Oksana Solopova: "The most important thing today is to lay foundation for mutual understanding in the future"
Two days ago, Moscow hosted the second international conference "Youth and International Cooperation: Russia's and Belarus' Cooperation Experience." It was organized by the coordination council of heads of Russian compatriots organizations under the Russian Embassy in Belarus, laboratory of diaspora history of the Moscow State University's History Faculty, and several other organizations with participation of Rossotrudnichestvo representative office in Belarus. Deputy Dean of the History Faculty of the Moscow State University, Oksana Solopova, discussed prospects of cooperation in the field of youth policy between Russia and Belarus in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- How was the idea of organizing this event born? What goals do you want to achieve?
- The idea was born a year ago in Minsk. In fact, it was born among our compatriots, those who live in Belarus, those who associate themselves with Russian language, with Russian culture, while being an integral part of the Belarusian society and sons of their Belarusian land. Belarus is the only state among neighbouring countries, where both Belarusian and Russian are state languages. It has a very balanced, very calm, very adequate understanding that there's nothing in the history of nation that can suddenly become unnecessary. Any sudden changes are not typical for Belarusian consciousness. A very correct, balanced, very thorough approach to comprehension of their own history is what unites us and people of the Republic of Belarus. One of the leaders of this movement, Andrei Gerashchenko, agreed with chairman of public organization "Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Belarusians of Russia", Sergey Vladimirovich Kandybovich, that the second event should take place in Moscow. In this case, partnership between Belarusian NGOs and the Moscow State University allowed to gather 50 of our young compatriots from Belarus at the History Faculty. Here, they can meet many young historians from the Moscow State University, from MGIMO, from RANEPA, from the Institute of Economy and Service, from the Institute of Service and Culture. These guys talk about common pages of Russian and Belarusian history, about what unites them, about common problems, about common projects that will undoubtedly be created in the framework of these meetings.
- Is this event specially timed to the Victory Day?
- Yes. That's why today our faculty became a platform for our annual student concert. Our Belarusian friends will be able to listen how Russian children sing songs about the war. Tomorrow we will have another event in the framework of this meeting. The government of Moscow and Moscow's Department of National Policy and Interregional Relations have been carrying out a grandiose project for a year - Moscow festival of different nationalities, called "My Home - Moscow". All nationalities of Moscow celebrate days of their national culture at Moscow Palace of Pioneers. Thanks to the understanding of our colleagues from the government, we were allowed to combine these two events - our guests will be able to attend the Day of Belarusian Culture. Tomorrow's event will be held with the support of the government of Moscow, as well as the Embassy of Belarus in Russia, with the participation of the Embassy of Russia in Belarus. Rossotrudnichestvo supports us. This platform will bring together Muscovites, it will be interesting for them to listen to songs in Belarusian, listed to modern songs that still have folklore motives, see how Belarusians of Moscow can preserve their culture in Russia's conditions. We have absolutely everything for this, there are no obstacles.
- What topics will be the most important during cooperation in the humanitarian field?
- People are interested in the problem of integration. This is one of the most urgent topics. These issues are associated with interstate relations, with foreign policy of Russia and Belarus in general. These are serious issues that are also discussed at panel discussions, in the framework of sectional sessions. These are issues of common history of Russia and Belarus, those pages, when Russia and Belarus were part of one state, and those pages when Belarus wasn't a part of the same state. All these stages of the formation and development of Belarusian state and Russian state became were discussed at today's conference.
- Is there a mechanism of youth cooperation, tested in the framework of the Union State, which can be extrapolated to all the CIS countries?
- It think that the youth movement needs to be properly supported and financed. Then there will be no problems. There is no doubt that today there is a need to create a permanent Russian-Belarusian platform, where young people would gather and discuss their professional interests, their education, their prospects. Interstate projects can be created based on this, and then understanding between our nations will be even greater. The most important thing today is to lay foundation for mutual understanding in the future. We must preserve and pass on what we had and what we have today to the future generations. We're grateful to Rossotrudnichestvo in the Republic of Belarus, because they support this initiative, support this project. After this event we will publish a compilation of materials.