To the Conference of Spiritually Close Nations. (Russia is looking for allies). 1993

Oleg Rumyantsev

People’s Deputy of the Russian Federation

To the Conference of Spiritually Close Nations

(Russia is looking for allies) 

...and this is our lot-globality, obtained not by sword, but by force of brotherhood and brotherly strive to consolidate people"

F.M.Dostoyevsky, 1880

In search of the own space


Where are we and with whom? This is the question of a lot of Russian citizens trying to understand our encirclement and our allies. Alas, common geopolitical, religious, cultural and economic space which has been created for ages is being under a threat of ruinous sever. We sincerely assume that we have found ourselves in the very heart of a geopolitical boiler first of all due to the losing end of the USSR.

Together with that distinct unity and coincidence of interests, common attitude to life, common spiritual values have not once drawn Russia closer with reliable allies. Now is the time to search them.

A uniting idea is lost


Frightening solitude does not occur by chance. The loss of a uniting idea and clear political concept in all its manifestations breaks former ties.

There is neither enlightened Russian messianism, which was shaped in the XV-XVIth centuries in the form of "the third Rome" combining bits of ideas of God-selectness of the people and succession of eternal kingdom.

Nor there is a dynastic monarchy, which gave a powerful field for conscious, fruitful activities of many generations: And there was more to the Russian autocracy, according to the agreement of contemporaries, than a mere traditional form of ruling. It "is not some conquering despotism, but a deeply national system; it is strong not by slave submission of people who do not know and realize anything, but this is a conscious property of the Russian people, which they have kept scrupulously and preserved over the long ordeals of history" (L.Tikhomirov, 1895).

There is no more communism - neither the idea itself, nor based on it "the second world", Warsaw Treaty, Mutual Assistance Pact. But bad or good they provided real economic cooperation and mutual assistance. We used Hungarian buses, Chechoslovakian trams, Yugoslavian medication not with much thought given to it, and our brothers "-in camp" did not complain about our utterly necessary for them deliveries.

Doubts have already generated in Russia itself. There is no strong defense, of regions by Moscow, defining role of its moral value has clearly weakened. Both the West and the East are rapidly entering the created vacuum. More and more active widening of moslim space attracts our attention. Maps are on display in Turkey, where two wedges are clearly depicted: one rising from Kazakhstan through Bashkiria and Tataria; the other - crosses Northern Caucasus and Transcaucasus and rushes to the Black sea... Attempts made by the East rather often coinside with the vector of attempts made by the West and we get to feel rather comfortless then.

Intention and tasks of the "Conference of spiritually close peoples"


The words of Dostoyevsky given as the epigrath catch our strong part: idealism, clear directness of spiritual potential - are stronger than weapon and dictatorship.

How can we preserve and realize this fund?

Breaking my mind over the given question, aking advice from the colleagues, having visited Yugoslavia and other countries of Eastern and South­eastern Europe (area studying, as it is my first profession, and as a peoples deputy), I have come to an idea of a Conference of spiritually close peoples.

The idea of the Conference has appeared at a difficult for our peoples, states, region and culture time - time of crises, wars, disintegration. Convening of the Conference and its fruitful work could become a symbol of the normalization of the situation, could create organizational mechanisms for the alienation to be overcome.

The Conference is being organized by public and religious figures, political units, scientific and cultural centers mostly on a non-governmental level. However, active participation of influential politicians who could help tie up the cells of civil society with governmental and state institutions is one of the most important part of our intention. To our mind, this will attach more ' fruitfulness to the attempts of the Conference having made it "non-governmental".

The Conference is being intended not as a one-time event, but as a full-time consultative meeting for peoples and countries, which have deep historical and psycho-cultural traditions of mutual sociolizing in different spheres.

The Conference can become an instrument to improve mutual cooperation in order to solve the following tasks:

1. Interaction in foreign policy. In geopolitical way the peoples of post-Byzantine region have always represented a peculiar continent between the West and the East.

