- Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Seventy-five years after American and Soviet soldiers met at the Elbe River and celebrated their impending joint victory in the war against Nazi Germany, American, Russian, EU, Canadian, and Eurasian experts issued a call for the dialogue and cooperation on international security, infectious diseases, climate change, people to people exchanges, and other pressing issues. 

Participants in alphabetical order include: Batyr Abdullaev, Chairman, Foundation “Open World”; Colonel General Valery Baranov, former Deputy Commander, Russian Internal Troops Academy; Bruce W. Bean, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State College of Law; Andrey Belyaninov, General Secretary, Eurasian Peoples Assembly;  Gennady Bordyugov, President, Association of Researchers of Russian Society; Alexander Burganov, Peoples Artist of Russia, Author, “Meeting on the Elbe” sculptural composition in Moscow; Werner Busch, Honorary President, International Association of Professors of Philosophy, Germany; Cynthia Chung, President, Rising Tide Foundation, Canada; Matthew Ehret, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Patriot Review, Director, Rising Tide Foundation, Canada; David Foglesong, Professor, Rutgers University; Sheldon Lee Glashow, Professor, Boston University, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, Nobel Laureate in Physics; François Heisbourg, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Special Advisor, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France; James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat, former foreign policy advisor, U.S. Senate Republican leadership; Major General German Kirilenko, former member, Russian General Staff; Natalia Koneva, Professor, Russian Military University, daughter of Marshall Ivan Konev; Jeremy Kuzmarov, Author “The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce”; Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute, American University; Dennis Lamb, retired from the CIA after serving 30 years in its Directorate of Operations as a case officer and intelligence analyst; Edward Lozansky, President, American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities; Bernard Loze, Co-Chairman, General Council of the Eurasian Peoples Assembly, Vice-President, “Association French – Russian Dialogue”, France; Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS); Thomas Meaney, Fellow, Max Planck Institute, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Germany; Georgi Muradov, Deputy Chairman, Russian Association for International Cooperation; Natalia Narochnitskaya, President, Foundation for historical outlook, Member of the Russian Public Chamber; Vladimir Pechatnov, Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Author “The Big Three: From the Grand Alliance to Cold War”; Herbert Reginbogin, Professor, Catholic University of America, Institute for Policy Research; Ron Ridenour, Peace activist, Author “The Russia Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert”, Denmark; Sergei Rogov, Academic Director, Institute of the USA and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences; Valery Ruzin, President, Eurasian Academy of Radio and Television; Brigadier General Kevin Ryan, former Defense Attache, U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Victor Savinykh, Russian cosmonaut, Member, Russian Academy of Sciences; Karen Shakhnazarov, Director, Mosfilm; Martin Sieff, Senior fellow, American University in Moscow, former Senior Foreign Policy Editor, Washington Times; Dalbir Singh, Co-Chairman, General Council of the Eurasian Peoples Assembly, President, Politics and Management Fund, India; Svetlana Smirnova, First Deputy Secretary General, Eurasian Peoples Assembly, Chairperson, Council of Assembly of Peoples of Russia; Alexander Smolko, Film producer; Leonid Stern, President, International Shukhovsky Fund; Mikhail Strikhanov, President, National Research Nuclear University; Victor Stulov, Head, Educational Programs, Eurasian Peoples Assembly; Vladimir Surovtsev, Peoples Artist of Russia, Author, “Meeting on the Elbe” memorial in Strehla, Germany; Evgeny Tabachnikov, Advisor to Chairman, International Council of Russian Compatriots; Brigadier General Peter Zwack, former Defense Attache U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Senior Research Fellow, Wilson Center.

April 25, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the momentous occasion when U.S. and Soviet forces met at the Elbe River, which signaled the approaching end of the WWII. Today, the joyfulness created by that open display of soldier’s comradeship between East and West is needed more than ever. This celebration of this tremendously important historical event provides an excellent opportunity to engage in a long-awaited international dialogue because of unprecedented tensions that threaten the security of the world.  The reviving spirit of alliance born through the efforts of our ancestors will serve as an example and guide for today’s leaders.

Emphasizing the rising dangers and costs of an uncontrolled nuclear arms race, the participants in the conference urgently called for both bilateral negotiations between the United States and Russia and multilateral discussions among the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to address the problems stemming from the abandonment of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by the United States and Russia in 2019 and the approaching expiration of the New START treaty in February 2021. They also stressed the necessity of reviving and expanding international cooperation to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons. The upcoming 75th session of the United Nations in the fall of this year provides a logical venue for these important negotiations.  

In addition to nuclear threats, the conference participants highlighted the worsening situation with climate change. With the need to larger use of renewable energy, all participants enthusiastically endorsed a proposal for a global joint program for planting over a trillion trees that would absorb billions of tons of carbon dioxide, a major cause of rising temperatures and catastrophic weather events. Since Russia, the United States, Canada, and other large countries have hundreds of millions of acres of land available for reforestation, the proposal is entirely feasible. Over the next decade, seed-planting drones, and other technologies, will stem the tide of climate change.

We believe that in the absence of a broad U.S.-Russia-EU government dialogue, people to people contacts play an even more important role now than before. The new communication technologies like Zoom provide excellent opportunities for direct online interactions between citizens around the world. The American University in Moscow and the Catholic University of America are conducting such sessions between the students of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. Still, this initiative needs to be expanded to involve many other universities, colleges, schools, and NGO’s around the world.

Recalling how newspapers and magazines in both Russia and the West joyfully hailed the meeting at the Elbe 75 years ago but also recognizing how in recent years mutual demonization in the mass media has made productive dialogue between their leaders much more difficult, conference participants urged journalists to avoid sensational scape goating of foreign nations and to present more responsible, constructive coverage of international affairs. Attendees at the conference expressed confidence that the media can thereby promote an improvement in relations between East and West, as it did in the 1980s when an earlier round of the arms race was halted, and the Cold War ended.

Remembering the high hopes for a peaceful postwar world that were inspired by the meeting on the Elbe River in 1945, participants in the conference resolved to form ongoing working groups to serve as a hub for the exchange of creative ideas and developing of concrete actions for the solution of political, environmental, and strategic problems facing the world.

• All those who are interested in joining and supporting this effort, please register at the www.RussiaHouse.org/wrf.php

• • •

April 24, 2020; 9.00 AM EST - 16.00 Moscow
Online discussion via Zoom.us
For additional information write to: Forum@RussiaHouse.org

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