Russian President Vladimir Putin will be joining an expedition of the Russian Geographical Society to explore sites along the Crimean peninsula in late August. While details of Putin's upcoming trip to Crimea, which Russia controversially annexed in 2014 during the Ukrainian revolution, were supposed to be confidential until it began, Russian newspaper Izvestia Daily reported Friday that the trip will focus on along the Great Silk Road and sunken ships in the Black Sea.
At a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society's board of trustees earlier this year, Putin said that the organization's expeditions, which explore historical and natural sites throughout the country, are critical in forming the attitudes of Russian citizens about their motherland and remains integral to a patriotic education, according to Pravda.
The Academic Council and the Executive Board of the Society, under the recommendation of Putin, plan to embark on a five year "Crimean expedition" this year to accelerate the recently annexed peninsula into the economic, political and cultural fields of Russia. The Kremlin has been trying to reinforce the cultural link between Crimea and Russia to maintain its geopolitical grasp on the disputed region with Ukraine. The United Nations does not recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.
PORTRAIT OF A GROUP OF MEN. Samarkand. 1897. Photos of the Russian Geographical Society, Colonel Leon Borshchevsky pic.twitter.com/h5w1dHRPbq
— OldTashkent (@oldtashkent) May 11, 2015
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not confirm reports that Putin will join in the trip by the Russian Geographical Society, which will celebrate its 170th anniversary later in 2015, to Crimea, reported TASS. Peskov previously said on Wednesday that he would take part in a Society expedition in August, but gave no details of the trip.
Putin and Shoigu met with the board of Russian Geographical Society. On the agenda: maybe polar bears or occupation? pic.twitter.com/4lryllNrgp
— GorseFires Collectif (@GorseFires) April 27, 2015
Putin has made several expeditions with the Society before, most recently to Gogland Island in the Gulf of Finland in 2013 to participate in underwater research to find the 1869 sailing frigate "Oleg." The Russian Geographical Study recently discovered three warships from World War II at the bottom of the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean peninsula, according to Izvestia Daily.