Denis Pushilin participates in Cultural Space of Peoples of Russia and Donbass Conference in Moscow

On April 19, in Moscow, on the basis of the Korston hotel club, on the initiative of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Cultural Space of Peoples of Russia and Donbass Conference was held.

The event was attended by Chairman of the DPR People’s Council, Head of the Russian Centre Denis Pushilin, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Committee for Public Support of Ukraine’s Southeast residents Yury Vorobyov, Acting Deputy Chairman of the LPR Council of Ministers Alexander Drobot, First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Aristarkhov, Director General – Artistic Director of the M. Brovun Donetsk State Academic Music and Drama Theatre Natalya Volkova, Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Director General of ANO Institute for Foreign Policy Studies and Initiatives, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Public Support of the Residents of the Residents of the Southeast of Ukraine Veronica Krashennikova, representatives of the Russian Federation’s regions, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic, political analysts and experts.

In his welcoming speech, Yury Vorobyev outlined the main areas of interaction between the regions of Russia and the Donbass.

“Work on our interaction has definitely yielded certain results. The foundation of long-term cooperation between the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics with a number of regions of the Russian Federation was laid, and this work is gaining momentum. The sectoral dialogue is intensifying, cultural and humanitarian contacts are expanding. We are grateful to the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and personally to the First Deputy Minister Vladimir Aristarkhov, who is taking part today in the work of our conference. I also express my gratitude to the representatives of the People’s Republics of the Donbass and the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, delegates to the conference from the Astrakhan, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Orenburg regions, the Republic of Mari El, the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra, Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, which carry out a huge work to expand our ties and strengthen cooperation in the humanitarian and cultural spheres.

To implement these projects, we are attracting an increasing number of public figures and specialists from various branched. Activities are becoming more diverse and interesting. In the Russian regions, many cultural and educational programs connected with the People’s Republics were launched. We also noted a significant increase in the interest of residents of the Donbass and Russian regions to the repertoires of theatres, exhibitions, concert halls and cinemas. The number of their visitors is constantly growing. Creative collectives of People’s Republics take an active part in concerts and competitions held in our country. There are also meetings on the exchange of experience in the spheres of culture, sport, youth policy, innovation, library activities and internships on the basis of city museums.

Our younger generation also takes an active part in the implementation of these cultural projects. For graduates of the People’s Republics schools, additional budget places were organized in 11 Russian universities. Today, we have about three and a half thousand students from the Donbass studying. These are future ambassadors of peace and will between our fraternal peoples.

The interaction between the inhabitants of the Donbass and the Russian regions allows us not only to realize our cultural and historical community, but also helps us to jointly build our own destiny and look to the future with optimism.

For us, the Donbass, of course, is part of the Russian world. In this notion we lay a civilizational meaning, which is larger than the perception of territories or political systems. First of all, this is a special consciousness of a person. Perhaps, at some point, 20-25 years ago, we missed work in this direction. We did not interact well with the regions of Ukraine, when it was still possible to preserve our common history, traditions and values. It is obvious that if our ties were not forcibly torn in 1991, the negative consequences that resulted in the coup d’état in Kiev and the armed conflict in the South-East of Ukraine would not have happened. These events have disengaged us so far that the path to the rapprochement of the peoples of Russia and Ukraine will be long and complex. Therefore, today we must preserve at least what we can. We expect that the regions of Russia and the Donbass Republic will sympathize with this idea and these meanings.

I want to assure that the members of the Public Support Committee will help the cultural figures, public organizations and regions who are ready to cooperate in every possible way. This will be the basis for our work,” Yury Vorobyov said.

The head of the DPR delegation, Denis Pushilin, congratulated those present on the opening of the conference and noted the importance of cooperation between the representatives of the DPR and the Russian Federation in various areas.

“Let me congratulate all of us on the opening of such a long-awaited conference!

Some 30 years ago, one could not imagine talking or even thinking about the fact that the humanitarian space of the Donbass and Russia may not be one. We were all part of one country. We were connected by a common historical memory, moral and spiritual values, cultural integrity, intertwined with common traditions. After tens of years and hundreds of events, we continue to speak the native Russian language, live, feel and create with our Russian soul. And for the second year we have been actively working to restore the relationships lost with years of ill-considered foreign policy of Ukraine.

Within the framework of the Integration Programme implemented by the Russian Centre, we are actively cooperating with the regions of the Russian Federation in a wide range of areas – culture, education, sports, health care and many others. Our specialists on returning from trips to Russia enrich their activities with a lot of useful skills. But we are ready not only to receive, but also to give. We want to share our experience, scientific and cultural achievements, to develop together, hand in hand.

