There is a strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia. Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre at the Embassy of India, Moscow (JNCC) maintains close cooperation with leading Russian institutions, including the Institute of Philosophy (Moscow); Russian State University for Humanities(Moscow); Institute of Oriental Studies(Moscow); Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Moscow State University; School of International Relations at the St. Petersburg University; Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (St Petersburg); Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology & Ethnography (Kunstkamera)- St Petersburg; Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok);and Russian Institute for Cultural Research (Krasnodar). There is a Mahatma Gandhi Chair on Indian Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, Moscow. About 20 Russian Institutions, including leading universities and schools, regularly teach Hindi to 1500 Russian students. Apart from Hindi, languages such as Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, Sanskrit and Pali are taught in Russian Institutions. There is general interest among Russian people in Indian dance, music, Yoga and Ayurveda. JNCC conducts classes in yoga, dance, music and Hindi for approximately 500 students every month.
There are regular cultural initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts between India and Russia, including reciprocal Years of each others’ culture. The President of India inaugurated the Year of Indian Culture ‘Namaste Russia’ in Moscow on 10 May 2015. About 15 performances in 8 cities were held as part of ‘Namaste Russia’ across various parts of Russia over 2015. The Embassy with support from regional governments organized week-long celebrations marking the second International Day of Yoga (IDY) covering 70 regions spanning 11 time zones and involving over 50,000 Yoga enthusiasts.