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Peter the Great bust unveiled in French academy of sciences

October 5, 2017
Deputy Culture Minister of the Russian Alla Manilova poses next to the statue of Russian czar Peter the Great during a ceremony at the Academy of Sciences in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. Russia donates a statue of Peter the Great to the French Academy of Sciences to mark 300 years since the Russian czar visited Paris in a pivotal moment in Russia's opening to the west. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — Russia has donated a statue of Peter the Great to the French Academy of Sciences to mark 300 years since the Russian czar visited Paris in a pivotal moment in his crusade to open his country toward the West.

In unveiling the bust Thursday, Russian Deputy Culture Minister Alla Manilova told The Associated Press it’s a “gesture that underlines the depths of our relations.”

She also called it a gesture of “historic justice”: While the French academy holds busts of other great world thinkers, she said, “there was one who wasn’t here — it was Peter.”

The ceremony in the prestigious, domed Paris academy comes as French President Emmanuel Macron has cautiously sought to improve ties with Russia after years of East-West tensions over Moscow’s actions in Syria and Ukraine.

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