Business Track of the 2024 Russian Programme: the 70th Anniversary of Establishing Russian-Indian Relations

The international and interregional social and cultural programme "BRICS People Choosing Life" is being implemented in BRICS countries from 2022 to 2028 by the Regional Public Organisation "BRICS. World of Traditions" (hereinafter referred to as the Organisation) jointly with the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) under the motto "from the Ecology of the Soul and the Body to Ecology of the World" (hereinafter referred to as the Programme).

The Programme's principal goals are being reached through implementing multilateral projects aimed at uniting BRICS countries' peoples and cities, supporting people's spiritual and moral state, educating children and youngsters on the grounds of BRICS countries great representatives' moral legacy, as well as strengthening human health, preserving and popularizing BRICS people's cultural and historical heritage, developing interstate trade and economic relations within the grouping and establishing twinning ties between BRICS cities.

The first phase of the Programmewas held in the Republic of India in 2022, with twelve cultural, educational and business events taking place in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, involving more than 2000 students and business people.

The educational and enlightening project "Great BRICS Teachers" included the unique event of establishing the "Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi" Center in the premises of Delhi Public School, Dwarka. The Center is aimed to provide the younger generation with an in-depth study of the lives, works and worldviews of the great Russian and Indian philosophers, as well as assist in the process of children’s moral self-education of children on the basis of the humanist legacy left to the world by the two non-violence apologists.

According to Mumbai University students, "the Programme implemented in India, aimed at preserving the vitality, humanity and resilience of people, has truly become the Programme of Life, namely a breath of fresh air that, so to speak, purifies both the human mind and soul from all kinds of evil and falsification, as well as a platform for beneficial interaction based on humanistic values".

The idea of the "Ecology of the Body" was successfully elaborated through the implementation of the Programme’s business events in New Delhi and Mumbai in the form of business missions with the participation of Russian companies exporting high-quality goods and products, represented by the Samara Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Indian companies (around 50 enterprises).


The business events were successfully held as they were supported by the Department of Asia, Africa and Latin America of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation, the Russian House in New Delhi, the Russian Export Center in India (REC) and thoroughly implemented by the Regional Public Organisation"BRICS. Word of Traditions" in coordination with the Russian and Indian partners.

Moreover, Trade Representation of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India, in the person of Mikael Pirjanian, Head, Economic Department, Evgeny Ostapkevich, Head, Operations Department, Evgeny Burman, officer, Economic Department, Mamed Akhmedov, officer, Operations Department, and Alexander Rybas, Trade Commissioner, who personally participated in the event in New Delhi, provided invaluable support in selecting Indian enterprises, as well as substantially contributed to the coordination and implementation of the business mission.

Sergey Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Russia's Sherpa to BRICS, assessed the significance of the results of the Indian phase of the Programme, presented on 13 April at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University under the Russian Foreign Ministry), as follows: "The ideology that Mahatma Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy brought to the world, as well as such Programmes as “BRICS People Choosing Life” or the creation of the Tolstoy and Gandhi Center, is in demand today as never before. It is a living creation encompassing all avenues of cooperation, from trade and economy to science, education and values".


In his video greeting, Alexander Rybas, Russian Trade Commissioner to India, appreciated the role of the Programme’s business track, highlighting that "the numerous events of the Indian phase have received a great response from the Indian public, educational and business community", wished the business track of the Russian phase of the Programme success, and expressed the intention of the Trade Representation to continue providing all possible assistance to the Programme.

The Programme’s second place will be held in 2024, the year of Russia's BRICS chairmanship, in Moscow, the Moscow, Tver and Samara regions and Altai Krai, and will be dedicated to the 195th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy's birth, the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's memory, the 150th anniversary of Nicholas Roerich’s birth and the 100th anniversary of Nicholas, Yuri and Elena Roerich’s Central Asian expedition, as well as the 550th anniversary of the memory of AfanasyNIkitin and 70th anniversary of the establishment of trade and economic relations between Russia and India.


12 humanitarian and business track projects are being implemented within the framework of the Russian Programme, including: "BRICS Youth for Cybersecurity", "BRICS Youth Anthem", "Great BRICS Teachers", "Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi Center", "Open Your Heart to Kindness", "Great Teacher Nicholas Roerich. From the Turquoise Katun to the Ganges", "Boxing Ring as a Platform for BRICS Youth Moral Self-Education", "AfanasyNikitin: Trading Route to India", "BRICS Trading House AURA".

The Russian stage of the Programme commenced on December 21 at the Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, with the presentation of projects and demonstration of the cultural and educational exhibition "Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: a Unique Heritage", illustrating the eminent correspondence on non-violence between the two great sophists, taking place.

The ceremony featured voicing video missives by Vladimir Tolstoy, the Russian Federation President V.V. Putin Advisor for Cultural Affairs, Konstantin Mogilevskiy, Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Science of the Russian Federation, H.E. Denis Alipov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India, H.E. Mr. Rodrigo de Lima BaenaSoares, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil to the Russian Federation.

