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International Geographical Union

Russian National
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International Geographical Union
Russian National Committee

Russian National Committee of the International Geographical Union

The Russian National Committee of the International Geographical Union is a national structural unit of the International Geographical Union called upon:

  • to maintain permanent contacts on scientific research and organizational issues between Russian geographers, on the one hand, the core IGU bodies, the National Committees of other member-countries, and various national and international scientific and scholarly organizations, on the other;

  • to form delegations to Congresses, to nominate Russian geographers to the Executive Committee and Commissions of the IGU, to prepare and hold events connected with the participation of Russian geographers in the IGU and other international organizations on geographical sciences;

  • to inform the public of the work of the IGU, its Commissions and other bodies, as well as the national committees of other countries;

  • to promote scientific co-operation with foreign geographical research organizations.
The experience of international geographical congresses gave rise to the idea of creating the International Geographical Union, which was established in 1922. Russian geographers took an active part in the work of the IGU from its very inception. Even before the IGU was installed, Russian geographers had attended geographical congresses. Thus, Russia was a participant of the 1st Congress, which attracted 600 delegates from 20 countries, mostly from Europe, as well as the USA, Brazil and Paraguay. At the Fifth Congress (Bern, 1891) commissions on immigration, world time, geographical bibliography and on compiling a 1:1,000,000 world map were set up. Russia was an active contributor to the project.

When in the mid-1950s the "Iron curtain" went up a little, the USSR, through its Academy of Sciences, joined a number of scientific unions, the International Geographical Union among them. In January 1957, the National Committee of Soviet Geographers (the NCSG) was set up under the Geology and Geography Division of the USSR Academy of Sciences for "ensuring full-fledged representation of Soviet geographical organizations in the IGU".

In 1976, the 23rd Congress of the IGU was held in the USSR, the purpose of which was to assess the overall progress in geographical science in the world at that time. By and large, the Congress was very interesting and fruitful; it drew a record number of participants, attracted much attention abroad to our country and significantly stepped up the international contacts of Soviet geographers. The National Committee was at the helm of the efforts to organize the forum.

The Russian National Committee of the IGU, established in 1992 by a decision of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is legal heir of the NCSG, which had been coordinating interactions between Soviet geographical organizations and the IGU since the Soviet Union formally joined the latter until the USSR was disintegrated. Since perestroika began, the RNC has received wider access to the activities of the IGU, with contacts and participation of Russian scientists in IGU congresses and conferences expanding. Thus, over 20 Russian geographers from Moscow, Petersburg, Voronezh, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok and Birobijan attended the Washington congress in 1992, scientific papers were presented by Russian scientists at various panel discussions and several plenary sessions. The General Assembly of the IGU in 1988 elected Vladimir M. Kotlyakov a Vice-President of the IGU for the first time, and the Washington Congress in 1992 re-elected him for another term as First Vice-President. Among the 30 commissions and research groups that functioned between 1992 and 1996, there were two proposed by the Russian geographers, Commission on Historical Monitoring and Ad Hoc Committee on Management of Natural Resources Use and Ecological Mapping. In Prague and the Hague, the situation was very much the same, with most Russian participants receiving financial support from these congress organizing committees, which enabled them to attend the meetings.

The IGU Conference in Moscow in 1995 provided over 200 Russian geographers with a chance to meet their foreign colleagues, surpassing all previous IGU events in terms of Russian participation. The latest 29th Congress in Seoul elected Nikita F. Glazovsky, a prominent Russian geographer, Vice-President of the IGU. At present, many Russian scientists take active part in the work of the IGU commissions and working groups. Now the task for the Russian National Committee is to involve Russian geographers in the work of the IGU through individual and corporate membership in this international organization. Cooperation on a regular basis with geographers from the CIS countries expanded as the Joint Scientific Council on Fundamental Issues of Geography was established under the auspices of the International Association of Academies of Science (IAAS).

The Russian National Committee publishes a Bulletin to inform the geographical scientific community of the activities of the RNC and other geographical societies in Russia, at irregular intervals, conditioned by how active the persons and organizations concerned are, and how much information they submit for publication.


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