The Potsdam Conference. Adjusting the “Helsinki” format to new realities

12 October 2015

On October 12, the international seminar, which had become a tradition, “The Potsdam Conference” was opened in Metropole Hotel in Moscow. Organizers of the event – the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the German-Russian Forum – invited leading public and cultural figures, scientists and diplomats from the two countries to participate in the discussion. During the year, when the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Accords is celebrated, the experts will have to find an answer to the question whether we need the “Helsinki-2”.


The event was opened by Special Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation to President of Russia Mikhail Shvydkoy. He reminded that the Helsinki Accords of 1975 started a new stage in relations between the West and the Soviet Union. It was then that a high-quality breakthrough took place in the cultural dialogue.


Mikhail Shvydkoy read a welcome message to the participants of the conference from Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov. The message, addressed to the forum by head of the German foreign policy office Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was handed by German Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Moscow Rudiger von Fritsch.


Those welcome words stressed that Europe associated the Helsinki Accords with the hope for establishment of sustainable universal peace and order based on a dialogue and trust.


Executive Director of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund Leonid Drachevsky thanked the forum for expansion of the agenda and transfer to a discussion of the topics, which, literally, concern everybody in the today’s world. His words were supported by Chairman of the Management Board of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzeck, who said that we lived during special times.


According to him, on one hand, it is the 70th anniversary of World War II, the time to thank all the nations of the Soviet Union for liberation of Germany from fascism. On the other hand, these are days when the 25th anniversary of the Paris Charter for new Europe is celebrated.


Well-known political scientists Alexander Rahr (Germany) and Fedor Lukyanov (Russia) presented their introductory reports. The representative of Germany acknowledged that the current architecture of European security should change. A new global war can be prevented by beginning to create drafts for interaction between the EU and the EEU.


The Russian political scientist is confident that we would have to live in a common European house, but it will be a house with walls separating countries into different spheres and blocks. Security of this new continent will, first of all, depend on Russia and Germany, Fedor Lukyanov concluded.

The conference will continue its work on October 13.