Minsk confirms its status as a comprehensive negotiation venue, gathering humanitarians for trilateral Minsk Initiative science and culture forum, for Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
The Minsk Initiative aims to promote scientific and cultural activity in the three states and our common spiritual space, encouraging joint co-operation. Minsk has never been distanced from Moscow or Kiev in the humanitarian sphere: rather, to the contrary. Belarus continues to try and help settle the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, as Information Minister Lilia Ananich notes. She views the Minsk Initiative not simply as a new discussion club, emphasising, “This is a system of interaction for our three states. Scientific, cultural and information projects are helping to build a harmonious world. Belarus has demonstrated to the global community that it’s possible to live without conflict. We’re ready to help our neighbours, who need negotiation venues.”
Truly, the fruitful work of our three states’ humanitarians could hardly have taken place in Russia or Ukraine. Of course, either would have heartily welcomed representatives of Belarusian culture and science. However, talks between Russia and Ukraine could have strayed into sensitive ground. The Special Representative of the Russian President for International Cultural Co-operation, Mikhail Shvydkoy, has noted his appreciation.
He notes that the Minsk Initiative came from experts and academics rather than politicians. “Of course, politicians decide much but not everything. Relations between nations are complex, such that political decisions sometimes fail to penetrate the depths of people’s lives. This is the first such major scientific and cultural meeting of the past three years.”
Poet Boris Oleinik, an academician of Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences and the Chairman of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund, agrees. “We’ve been seriously tackling the issue of sovereignty of late. There are gaps in our relations, as we tend to concentrate on ourselves. This is natural but we shouldn’t forget our old friends. Other ‘friends’ salt these gaps regularly, to spoil them.”
The Minsk Initiative is not just humanitarians’ answer to modern challenges. It’s the embodiment of our countries’ huge contribution to the future. The Science and Culture in Modern Discourse forum — organised jointly by Belarus’ Information Ministry, the National Academy of Sciences, MGIMO University and the Institute of Eurasian Studies Development Fund — approved the project. However, the Director of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences’ Archaeology Institute, Piotr Tolochko, comments, “The conference should have been entitled From a Single Past to a Common Future.”
Ms. Ananich considers that Belarus, Russia and Ukraine cannot move forward without nurturing spiritual ties.
By Maxim Osipov