Putin’s cousin promotes exchanges in Korea

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Putin’s cousin promotes exchanges in Korea

Entrepreneur Roman Igorevich Putin, a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, emphasized the importance of advancing bilateral cooperation in education and collaboration between his country’s humanities sector and Korea’s IT sector during a visit here.

The 38-year-old Putin, director of the Russian Academic Foundation, an organization that supports funding and development of higher education, arrived in Korea last Wednesday for a weeklong visit that includes stops in Daegu, Pohang and Gyeongju.

The businessman is a first cousin once removed of Russia’s president.

“The first goal is for the humanities sector developed in Russia and Korea’s IT technology to be shared between the universities of our two countries,” Putin told the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday.

The younger Putin also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Group MRT and is co-owner of several Russian companies including MRT-AVIA company, a Russian maker of gyroplanes.

The Russian Academic Foundation was founded in 2013 and has set up branches in five countries including China and Egypt. Its sixth office was set up in Korea this year.

Putin, an independent private investment advisor, called the foundation “a young foundation” and revealed his ambitions for Russia and Korea to work towards advancing bilateral higher education cooperation.

“Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia passed through chaotic times, and university students became interested in the arts, humanities and economics,” he said.

“In contrast, they were remiss on engineering or IT. This is the opposite of Korea, a powerful nation, where students avoided the humanities. If the two countries accept each have their own strengths, we can advance together.”

The foundation is pushing for student exchanges between Korea and Russia, including one in which Korea students spend a year at a Moscow higher education institute and learn Russian.

Putin is also the head of the board of trustees of the Russian Taekwon-Do ITF Federation. He is a graduate of the Military Academy of Logistics and Transport.

BY KIM SUN-MI [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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