Yefim Pivovar: "It's extremely important to pass down memories of war to next generations"
Last week, the 6th Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions, focused on inter-regional ties as a foundation for the two nations’ common cultural and humanitarian space, was held in St. Petersburg. The forum was organized by the Federation Council and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus. The historian, the corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the president of the Russian State University for the Humanities, member of the Council of the Russian Historical Society Yefim Pivovar told Vestnik Kavkaza about the forum and humanitarian contacts between Moscow and Minsk.
- Efim Iosifovich, how would you assess Russian-Belarusian inter-regional relations?
- The importance of these cross-border cooperation bilateral forums cannot be overestimated. They are held on a regular basis. There are such bilateral forums as Russia-Kazakhstan, Russia-Azerbaijan and so on. Particular attention is paid to the Russian-Belarusian forum, because it coincided with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko's visit to Russia, the talks between Lukashenko and Putin and their speeches at the forum. Of course, it made the event much more significant on the international scale. Such forums increasingly expand the possibilities of our mutual contacts and cooperation. This time almost all regions of Belarus and almost 60 regions of Russia were represented at the forum. It was about cooperation between the regions of Belarus and St. Petersburg, with the Leningrad Region and other federal entities. Many agreements have been signed there.
- Which of them do you deem most important?
- There will be two very interesting projects. This is the creation of a high-speed highway connecting Belarus, Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition, a center for the Unified State Examination was created in Mogilev, which will expand the possibilities for Belarusian applicants to enter Russian universities and vice versa. Many participants in this process have their own agenda, including us. The forum was specifically devoted to humanitarian and cultural cooperation, which includes educational programs as well. For a long time, we have been preparing the first joint Russian-Belarusian study guide for students and teachers of the two countries, this is especially important for border schools and teachers and, of course, high school students. The guide is to cover the period of pre-war years, the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Second World War as a whole, the restoration of the national economy after the war, including the tragedy of wartime, the hard times that the peoples of our countries went through.
By the way, Alexander Lukashenko, speaking in St. Petersburg, noted that he understands how important the Leningrad people's firmness was during the blockade. We all understand how important the resilience of Belarus and all the peoples living in Belarus was during the Great Patriotic War. These were a partisan movement, the underground, resistance to the invaders. An important theme is also the genocide committed by the invaders on the territory of the seized lands of Belarus, the deaths of Belarusians and other peoples living in this territory, including the deaths of a huge number of the Jewish population, the Holocaust, Belarus was not immune to which.
- All these topics will be included in the guide?
- Yes. A guide is needed that would sum up some of the results of studying this topic, which would show new approaches in the study of this problem by historians and archivists of the two countries. It will include a paradigmatic section, a whole collection of documents from the Russian and Belarusian archives, including documents declassified in recent years. Several meetings were held when the subject and structure of this publication were determined. Now the writing team has already been determined as a whole, and we will get down to work. It is extremely important that this guide comes to schools, to classrooms in these years memorable for our countries. This year, when we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus, and the next year, which will be celebrated in the whole world and our country, is another anniversary of the victory over fascism. We would like to publish this work by these dates. This is a great responsibility, because we want to show both the position of Belarusian historians and the position of Russian historians. In many ways, we have similar viewpoints, there are no cardinal contradictions or disagreements. Nevertheless, it will enrich the idea of that very important, heroic page in the history of our peoples. The guide is intended for the younger generation. This is not the material which is important only for historians or those who remember the post-war years. It is important for a generation that has grown and developed in completely different conditions. It's extremely important to pass down those memories to next generations. And that's what we do.