Grigory Petushkov: "CIS countries are our closest friends and partners"

Grigory Petushkov: "CIS countries are our closest friends and partners"

The interlocutor of Vestnik Kavkaza is the chairman of the National Youth Council of Russia, head of the board of the CIS Council on Youth Affairs Grigory Petushkov.

- Grigory Valerievich, the National Youth Council of Russia is the main operator of youth projects in the CIS. What tasks and goals do you formulate when implementing bilateral or multilateral projects?

- Our organization is public, not a governmental one, as they say, non-profit, it is not the main operator. There is a huge number of state and non-governmental organizations dealing with issues of interaction with the CIS countries. Of course, in terms of youth policy cooperation in the CIS countries, the National Council is one of the most active non-governmental public youth organizations.

The CIS youth organization, which is defined by the decision of CIS heads of state as basic for youth policy, operates in Russia as well. These functions are performed by the Institute of Youth Policy and International Relations of the Russian Technological University MIREA. We work together.

Before speaking about goals and objectives, it makes sense to tell about our unique structure - the CIS Council on Youth Affairs. There are a lot of such councils in various areas, we have one on youth policy as well. By the way, it was formed 15 years ago. As a rule, the Council includes two representatives from the country. One of them is from the authorized executive government agency, responsible for the implementation of state-youth policy. Most often these are ministries and a deputy minister. And the second representative is a youth organization's head that deals with youth issues. The Russian Federation has a good experience of being represented there by the Ministry of Education and Science's department, responsible for youth policy, and the chairman of the National Youth Council of Russia, for the last few years it was me.

The chairmanship of the council is transferred from country to country. Now it is Russia's turn. By the way, Russia's chairmanship was extended at the last meeting. For the first time in the history of the council, the chairman was not a representative of government authority, but the chairman of the National Youth Council of Russia.

Answering your question about our goals and objectives, I will say that they are also formal, which are defined in the strategy of international youth cooperation. Of course, each of the incoming countries has goals - national goals, as well as the goals of each organization and national council.

CIS countries are our closest friends and partners. Everything related to youth policy and young people in many respects determine and will determine relations within the CIS and between our countries. Our main task is to make these relations stronger, more friendly, real, so there were substantial, interesting, effective, joint projects in demand among young people in the CIS as much as possible.

We also make various sociological studies on how young people behave, what young people need. Often, all these issues, despite the difference between our countries, are largely similar, and we help each other here.

-  This is a very difficult time - the coronavirus pandemic has messed things up in many ways. How do you now maintain contacts with partners in the CIS countries?

- The pandemic messed things up indeed. The next meeting of the council was to be held in Moscow on the eve of May 9. We planned that the council members will see the Victory Parade. Unfortunately, these plans could not be implemented, although taking into account the transfer of the parade, I hope that everything will work out.

We keep in touch online. All the events planned this year so far postponed for the second half of the year, including a large number of events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The council meeting will be held in the autumn.

The CIS Heads of State Council's regular meeting, which was to be held in early April in Almaty, will be held online on May 12. One of the questions will be devoted to the strategy of international youth cooperation for the next decade, and I will present a report on this strategy. There are many such online stories. They help us stay on the agenda and continue our cooperation.

- Your organization actively cooperates with the Republic of Azerbaijan on the youth issue. What projects are planned for the second half of 2020?

- We have been successfully cooperating with colleagues from Azerbaijan for a long time: both with the Azerbaijan National Council of Youth Organizations and with the ministry. Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Intigam Babayev has long been a member of our council, one of the elders. He was a chairman of the National Council of Youth Organizations of Azerbaijan once. Last year, the ministries of science and higher education of Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on youth policy, which was prepared 10 years ago, at the last meeting of the council, which was just held in Azerbaijan. For various reasons, they couldn't sign it earlier, but thanks to our efforts, the signing finally took place. This is really great, because we have very good, close relations with Azerbaijan in the field of youth policy. This year we will definitely hold the next Russian-Azerbaijani youth forum. Last year it was held in St. Petersburg, this year it will be held in Azerbaijan. I called my colleagues from Azerbaijan recently, they confirmed that they would hold a forum.

A few years ago, we started a good tradition of holding a forum of CIS youth organizations, which has already been held in Moscow three times. This year we plan this forum to be held in Azerbaijan for the first time.

A number of common events of the CIS countries will also be dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory. We also plan to hold a common CIS forum with the participation of our Azerbaijani colleagues, including in terms of preparing a common CIS youth forum on sustainable development goals.

- Speaking of volunteer projects, what's about interaction in this sphere?

- Volunteering is one of the priority tasks in many countries, including in the CIS member states. Azerbaijan was one of the first CIS countries that adopted a law on volunteering. If I remember correctly, this happened in 2009, about 10 years ago, with the support of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Youth and Sports in order to encourage young people to volunteer. A large number of projects in this area are encouraged by youth public organizations, including in cooperation with Russia.

Since 2013, the National Council of Youth Organizations of Azerbaijan, which is our partner organization, has been implementing the program of the Azerbaijan Volunteer Service, which covers the long-term regional and international exchange of volunteers at the regional and international levels, as well as their participation in various international and national programs. They have a traditional certificate under the program of the European Volunteer Service, which has the status of a receiving and sending organization in Azerbaijan and ensures the participation of Azerbaijani youth in international volunteer projects.

There is a good experience in holding the European Games in the capital of Azerbaijan in 2015; in holding the World Youth and Student Festiva in Sochi in 2017, the World Cup and smaller events, where our colleagues and friends from Azerbaijan took part.

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