Union of Soviet Friendship Societies and Cultural Relations with
Union of Soviet Friendship Societies and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries
a large voluntary union of Soviet public organizations established to develop and encourage friendship and cultural cooperation between the peoples of the Soviet Union and foreign states. The union was founded in 1958 to replace the All-Union Society for Foreign Cultural Exchange, which was established in 1925. Its highest body is the ail-Union conference, convened in 1958, 1967, and 1974. The governing body between conferences is the council, and the executive body is the presidium.
In 1975 the union consisted of 63 friendship societies, assigned to deal with various countries, including 12 socialist countries. It includes the USSR-France, USSR-Great Britain, USSR-Finland, and USSR-Italy societies, the Society of Soviet-Indian Cultural Relations, and the USSR-Arab Republic of Egypt Friendship Society. Other societies include associations for friendship and cultural relations with Arab, African, and Latin-American countries, 11 associations and sections for scientists and cultural workers, 14 republic societies, and six branches in cities of the RSFSR (Leningrad, Volgograd, Irkutsk, Sochi, Tol’iatti, and Khabarovsk). The Association for Exchange Between Soviet and Foreign Cities is also a member of the union. The union’s friendship societies include 25,000 enterprises, kolkhozes, sovkhozes, educational institutions, and scientific and cultural agencies. More than 50 million people participate in the union.
Republic societies alone annually sponsor approximately 25,000 projects dedicated to the history, science, art, and major events and celebrations of other countries, as well as to the establishment of solidarity with the peoples of Indochina, the Middle East, Africa, and Chile. The Moscow House of Friendship annually sponsors approximately 2,000 projects.
In 1975 the union maintained contact with 7,500 organizations and with public figures, scientists, and cultural workers in 134 countries. In all, 108 societies, associations, and institutes of friendship with the USSR were functioning on all continents of the world. The societies for friendship with the USSR maintained by Bulgaria, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Mongolia, Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Finland, France, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea have been awarded the Order of Friendship Among Peoples.
In 1975 Soviet friendship societies were awarded the following prizes from Socialist countries: the Order of Georgi Dimitrov (Bulgaria), the Order of Peace and Friendship (Hungary), the Great Star of Friendship Among Peoples (GDR), the Order of Sukhe-Bator (Mongolia), the Order of Tudor Vladimirescu First Class (Rumania), and the Order of Victorious February (Czechoslovakia).
The union publishes the newspaper Moscow News (circulation, 600,000) in English, French, Arabic, and Spanish and the monthly journal Kul’tura i zhizn’ (Culture and Life; circulation, 90,000) in Russian, English, French, German, and Spanish. In 1974 the union was awarded the Order of Friendship Among Peoples.
R. R. SAAKOV