Discussions and workshops about the future of the post-Soviet countries took place in Berlin last week. Discussions on how history, culture and politics influence society and art.
In the futuristic building of the Academie of Arts in Berlin, located next to the Brandenburger Tor, historians, journalists, civil activists and artists from all around the world took part in discussions about democratic development in a number of post-Soviet states and the challenges they face along the way. During the three day Conference, participants had an open stage to debate how public protests, political and social changes in Central and Eastern Europe can develop. In addition to the discussions, the participants had the chance to enjoy literary evenings and concerts. The Minister for European Affairs at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Roth, opened the conference. He said that Germany supports all democratic changes in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus. This support is not directed against Russia, the political stance of Germany is to encourage the neighbours from East- Europe to coexist peacefully.
Famous Ukrainian writer and activist Serhij Zhadan explained that in Ukraine there is not a civil war, it is a military war, that has been caused artificially. The only one hybrid thing in this situation, in his opinion, is the personality of the Russian president.
The historian and journalist Karl Schlögel also took part in the discussion. Schlögel is of the opinion that, the war is already in Europe and what is missing in the discussion is a representative of the German military. The signs of war do exist, we have experienced violence and the Russians have occupied territory. He spoke about the “German syndrome”, the feeling of guilt.
In the discussion participants were also involved in the conference. The main points of the discussion were the roles and actions of the Ukrainian state and the role of the german state. Should Germany have reacted last year and why does the Ukrainian government not proclaim the situation of war? Another important question was about the humanitarian help, questioning why it only comes from Russia.
Ukraine has to decide which direction it wants to take. This is connected to big changes in the society. Building societal values and changes needs time and a lot of support from western countries. The civil initiative has to be strengthened and optimism should not die. Important parts of the change - process is a wide space of information and opposing false information.