BANGKOK — Kick off your snow boots and do the Kalinka at a Russian festival next month at a downtown mall.
To commemorate the 120th anniversary of Russo-Thai diplomatic relations, the “Sharing Our Past, Forging Our Future” Russian festival will be held July 14 to 16 at Siam Paragon. Head hover for a taste of the frosty north to see historical exhibitions, stage shows and sip on some borscht.
“Russia has always been a major player in our relationship with foreign countries, especially during the reign of Rama V,” said Songphol Sukchan, director general of the Department of Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a Thursday press event to announce the festival. “Nicholas II visited Siam in 1891, and six years later Rama V visited him in Russia on July 3, 1897. That’s the day we count as the inauguration of our bilateral relations.”
Attendees can learn about the 12 decades of diplomatic history at the exhibitions, gnosh on Russian food arranged into the shape of Gen. Prayuth’s face and clap along to Russian folk dances by Thai dancers from the Katyusha Dance Academy.
Don’t forget to strike a pose with the event’s mascot, Mr. Russky Sri Ayudhya – a Muay Thai-fighting polar bear – inspired by Muay Thai champ Buakaw Banchamek’s win against Russian Artem Pashporin in 2015. Mr. Russky Sri Ayudhya’s signature move? The “Fist of Friendship.”
A commemorative stamp of the photo of Nicholas II and Rama V sitting together will also be issued for the anniversary and will be sold starting Monday – the date of the anniversary – by Russian and Thai post offices.
“To My Little Son,” a book by writer Narisara Chakrabongse, member of the royal family, will also be unveiled at the festival. It’s a collection of correspondence between Rama V and his 40th son Chakrabongse Bhuvanath, who studied in the Russian empire in the late 19th century and returned to Siam with a Russian wife.