We assume that our coexistence with the atlantic and muslim civilizations could be beneficial only under an existence of mutual support between the peoples and governments within the framework of its own space and realizing its unique significance.

The Conference will help spiritually close peoples form favorite outer conditions to strengthen their statehood, coordinate their activities on international arena, ensure the balance in the relationships with the assertive Islamic Conference Organization.

2. Creation of the working security system.

The Conference can become an instrument to fight violence and disorganization, a mechanism to prevent and solve local, international and interstate conflicts the amount of which in our region has increased in number after the Warsaw Pact and the USSR broke up. The Conference activities is called to help ease the conflict potential in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, to hinder this subregion being converted into an area of instability. It would be a serious contribution into the cause of all-European security. And not only European: the Conference should be open for all those who is subject now to  the mentioned above geopolitical press...

3. Ensuring the conditions for economic cooperation.                                                                        
The Conference is called to help business circles of our countries: both restart the advantageous broken in the last 3 - 4 years economic ties and start new , creating favorable trade, customs and other regemes, making the borders transparent - for the benefit of our citizens. Such cooperation will not only help macroeconomic stabilization, but also a hitch in certain significant spheres.

4. Cooperation in spiritual, religious, cultural, scientific spheres.

The Conference will help work out the forms of humanitarian exchange which are suitable for all the parties. It will contribute to utterly necessary spiritual revival, which can only be realized by mutual effort. There are serious preconditions, come to life in the united post-Byzantine east-christian space, which have been ignored and forgotten during all last time.

Difficulties and hurdles


Difficulties on the way of realization of the suggested project are too clear. Spiritually close peoples are seriously alienated now.

Alienating outer factors are often much stronger than those inner ones of an opposite origin.

We are alienated with the disputes about bordering lands (Georgia and Osetia, Moldavia and Pridniester territories, Makedonian tie, Crimea and Novorossia between Russia and Ukrain and many others). We are alienated with the preferences for disputing blocks (thus, Yugoslavia was nonaligned, Bolgaria - member of WTO , and Greece - of NATO). We are alienated with our search for arbitrate: in Washingtone, in Vatican, in Bonn. And the "arbitres" themselves alienate us, for they have fully mastered the ancient method divida et impera.

(It is rather characteristic that a pro-atlantic Bulgarian democrats' newspaper "Democracy" has already hurried to call the idea of the Conference "the arm of Moscow").

They will probably hurry to label us as national chauvinists. And here references to Dostoyevsky that "to become the real Russian, complete Russian may be and means only ... to become brother to all the people, an all-man, if you like!' will not likely to help us.

I would invite the critics to try another attitude, not forgetting about the wide one of the Conference: it is not ethnic-slavic, and it is not orthodox-clerical, it is not directed against anybody at all. Creation and revival are the basis of it.

I notice now a very characteristic to us two-party system. Opposition of reformers and traditionalists often looks like an old dispute of westernizers and Slavophils. The Conference can become a field on which both these parties should find peace and cooperation. It uses a number of Slavophil aspirations but also some modern categories from an arsenal of foreign policy of progressists.

P.Chaadayev was the first to set up a point of a unique role of Russia and he pinned great hopes on national self-analysis as "the best way to study ourselves and cure in the most radical way from national pride". The Conference will help come through self-analysis, I hope, without any extremes.

Though convocation of the Conference will help enhance international position of Russia (as it happened with Christening of Russia), this is not the main thing. The main thing in the efforts of the Conference is that many-pole structure would make hegemony unacceptable. Even Byzantia was strong with its multinational population, interlacing of tribes, cultures - but common spirit. That is why the Forum under organization is being based on the ideas of equal rights, solidarity, openness. There can be found a lot of other poles of cooperation and growth: India, Egyptian copts and Alexandria, curd and Lebanese Christians, Konstantinopol and Jerusalem...

