«Ukraine-Russia: a dialog», Congress of 24-25th April

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On the 24-25th of April in Kyiv there has been held a congress “Ukraine-Russia: a dialog”, where many leading Russian and Ukrainian economists, political scientists, civic activists, journalists and cultural workers, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Yulia LatyninaDmitry Bykov, Victor Shenderovich, Semyon Gluzman, Anatoliy Borsyuk have taken part.

The main tasks of the congress have been holding a symbolic solidarity protest, improving cooperation between the Russian and Ukrainian intelligentsia, discussing the measures of resisting the informational war and state propaganda and creating a “road map” for coming out of the crisis in Ukrainian-Russian relationships.

The congress has been opened by Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Here is translation of his speech:

Do what seems right and come what might.

During the last month the question I’ve heard the most was: why hold this conference in the first place? I’ve got my usual answer, which has helped me during the long 10 years: Do what seems right and come what might.

We have gathered for different reasons, but first of all because we don’t agree with President Vladimir Putin’s politics with regards to Ukraine. We have gathered also because we would like to express the solidarity with the Ukrainian people, who is being prevented  from building its own life by the Kremlin regime.

Ukraine is going through a tough period, but I believe that the people, who has been through 2 revolutions during the past 10 years, has held out on Maydan under the bullets, can put up with the loss of statehood, and this means that we’ve got not only reasons for anxiety, but for optimism as well.

We have gathered also because we are outraged at how the Russian state propaganda is lying to its own citizens, and we want to tell the people what we can see and hear ourselves.

We have gathered to look each other in the eyes and say once again: there is no dictator, even the most powerful, who can make us, independent and thinking people, enemies.

We can and we want to solve the most difficult tasks, which our life brings to our peoples. During this conference we will be able to talk about the analogy of Marshall plan for Ukraine, creating the European standards universities, the cultural dialog, the transparent media and, of course, about the fight with the corruption.

The most tragic for us, Russians, is that the President Putin is solving not the global, strategic tasks. He is again, now in Ukraine, using his authority to take his revenge for a personal insult. He is insulted for a revolution, for ex-president Yanukovich’s and his corrupted entourage’s exile. As a result of these ambitions the opportunity for Moscow to become a center of attraction for the whole Slavic world is blocked, the idea of unification of the Orthodox church around Moscow is buried and the millions of our countrymen abroad have become hostility objects. It is as if the USA had put its military forces in Canada in order to create the Euro-Atlantic union so that to dictate how Canadians should build the relationships inside the country and to steal a piece of its land. By the way, as a result of all this the position of the Slavic centre after a thousand years may return to Kyiv. I will be very happy for Kyiv, but as a Russian I naturally vote for Russia.

In the 21st century one may live according to the rules of the past, one may think of expanding his territories by using force instead of improving the lives of his people. But the thing is that it’s not only a strange and wild behavior – it’s also a losing behavior. Construction of the European biggest mosque in the small Chechnya or a sea-bridge to the Crimean peninsula instead of the roads, schools and houses for the Russians who live behind the Garden Ring – here is the result of the “big victories” of the present regime.

My personal experience of the last 10 years has taught me to think long-term and remember that after the darkness always comes light and even the most chimerical dreams may come true tomorrow. I am proud of my compatriots who are able to keep their mind clear, to think about the future of their country and are able to go against “aggressive-obedient majority”.

I wish you successful work!

Original source: http://www.newtimes.ru/articles/detail/81827

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