Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From Russia With Love

Indonesia and Russia have had a long history in diplomatic relation, back when it was still U.S.S.R. Russia was one of the several countries that acknowledged Indonesia's independence. In 1955, President Soekarno visited Russia and Russia's Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev returned the visit in 1960. Russia helped Indonesia building Senayan sport stadium and the faculty of technic in Ambon, as well as giving statues for landmark (Tugu Pak Tani is just one of them).

Soekarno and Nikita Khrushchev (right) shared cigarette during a dinner in Bali.
 Source: LIFE

The relation was intensified in 1961, with the signing of Russia's aid contract to build two nuclear plant in Indonesia and the taking of Papua from the Dutch government. However, the relation cool down after the 1965 tragedy, as it was suspected that Russia was supporting the communist movement. As a result, many Indonesian students taking scholarship in Russia were not able to come home.

The relation improved in 1989 with President Soeharto's official visit. The fourth president, Abdurrachman Wahid, later opened the chance for former scholarship recipient to come home. Indonesia has also bought Russia's military equipment, such as Sukhoi.

I've always been curious about Russia. I wish I knew how to read Russian Cyrillic so that I can understand  Tolstoy better. I personally think the Russia's Bolshoi Ballet Academy is better than England's Royal Ballet School. I dream of riding Trans Siberia that connects Moscow-Vladivostok. I want to pray at St. Petersburg Mosque (yes, there is a Muslim community there). Sigh.      

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