Ukraine may probably show an interest, for it has not yet been involved in the project of creation an East-European NATO (not one of the most successful ideas of Lekh Valensa).

What’s in Common


Isn't it the time to reinterpret the unity of interests and opportunities?

I think our irrational way, imagination, reject of rude materialism are our mutual features. It is not by chance, that choosing the church, our ancient emotionally driven rulers were seeking beauty and divine gift. They found them in Byzantine cathedrals of "the Greek land'. All this have rather dissolved  during the last decades, but tidbits have been preserved and shown themselves here and there. However, a lot of "businessmen" together with obtaining wealth feel that their activities is accompanied with moral devastation and vulgarity of consumption.                                                                                           

This is in the idea of the Conference to make a reality of a well-known poetic imagery, that is seen in folk art.

Unification of pur peoples can not only be under political or religious guide. I am not inclined to attach the main significance in the development of our mutual region to religious ideas. Not only religious origin is important but also the unity of cultural environment. But we should have in mind that religion for Byzantine space has included both public relations and philosophy, and law, and politics, and morals in itself. Furthermore, secular and state life greatly influenced the religion which now can contribute to preserving our unity.

Post-Byzantine circle


The idea of the Conference in question is not an artificial one. There suggested to make a sensible historic choice as it has already been done not once, and this choice is especially necessary now - at the time of vagueness of a national character.

The ideas of byzantism are seen in the intention of the Conference. Isn't it good? For it was Byzantia which served as an original culture medium for Russia's and other peoples' introduction into the developed culture. One could mention at least the unity of literature and the tongue of religious service. As early as in the Xth century Russian-Byzantine treaties, trade and military cooperation (of course, not without a perfidy) were usual.

Multicolored palette, half-european, half-oriental nature of Byzantia is close to Russia. It is its own. The question of Russian attitude towards byzantism has arisen not only out of a whim. If we concern ourselves only with Russian historic experiences, we will see that "at all breakpoints of its existence, on all its sharp turns there have always arisen an inevitable question of its attitude towards spiritual and cultural heritage of Byzantia". We did not chance to inherit from Byzantia "not only a deep interest in human personality, but also a great principle of unity, which turned out to be so harmonious with the way of life and moral notions..." (I.Economtsev, 1989).

Byzantine culture is similar to the European middle ages and even with - antiquity, for Byzantia was the first heir to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. "Byzantine culture does not have clear boundaries, neither chronological, nor territorial' - specialists admit this (V.Likhacheva, 1986). It is not by chance that when Turkey destroyed Byzantia in the middle of the XVth century its traditions were continued and developed in very different countries, who proudly considered themselves its heirs (Ancient Russia, Romania, Serbia, Georgia, Bulgaria, etc.).

Whole generations were being brought up at one and the same marvellous pieces of art. That is why we feel very close to us stately monumentalism (despite its dimensions) and intimacy of seemingly different monuments in different countries which I have managed to visit: St. Sofia Cathedral in Konstantinopol, Church of Kapnikari in Athens, St.Climent in Okhrid Church, St.Sofia in Kiev, Cathedral of the Assumption in Moscow and so on.

Nearest tasks

I would like to find agreement inside Russia. For in the other case ambitions and pompous attitude will not let us concentrate on general points -and everything will crumble, not for the first time. Such known figures as Ye.Ambartsumov, V.Polosin, metropolitan Kyrill have already supported the project in Russia. There is an interest in governmental and business circles.

Consultations with foreign colleagues are on.

We plan to hold the first meeting of the organizing committee of the Conference of spiritually close peoples on May, 5,1993 in Moscow. We expect representatives of Armenia, Belorussia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Russia and Yugoslavia to take part in the work of the organizing committee.

Even the choice of organizers gives us the ground to speculate.

We plan to work out mutual announcement, having agreed on the name and concept of the Conference, and to agree on the date of its first Forum and its participants.

P.S. The author will be very grateful if the readers regard the suggested idea carefully and with interest.


Published in:





Быстрый доступ