For example, practice of exchanges of experience and internships has positively proved itself. But science does not stand still, and the development of a joint programme of all sorts of specialized events – forums or practices – can contribute to raising the level of knowledge of specialists, scientists, doctors, the exchange of developments and achievements.

Young people deserve special attention. Given the unrecognized status of the Republics by the world community, our young men and women have limited opportunities in implementing various initiatives. I would very much like that today we managed to reach an understanding of the need for assistance in the implementation of projects aimed at the development of children’s, young people’s, student’s and youth creativity, as well as patriotic upbringing of the younger generation. And I’m sure that each speaker has plenty of such initiatives.

I shall add that the conflict that is currently taking place in the Donbass is quite complex. Simple and fast solutions do not exist. We are well aware that such a large number of people (and in the present borders of the Republics it is 4 million people) cannot live in a vacuum. Ukraine, pushing us away by actions, aggression, blockade, thus is pushing the Donbass to integrate processes with the Russian Federation. This activity has already been successfully carried out with almost 20 regions of Russia, and it will only expand. I am sure that such events are needed.

I ask you to work at the next meetings on a schedule of activities, and especially those meetings in which young people are involved. This is our future, and without due attention we can be deprived of it.

Today’s conference brought together public and state figures, representatives of youth organizations, active participants in integration processes and journalists.

I sincerely hope that the topics that will be discussed today in the sections will create a solid foundation for a long and solid joint work aimed at deep integration of the Donbass and Russia,” Denis Pushilin said.

In turn, Alexander Drobot shared information about joint events of representatives of the LPR and the Russian Federation.

“I want to thank on behalf of the people of the Lugansk People’s Republic for the work aimed at strengthening the integration of the LPR with Russia. It is almost impossible to fit all the topics put in one conference, so our meetings should be theme-based – in the areas of education, culture, and youth policy.

During the implementation of our programme, I saw not only practical benefits, but also a touching attention from the regions of the Russian Federation that started and continue to work in the programme. We have developed cordial relations with representatives of all the spheres. In particular, our children gratefully accept organized holidays. This allows them to rest a little, distract from the horrors of war.

We had many projects in the field of science and education. Our scientists adopt those methods that for decades have been developed by Russian science, the education system, and are actively implementing them after the created vacuum and emptiness, the influx of nationalism into education in our schools.

During this year, more than 170 large-scale projects were held, in which over 1,300 people took part. Many events were held in medical institutions. Achievements of Russian doctors are adopted in the course of master classes, advanced techniques are transferred, brought to the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic, especially in the field of field surgery.

Representatives of the Russian clerisy and the theatres take an active part in the cultural life of the Republic. In turn, cultural figures from the LPR performed at Russian theatrical stages. As an example: from November 20 to December 5, 2017, at the 15th jubilee international theatre festival Golden Vityaz, a creative team from Lugansk called “Theatre at Oboronnaya” actively participated in the contest programme, the theatre’s artistic director Mikhail Golubovich headed the jury for production of small form. A large number of cultural events took place in the Lugansk People’s Republic. All activities cannot be listed, they took place literally every day and are now held both in the territory of the LPR and in the territory of the Russian Federation.

It’s not just projects and activities, it’s sincere and honest relations between people. We are united by common ideas about the world, about justice, about honour, about our history, and about our future. This allows us to say that the Integration Programme is becoming a people’s platform, which contributes to the rapprochement of the peoples of the Donbass and the Russian Federation,” Alexander Drobot reported.

According to Vladimir Aristarkhov, among Russian society there is a request for media products that reveal the events of recent years in the Donbass.

“For the fifth year now, citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have been at the forefront of the struggle for the Russian world, for the right to speak Russian, for the right to be ourselves. We have a common history, common values, a common worldview, so it is so important that we remain in the same cultural space.

It is worth noting that the artists of the Russian Federation visited not only the capitals of the two Republics, but also travelled to the regional cities, such as Gorlovka and other hot spots.

Cultural exchange is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The Russians were able to get acquainted with the work of the Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Solovyanenko, the Lugansk Drama Theatre at Oboronnaya, the Lugansk Philharmonic and so on.

