There will be no “separate peace” between Russia and “divided into blocks” Europe. Ayk Khalatyan draws conclusions of the Potsdam Conference.

16 October 2015

On October 12-13, the traditional international seminar “The Potsdam Conference” was held in Metropole Hotel in Moscow. The event was arranged by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the German-Russian Forum. Considering the fact that the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Accords is celebrated this year, participants of the forum – politicians, diplomats, scientists and cultural figures fr om Russia and Germany – started a discussion whether the “Helsinki-2” was needed nowadays.


Understandably, tension in relations between the West and Russia due the Ukrainian crisis had to affect the presentations during the meeting. And even welcome messages to the participants of the seminar, forwarded by heads of the foreign offices of Russia and Germany, mentioned that topic.


Thus, a message by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, which was read by German Ambassador in Moscow Rudiger von Fritsch, said that the Ukrainian crisis had become a big challenge for European security over the past decade. The message also mentioned that Berlin understood inability of solving the problem of the European security without normalization of relations with Russia. “Long-term security in Europe can only be possible together with Russia and not against it”, Steinmeier stressed.


In their presentations, the German participants frequently stressed that a problem of trust between the West and Russia existed, and they wanted to hear from the Russian participants what Russian interests were and wh ere the Russian policy was taking the country in order for Germany, during it presidency in CSTO next year, to make the organization more attractive to Russia.


The Russian participants, while speaking for normalization of relations between the West and Russia, were overall sceptic, not believing that under current realities, especially considering the position of the US government, the EU would be able achieve that.


In his turn, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and editor-in-chief of “Russia in Global Politics” Fedor Lukyanov noted that events of the past years raised a question if economic cooperation could serve as insurance against escalation of political differences and, even more than that, if it could actually promote that. According to him, under conditions of creation of trade megablocks, economic sanctions could become a norm, but not an exclusion. 

Director of Center for Comprehensive International and European Studies at the Higher School of Economics Timofei Borodachev noted importance of acknowledgment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) by the EU and beginning of cooperation between them. “The issue of recognition by the two economic blocks has overgrown itself. The same refers to the position of NATO on CSTO”, he said.