«Russia, Greece, Europe: traditions of cooperation and common historic fate»
On November 1, 2016 the International Public and Scientific Conference «Russia, Greece, Europe: traditions of cooperation and common historic fate» was held at the Pillar Hall of Zappeion Palace in Athens as part of the official programme of the Bilateral Russian-Greek Year under the aegis of IV Greek-Russian Forum of Civil Societies.
The international conference was held by Russian public organizations the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called together with a number of Greek public bodies, and with support from the Steering Committee of the Bilateral Russian-Greek Year, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece.
The international conference was headed by Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called, Chairman of Supervisory Board of «Dialogue of Civilizations» Research Institute, and by Yannis Amanatidis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece.
In his opening speech at the conference Yannis Amanatidis expressed gratitude to the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called for organization and holding the International Conference and the Russian-Greek Forum of Civil Societies. In his speech he emphasized the high level of inter-state cooperation between the two countries with the visit of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Chairman of State Duma of the RF Sergey Naryshkin to Greece being the highest point of the relations. Yannis Amanatidis emphasized that «Russia and Greece are building relations based on common belief and historical tradition of our countries and people which is undoubtedly the advantage and grounds for development of the Russian-Greek relations». He also noted that our countries should combine their efforts to secure peace and safety of the Mediterranean and to overcome the crisis tendencies. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece highly appreciated the results of the Bilateral Greek-Russian Year and expressed hope that the active inter-cultural cooperation between our countries will be continued in the future.
In his speech addressed to participants of the conference Vladimir Yakunin expressed gratitude and acknowledgement for the Government of the Hellenic Republic and the Greek community for their help and support in organization and holding of the events initiated by the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called, and also for open and responsible line of cooperation in the matter of building the inter-state relations at the current stage.
In his report he particularly emphasized that «the idea of the conflict of civilizations, that is turning into a political fact in the modern world, should be put against another theoretic model focused on the integration perspective. While setting this goal the special mission of modern Greece is getting clear. The mission can be identified as the mission of «the civilizational bridge». Vladimir Yakunin also emphasized that «at present, when the myth about ontological hostility of Russia and Europe is being actively imposed and certain historical „grounds“ are found to refer to the present-day conflict, it is imperative to break the imposed negative stereotypes» and build a new dynamics of the relationship.
As for the festive events in memory of Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna, the Queen of Hellenes, which were held by the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called on October 31st in Athens and Piraeus, Vladimir Yakunin said: «When we speak about the role of Greece as the country in the dialogue between Russia and the West it is worth mentioning that the image of a country is formed by its people. In this respect, Queen Olga is remarkably uniting the four countries: Russia, Greece, Germany and England. It is not a matter of monarchical illusions. The idea is different: it is about finding symbolic images in history that would help create certain meaning for cooperation and friendship but not confrontation».
At the conference there were also speeches of representatives of government bodies, scientists-historians, political experts, the clergy, representatives of diplomatic corps, public organizations, mass media from Russia, Greece, Austria, Great Britain, Serbia, France, Switzerland and other European countries.
The conference was held as a plenary session which was divided into three theme-based discussion panels where the dialogue was devoted to vital issues of analysis of historical and modern events in the context of common historical fate of Russia and Europe, the issues of international cooperation in modern Europe and search for the grounds for international geopolitical and value-based consensus. One of the goals of the conference was to identify the principles of historic succession related to the matters of building relations between Russia, Greece and the countries of Europe at the new level of cooperation.
Reports at the final part of the conference were related to activity of Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna, the Queen of Hellenes, in Russia and Greece who became Queen of Greece in 1867 and devoted her life to strengthening and development of the Russian-Greek relations as well as to diplomatic and humanitarian rapprochement of the two countries.
Participants discussed and accepted the final document of the conference where in particular it is emphasized: «In XXI century Europe will be facing a difficult process of overcoming the contradictions and de-escalation of conflict potential, solving a lot of economic and social issues. In this situation uniting the efforts of civil societies can make it possible to create the zone for cooperation in Europe which is based on the principles of safety and equality, without separating lines and barriers, which can become a good example for building the practice of continental inter-state cooperation based on interaction of civil societies for the whole modern world».