation, Mr. Maxim Rubin mentioned that Russia, being the first country to establish a consulate in Erbil in 2007, maintained its mission in the Kurdistan Region despite the security challenges posed by ISIS in 2014. Moscow considers the Kurdistan Region a crucial contributor to Middle East security and endeavors to strengthen collaboration, particularly in the economic field. Notably, he highlighted the significant role of Russian companies, especially in the energy sector, in Kurdistan.
Furthermore, Mr. Maxim Rubin highlighted Russian cooperation in the education sector. The Russian government has allocated a number of scholarships (60 seats) for students from the Kurdistan Region to pursue master's and PhD studies in Russia.
The session concluded with a lively discussion, during which students and teachers raised various inquiries about Kurdish-Russian relations, Russia's stance on the Kurdish cause, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and other related concerns. Mr. Maxim Rubin addressed these questions, providing insightful responses.
UOD Media; May 17th 2023,
Translated by Firmesk Haso
Photo credit: Ali Banki and Mohammed Abdulkareem.