Matvey Katkov at Moscow State University: future of interethnic dialogue depends on media
The media actively participate in the everyday interethnic dialogue in Russia, and its success largely depends on their objectivity, the expert of Vestnik Kavkaza Matvey Katkov said, speaking at the panel discussion about consolidating and advancing the practical experience of the Moscow diasporas in strengthening interethnic cooperation in Russia's capital and forming the image of an inhabitant of Moscow
He recalled that in the relations between Russia and the regions of the North Caucasus, the cultural factor initially coexisted closely with the political one long before the Caucasus became a separate area of Russian regional policy.
The expert specified that by the time of the Caucasus joining the Russian Empire in the XVIII - first half of the XIX century, this region was characterized by a very colorful religious and ethnic composition: here lived the Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians and pagans.
Katkov noted that many representatives of the local military and religious elite supported the educational policy and the opening of schools in the region. "Highlanders were invited to Russian educational institutions. At the same time the system of primary, secondary and higher education was created in the Caucasus," the expert said.
In addition, according to him, the written systems for the languages of the peoples of the North Caucasus rapidly developed in the 19th century. "Interest in Caucasian culture and languages was also shown by professors of Moscow universities: in 1829, the professor of the St. Petersburg University Gratsilevsky created the Kabardian alphabet to teach the Kabardian princes and nobles to read," Katkov added.
The expert drew attention to the fact that a cultural dialogue moved not only from the center to the outskirts, but also in the opposite direction. "The history of the western Adyg Kazy-Giray is indicative in this respect," he said.
"The creation of a system of secular education in the Caucasus did not exclude the possibility of obtaining religious education. At the same time, schools in mosques were actively spreading in the Caucasus, while Russia supported the creation of theaters and libraries in the Caucasus," the expert explained.
Matvey Katkov stressed that interest in the Caucasian culture did not fade even during such difficult periods as the Caucasian War of 1817-1864. Katkov recalled that in the 20th century, natives from the Caucasus not just occupied the highest posts in the USSR leadership, but also contributed to the development of Soviet culture. Like singers Muslim Magomayev and Vakhtang Kikabidze, writer Fazile Iskander, director Georgy Danelia and others.
"Today, in addition to the traditional and political mechanisms of cultural interaction, the media is gaining an increasing role. All significant regional events are reflected through their prism, through which a wide audience gets acquainted with the culture and traditions of the peoples of the Caucasus. The media's role and responsibility for creating an atmosphere of civil peace and harmony are immeasurably increasing in today's conditions," the expert said.
"The modern press unites almost all possible aspects of cultural dialogue, spreading information about the life of the region, and also serving as a platform for the exchange of expert opinions on acute, ambiguous issues," he explained.
"It can be confidently asserted that the future of interethnic dialogue today largely depends on the objectivity and professionalism of the media, as well as on their willingness to interact with the public and the ability to respond to the challenges of our time," Matvey Katkov concluded.