Lyudmila Skakovskaya, Council Federation Senator from the Tver Region, and Dmitry Polikanov, Deputy Head of Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rossotrudnichestvo), who highly appreciated the projects of the Russian stage of the Programme and expressed their desire to assist in its implementation, also addressed the guests with video messages.


In his video greeting, Sergey Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Russia's Sherpa to BRICS, punctuated that "today, particularly in view of the forthcoming BRICS enlargement, the grouping is facing a series of major challenges, in addressing which public diplomacy is playing and will surely keep playing a crucial role. It contributes to the strengthening of multilateral cooperation, creating favourable environment of trust and mutual understanding, as well as expanding the network of contacts our nations’ citizens". 

Lyudmila Sekacheva, President of the Regional Public Organisation "BRICS. World of Traditions", head of the Programme "BRICS People Choosing Life", welcomed the meeting’s participants noting that "the Programme of Life, which is fully targeted at the young people of BRICS countries who participate both in the design and the organisation of projects, serves as a practical educational and awareness-raising platform for enhancing positive and open inter-university collaboration and experience exchange. As Mahatma Gandhi, father of the Indian nation, used to say, "an ounce of practice is worth a thousand words".

According to Denis Gribov, Russian Deputy Minister of Education, "in the near future, Russia is to involve all BRICS countries, including the new integrants, in programmes of teaching the Russian language and specialised disciplines in Russian". The deputy minister noted this both in his speech and in an interview granted to TASS and "International Affairs" journal, emphasizing the significance of implementing the Programme to create centers of open education in Russian, as well as teaching Russian language abroad.


The guests at the presentation of the Russian Programme were warmly welcomed by Mr. Subrata Das, Minister of Education at the Embassy of India in Russia, who supported the Programme’s initiative to promote Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi's moral heritage in the Russian regions in 2024 for the sake of young generation moral upbringing in the premises of regional schools.


The business track of the Programme is gaining momentum and is producing excellent results in synergy with the humanitarian track. In 2024, an Indian-Brazilian business delegation is to travel to Russian regions to participate in business events and regional Trade fairs.

As regards Brazilian participation in the 2024 Programme, itsorganisation team successfully met with Camilla Moreira Neves, Head, Division for Contributing to Trade and Agricultural Development. The Russian party was represented by Lyudmila Sekacheva, President, Regional Public Organisation "BRICS. Word of Traditions", manager of the Programme, Andrey Korneev, Organisation trustee, while the Indian part was personified by Mr. AtulUpadhyay, Director general of the business track of the Russian Programme, Manager general, Pride Hotels Group.

Alexander Rybas, Russian Trade Commissioner to India, appreciated the role of the business track of the Programme, highlighting that "the numerous events of the Indian phase have received a great response from the Indian public, educational and business circles", wished the business track of the Russian phase of the Programme success, and expressed the intention of the Trade Representation to continue providing all possible assistance to the Programme.


The list of Guests of Honour present at the meeting included numerous representatives of the Department of Foreign Policy Planning and Latin American Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, as well Ariana Vakhitova, official, Department of European, North American and CIS countries and Multilateral Economic Cooperation, Russian Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The event brought together 15 Indian, Brazilian and South African speakers, all long-standing partners of the Organisation. The assembled guests actively discussed the Programme’s projects, highly appreciated them and expressed their desire to participate in the Programme’s agenda.

Mr. Atul Upadhyay, Director general of the business track of the Russian Programme, presented the socio-economic project "BRICS Trading House AURA" that envisages carrying out business missions in Russian regions with the participation of Russian, Indian and Brazilian companies, which would allow to form a multilateral business partners' pool. Furthermore, within the framework of the project, it is planned to launch a website on BRICS countries electronic commerce.

Moreover, in the long run, an eponymous multifunctional complex (center) purposed for developing trade and economic cooperation between the BRICS business partners is to be unveiled.


In turn, Dr. Gagan Pardwadhan, business partner of the Programme, member of the supervisory board, Regional Public Organisation "BRICS. World of Traditions", Director General, "Union Exports", Pune, India, stressed the relevance of establishing twinning partnerships between such Russian and Indian cities as Samara Urban District and Pune, Maharashtra, India, given the high level of their educational and economic spheres.

Manpreet Singh, Executive President, Indian Chamber of International Business (ICIB), Mumbai, India, who participated in business events of the Indian program taking place in Maharashtra in 2022, has become partner of the Russian phase's business track in conformity with the signed Memorandum of Cooperation.


Mr. Nair Devadathan, Executive Director, RIC Media, has become Counsellor to Lyudmila Sekacheva, President, Regional Public Organization “BRICS. WorldofTraditions”, managerof the Programme “BRICS People Choosing Life”.

Russian business partners include regional offices of Chamber of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation, Russian Export Centre branch offices, business associations, unions and enterprises.

The business track of 2024 Programme has already received support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Russian Trade Representations in India and Brazil, Brazilian Embassy in India, as well as regional suboffices of Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Industry and Trade.