The culture workers of Novorossiya are unique people. In the most difficult times, being under fire, they did not leave, and the theatres and the philharmonic society did not stop working. One of the vivid examples, which I heard from an eyewitness, is a performance of the puppet theatre, held on the stairs due to the lack of light in the city. Workers of museums and libraries themselves repaired the shell-damaged roofs, rescued museum and library funds and continued to work. For us, this is an example of how a cultural worker fulfils their duty.

I want to say thank you to the representatives of the Russian restoration branch. They collected a significant amount of building materials that were sent to the Republics with a designated purpose: to restore the buildings of museums, libraries, other cultural institutions that were destroyed during artillery and rocket attacks.

I want to specify one area which is still raw. We still do not have a good movie about Novorossiya. We need a film or TV series about Novorossiya, like the one that was made about the Crimea.

It is also necessary to note the need to continue the practice of holding events in the field of culture and art to support the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, to continue consistent work to counter falsification of history and to encourage work on establishing direct links between museums, theatres, circuses and educational institutions of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republics,” Vladimir Aristarkhov said.

During the speech, the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, outlined the mistakes made in the interaction process and offered his own version of their solution.

“I think our strategic goal for the next couple of decades is to fight for the minds and hearts of Russian-speaking residents of the South-East of Ukraine. And now we are losing this fight. We are losing due to the mistakes of the post-Soviet period and due to today’s mistakes. Our compatriots, who found themselves in a difficult situation in which Russia can and should help, stand in long queues to obtain a labour patents, as preferences for Ukrainians were withdrawn. When there are no preferences for obtaining Russian citizenship on the principle of a native speaker of the Russian language, a meagre number of people can get citizenship. The programme of resettlement of compatriots in general is being folded up for a number of reasons. All of these are our mistakes. And one more important factor is the fate of those territories that have already self-determined, the self-proclaimed Republics, Donetsk and Lugansk.

What can be done within the framework of the existing situation? First of all, this is the provision of Russian citizenship, a significant relief in the procedure for obtaining it. This absolutely does not contradict the Minsk agreements, and this is a step that cannot be challenged from the point of view of international humanitarian law, as we can and must raise the question of the lasting humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbass. People are stuck in the “grey zone” where there is no state that fully realizes their civil and social rights, as Donetsk and Lugansk do not yet have a full cycle of opportunities. Such a state should be there, and Russia can become such a state.

Some of the things are already being done today, this includes interregional cooperation, interuniversity cooperation. It is necessary to remove barriers on the way of cooperation of economic entities, enterprises, and business units. We can also use those modern technologies that are applied in the Western world, in particular, the blockchain, with which you can bypass some sanctions in terms of postings and payments. A fashionable concept of outsourcing can be applied when some of the functions for providing social services are transferred to public organizations. This concept will make it possible to make the very financing model that exists now in Donetsk and Lugansk open and effective,” Mikhail Remizov said.

At the end of the plenary part, Yury Vorobyov, presiding at the conference, proposed to consider the draft resolution on the results of the event and finalize it within a month.

At the end of the conference, by an order of the Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, for active participation in the work of the Committee of Public Support for the Residents of the Southeast of Ukraine, a great contribution to the development of interregional cooperation and the implementation of social humanitarian programmes, a commendation was award to the cultural and art workers of the Russian Federation. In particular, Alexey Bulychev, director of the Astrakhan State Joint Architectural Museum Preserve, director of the joint-stock company “Telekanal-360” Vyacheslav Blokhin, director of the Zonal Scientific Library of the federal state budgetary educational institution of higher education Voronezh State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Arkady Minakov, Chairman of the Union of Professional Organizations Hughes Federation of Trade Unions of the Bryansk region Olga Polyakova.

Also, letters of gratitude on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee for active participation in the work of the Committee for Public Support of the Residents of the Southeast of Ukraine, an important contribution to the development of interregional cooperation and the formation of programmes supporting the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics were presented to the Chairman of the DPR People’s Council, the head of the Russian Centre, Denis Pushilin, the director – art director of the Donetsk State Academic Music and Drama Theatre named after M. Brovun, the head of the central executive committee of the public movement “Donetsk Republic,” Natalia Volkova, primary school teacher of the municipal educational institution School № 8 named after D.A. Rybalko Torez Victoria Makhnach, as well as other public and cultural figures of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

“This is the first time we have gathered such a conference after 2014 and we very much hope that this experience will be useful for all of us, and new initiatives will also appear. We will think about how we can formulate the idea of continuing this practice in our final document,” Yury Vorobyev summed up.

Фото: Андрей Дудуш

You might also like