The 3rd Stavropol Forum of the Russian People's Assembly
«Global Challenges and the Russian Response»
Stavropol, November 26-27, 2014
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

(Matthew 5:5)

2014 will be a watershed year for modern Russia, and the trends currently taking shape will affect the country for the foreseeable future. Russia has challenged the world order established by the United States and her allies in the years following the Cold War. While many in the world do not approve of this order, Moscow is the only one to take meaningful political action to counteract this post-Cold War order and not just respond with rhetoric.
Russia is engaging this all-encompassing international crisis at a time when its increasing political influence is not buffetted by its actual power in the aggregate (its economic, intellectual, cultural, and moral power). Russia thus far has been unable to reestablish her economic sovereignty, ensure high rates of industrial growth, reestablish a strong educational system, nor create examples of new high Russian culture. The world respects our president more than the country headed by our president. For the first time in many decades, Russia has a strong geopolitical impulse to develop. Russia must develop now in an integrated manner, and the country's response must reflect the will and the solidarity of our people in creating a strong, free, thriving, and kind Russia.
The global economic crisis not only threatened the financial health of many countries and regions around the world, it also made the world less safe. This crisis also disoriented the world. The ideals that countries and peoples around the world were drawn to- including Russia- turned out to be illusions in the years after the collapse of the USSR. In the course of this global economic crisis, Western liberalism, which promised everyone prosperity to everyone, brought poverty to the vast majority of people. Also, in this economic crisis, Western democracy has meant total state interference in the private lives of people. The state has also imposed a kind of ethics on people that goes far beyond what most people on the planet find normal or natural. This disorientation has led to the birth of destructive ideologies, including religious extremism or the kinds of localized forms of Nazism which have arisen at the Maidan in Ukraine.
If before we thought that the ideological storms of the world would pass us by, now- when we are being called to be a leader on the world political stage- we have to forumulate our own response to these global issues, drawing on our own values. Our Christian culture, our care for others less fortunate throughout the world, our striving for the truth, and our creative capacity must be expressed as a positive force in the economy, in building society and the state, and in international affairs. The world needs Russia's ability to unite diverse people through love, Russia's experience in reconciling faith and reason, and Russia's capacity to deeply understand the Other while not giving up one's own identity.
The Russian people and Russia have to arrive at a complete response to all the engrossing challenges facing us in today's world. By this, we mean a political, economic, and intellectual response. We must remember that the foundation for any response must be spiritual. We need to have the steadfastness to overcome pride, self-centeredness, and consumerism. We need fraternal love, which is the only thing that can create strong families, a persevering people, and an enduring state. This is a love that is not quick to anger, rather it rests on patience, humility, and mercy. We need a spiritual and moral foundation for our solidarity in order to do the physical creative work that lies ahead. Quite possibly, the creative gift that the world economic crisis has given us is that we have remembered the importance of this foundation and are now looking to it.
The Russian heartland as the backbone of the Russian world has a special role in search for finding a Russian response to today's global challenges. It is for this reason that Stavropol was chosen as the site for this year's forum as it embodies the Russian heartland and the Russian frontier. It is a city that stands before the challenges presented by ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity.

The goal of the forum: We aim to create a space for a wide-ranging and meaningful discussion of the Russian Idea and Russian values as we — and the rest of the world- are dealing with today's global challenges. The forum also aims to find avenues for taking meaningful action based on these values.
At the conclusion of these discussions, an official report of the forum will be prepared. It, along with other forum documents, will be addressed to the President of Russia, the federal assembly, the Russian government, the media, and the public.
The forum's program will include a variety of formats.

Expected total number of attendees: 450 people. This will include politicians and community leaders, national, regional, and local government officials, religious leaders of different faiths, university and college instructors, schoolteachers, journalists, and entrepreneurs.

Forum program formats
Plenary sessions: There will be keynote speakers who will welcome forum participants and who will touch on the the most important overarching themes of the conference.
The different forum tracks and roundtables will be organized around the main themes for the conference. The aim will be to elaborate and develop these themes. Forum track leaders will act as moderators for the subject areas. The moderators will present the main ideas and conclusions from the discussions and roundtables at the closing plenary. Conclusions from the most important and substantive discussions may be presented independently as part of the closing plenary session.
Forum tracks: up to 150 participants, 3-4 talks, each 15-20 minutes long, 5-7 presentations, each 10 minutes in length, followed by open discussion. Total time: three hours.
Roundtables: up to 50 participants, 2-3 talks, the emphasis will be on open discussion. Total time: three hours.

Day one, November 26, 2014
PLENARY SESSION: «Global Challenges and the Russian Response»
Speakers: Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Deputy Chief of the Russian People's Assembly, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church-Society Cooperation of the Moscow Patriarchate; Valerii Aleksandrovich Fadeev, editor-in-chief of Expert Magazine, executive director of the Institute for Public Planning, a nonprofit organization.
The plenary session will be devoted to discussing the overall framework for the conversations at the Forum; it will also formulate the forum's objectives. The following questions will be considered in the plenary session:
• What is unique about the challenges before Russia and the Russian world, and what is their moral significance?
• What is modern Russia being called to bring to the world today and what message grounded in her values can she offer the world?
• Justice and truth: How can Christian common sense balance the extremes found in the East and West? Is it possible and should we return to the religious and moral foundations of justice and economic fairness?

