Домаш. страница
Закон РФ

Карта сайта

Посольство РФ
Культурный центр
Коммерческий центр

Russian Speaking Community in Europe - Past, Present, Future

First International Conference "Russian Speaking Community In Europe - Past Present Future" took place in London on 22 November 2002. The Conference was hosted by Russian House International, a U.K.-registered charity (established in 1993) and primarily sponsored by Slavyankiy Bazaar, a British corporate group.

The Conference has elicited an active response from Russian speaking expatriates. The quality of discussion and organisation of the Conference were praised by many. Amongst others the following issues were discussed: present condition of the Russian speaking diaspora in Europe and the rest of the world, avenues and objectives for its development. The joint initiative of Russian House International, companies servicing the Russian speaking population, as well as a number of private individuals to establish a new organisation - Association of Russian Speaking Communities -- which for the first time would have a mass and easy-access membership, was thoroughly discussed.

More than 200 delegates, participants and guests have converged on the London's Cavendish Conference Centre. Amongst them were representatives of Russian speaking communities from fifteen European countries, as well as guests from Russia and the United States; diplomats, representatives of the Clergy. Three TV channels, two radio stations and over twenty journalists from British, Russian and other media outlets were accredited to the Conference.

Interesting speeches were made. Professor of History Oleg Budnitsky gave an opening address which included an interesting excursion into the curious history of Russian emigration to Europe during the last 500 years. Alexander Goryanin, Moscow-based political scientist and writer, urged Russian speaking diaspora to unite, to form a really popular organisation which would help expatriates to obtain full legitimate status and raise their standard of living. He gave an example of the Chinese diaspora, a solid community which is actively and to mutual advantage collaborates with its historic Motherland.

The importance of retaining the Russian language and culture while living outside Russia was emphasised in their speeches by writers Vadim Fadin and Kira Sapguir who live in Germany and France, respectively. Dr Boris Gershunsky - a U.S.-based academic who travelled to the Conference from Washington, D.C., underscored the necessity of a solid structure in order to unite successfully.

British representative Felicity Cave, professional linguist and interpreter, shared with the Conference participants her view of the Russian speaking community in the U.K. According to her, image for the Russian people is greatly distorted in the West. For instance, they are often arbitrarily portrayed as being the "Russian mafia". In reality, however, Russian speaking Europeans are conducting normal life, have normal jobs, try to give best education to their children, go on holiday abroad.

Many speakers focused on the role of the media, especially television, which could have a very significant influence on the process of uniting the Russian diaspora. Support of culture, maintaining and developing well-rounded multifaceted relations with ex-Soviet Union countries were also emphasised. Another issue which was accentuated was the necessity of building new organisation based on principles of non-discrimination of any kind, especially ethnic and religious. Other practical issues included Russian language schools of which there are too few in Western Europe and support of already existing Russian speaking centres and small groups.

Vladimir Bobkov, Chairman of the Board of Slavyankiy Bazaar Group opened a new and usually unexplored subject of helping member of the Russian speaking community economically. One of the possibilities, for example, was the so-called "mutual assistance fund", or in other words a micro-lending facility, a well-known phenomenon to everybody who used to work in the Soviet Union in the communist era. Soft loans for small businesses and promising start-ups could be another option. There was no doubt, Mr Bobkov said, that sponsorship would initially play an important role in building the Association's financial base. With time, however, the organisation should be able to a large extent support itself and significantly help its members. It will also be easier for a large organisation with mass membership to negotiate with corporations, for example, airlines, in the attempt to get discounts and/or preferential terms for its members. Generally speaking, businessmen with ideas and imagination should have a lot of food for thought and a big scope for activities with the inception of the Association.

In his summing up Vladimir Voronoff, founder and chairman of Russian House International, outlined main areas in which the Association will first and foremost develop its activities, the principles of its formation and basic structure. He also confirmed that the main legal work to register the new body with the U.K. Charity Commission had already been completed and that the official application would follow shortly. The following Committees were formed: Social and Economic Committee, Committee for Relationship with the Former Soviet Union, Culture and Arts Committee, Committee for Relationships with European Bodies and Media Relationship Committee (which would primarily focus on forming a common Russian speaking information space). Many participants and delegates singed up for membership in Committees.

Mr Voronoff also touched upon future political activities of the Association. He specifically stressed that in today's Russia almost every activity is heavily politicised, and this was precisely what the Association wanted to avoid. The new organisation is to be strictly a private initiative supported by Russian speaking communities in many countries and will not identify itself with any government body. At the same time he declared the Association to be ready and open to actively cooperate with any. Lobbying for the Russian diaspora's interests, for the advancement of its members was, however, a different matter. By joining the Association members obtain the greatly needed legal status which will allow them to assert and enhance their rights, and work together towards raising of their living standards.

Before the Association's website is fully functioning, the Organising Committee and East European Media Group, which was the organiser of the Conference on behalf of Russian House International, will regularly distribute information about events taking place in the life of new organisation.

Please, address your questions and/or suggestions to Julia Draper or Lolita Eppey at:
Tel. +44 (0)20 7495 8105
Fax: +44 (0)20 7495 8106
[email protected]
[email protected]

London, 22 November 2002

Правовая информация | Реклама | Новости | Дизайн | E-mail | Copyright © Ikaria Associates