Ulyana Bezhenar, Bogdan Vasilenko and Kristiana Denisenko became finalists of the contest "Russia and the Balkans: How a Personality Makes History”

27 January 2018

On January 26, an international scientific conference based on the results of academic research papers by students on the topics of the Balkan regions took place in Moscow.

About a hundred students had presented their work to the expert panel. Twelve winners were selected to participate in the final stage of the contest – from Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. They attended the conference organized by the Primakov Center for Foreign Policy Cooperation and the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

When opening the event, Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky told how the idea of the contest had been born. He mentioned importance of participation of the youth in studies of historical heritage and in research of the connections of many centuries between Russia and the Balkan nations.

According to the head of the Gorchakov Fund, the contest should grow into a regular research and educational program. The finalists of the current contest became pioneers of such studies.

The attendees were warmly welcomed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia to Russia, member of the Academy of Sciences Dr. Slavenko Terzic. He gave a lecture, during which he characterized problems and prospects of the Balkan states during the period of geopolitical transformations.

The diplomat stressed significance of the student exchanges and communication between the youth of our countries.

After that, the attendees of the conference presented their work to the expert panel. The topics of many reports focused on life and work of Count Raguzinsky, a Serb at the diplomatic service of Russia, one of the most remarkable associates of the Peter I. However, the young scientists had also studied work by other figures of the Balkan descent in Russia and interesting aspects of the bilateral relations.

The expert panel, which included Professor of the Department of Comparative Political Science at MGIMO (U) under MFA of Russia and member of the Gorchakov  Club Dr. Yelena Ponomareva (Chair), Associate Professor of the Department of International Relations at the Russian State University for the Humanities Dr. Nikita Bondarev, Professor of the Department of World and National History at MGIMO Dr. Yaroslav Vishnyakov, Director of the Center for Contemporary Balkan Crisis Studies of the RAS Institute of Slavic Studies Dr. Elena Guskova and Senior Instructor of the Department of International Economic Relations and Foreign Economic Affairs at MGIMO Dr. Maria Maksakova, mentioned originality and newness of research by Vladislav Andreyev from St. Petersburg, Daria Kazarenko from Donetsk, Arina Lemzyakova from Belgrade and Tatyana Popadyeva from Moscow.

Research studies by Ulyana Bezhenar (St. Petersburg), Bogdan Vasilenko (Donetsk) and Kristiana Denisenko (Moscow) were selected as the best. The winners will attend a lecture by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov in February, which will take place in Belgrade and will be dedicated to the 180th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Russia and Serbia.

A special guest of the conference – descendant of Savva Raguzinsky Branko Vukomanovic – spoke about the history of those relations, contacts between our nations, which date back to many centuries ago, and continuous cultural ties.

The conference ended with a presentation of the book “The Balkan Crisis: Participants Talking”. Authors of the book – Elena Guskova, Sergey Kazakov, Sergey Ignatyev, Alexey Sergeyev and Viktor Tarusin – told the contestants about history of its creation and current problems of the region.