1st Track. The Russian world: dialogs and conflicts
The idea of a «Russian world» is becoming more and more prominent in Russian politics today. This notion must be concretized, we must clarify what we mean by it. On the one hand, the Russian world goes beyond Russia's geographic borders. It includes compatriots and all those who are connected to Russian language and culture abroad. On the other hand, historically Russia has been ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse. This brings up the questions about the relationship between «russkii» and «rossii'skii',» being Russian in a civil-political sense, and diversity as both a challenge and opportunity. So today the Russian world needs to find its place on the new map of world cultures and civilizations; it must frame its relationship to Western and Eastern values, traditions, and historical heritage. This means Russia has to clarify her relationship in these regards- both to herself and to her neighbors. What values of the Russian world distinguish her from other cultural worlds? Are these values only important for people of the Russian world? Or can these values be part of a message Russia delivers to the world, expressing the contribution our country can make to the global conversation about what can guide all of us ethically and morally for those living in today's discombobulated world? How can the values and spirit of the Russian world impact Russia's response to today's global challenges?

Discussion topics:
• The Russian world in the context of dialog and conflict between cultures
• The Russian factor in the social and political processes in the Caucasus
• The crisis of Western culture and the crisis of Russian culture: similarities and differences
• The Rossiiskii identity: cultural and civilizational particularities
• Freedom, democracy, humanism: a Russian perspective on «Western values»

2nd Track. Family: an enduring value in a changing world
The family in Russia and in the world is facing new challenges- both as a social institution and as a value in an of itself. We are witness today to conscious attempts at sabotaging the family. This is taking place through crass interference in the relationship between parent and child. This is also happening by legally making family equal to various forms of co-habitation, and also by putting down the very value and sanctity of the family. The other challenge has to do with the fact that society has gone through and continues to go through massive change, and the family is located within this process of change.
One of the key issues with the «new ethics» being promoted in the West is that these ethics directly contradict the ethics of most of world's population- and quite possibly most of the people of the West itself. From this point of view, traditional values- which Russia seeks to maintain- are not in and of themselves isolationist or anti-modern. Rather, these values today are quite timely and modern. These values suggest today not a holding onto social and moral norms of the past, but rather they are a call to fully respect the choices of people. They are a call to Christian common sense, a call to a caring attitude towards everything that is valued and is sacred for the average person. This is a call to respect everything which is grounded in humanity and dignity. The family in today's world is the very last bulwark of traditional values; it is sacred for both believers and agnostics, for both the rich and the poor, and for people of different cultures and races.
Society is created and sustained through the family. Children are born and raised in the family. Families create and support traditions, values, and happiness. Families literally are keepers of the people. One of the stated priorities of the government is support of the family. In reality, however, is this declaration backed up with meaningful action? To what degree are the realities of family life taken into account in economic, education, and cultural development? What expectations does society have of the state, and the state of society? How can the family with its ancient values fit in the context of today's dynamic social context? How can we return humanistic values to the family in a world where people do not experience these values in daily life?

Discussion topics:
The government's family policies
Raising boys to become men and girls to become women. Responsible parenting.
The modern family as influenced by the ideology of consumerism.
The culture within a family: tradition and today's challenges.
Spiritual bonds: a guarantor of the family's resilience and sanctity.
3rd Track. «The Russian constructive impulse»
What could be a meaningful Russian response to the challenges of today's world? We will be able to maintain our sovereignty and independence- and by extension, our values- only if we achieve industrial, technological, and economic breakthroughs and stand as equals with the world's leading countries.
It is worth remembering that Russia's history is one of pioneering, claiming and developing new lands. This is a history of not simply expanding Russia's rule over new lands, but also developing and improving these regions. Russia's history is also one of many technological and economic leaps forward. Before us again lies the task of developing regions and accelerating the pace of industrial development. What aspects of Russia's heritage and experience can help us in this endeavor?
Discussion topics:
Moral aspects of the course of technical progress.
The crisis generated by technological development: how do we meet this challenge?
Science and practical training: the younger generation as a creative resource
Creativity, science, and technology in Russia's philosophical and spiritual traditions
New trends in ensuring the country's food security
2-ой день, 27 ноября 2014 г.
Seven concurrent roundtables are scheduled.
Roundtable: «The «Russian» and «rossiiskii» projects: the search for a national identity»
Roundtable: «The Transcaucasus: a space of dialog and cooperation»
Roundtable: «The family as it faces the moral challenges of today's world»
Roundtable: «Creating a positive image of the family in culture, education, and the media»
Roundtable: «Russian engineers and modern technological challenges: strategies for achieving an economic breakthrough»
Roundtable: «Teaching as a livelihood in Russia: traditions, current trends, and future prospects»

Summing up the work of all the conference tracks and roundtables.

Дата публикации: 2014-10-08 06:19:05