Mikhail Khodorkovsky summons "progressive-minded Russians"

Mikhail Khodorkovsky summons "progressive-minded Russians"
Mikhail Khodorkovsky Photo: Reuters

The Head of Open Russia will hold a forum in the European Parliament.

On November 16-17 Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s movement Open Russia jointly with Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom will hold a Russia-EU summit in the European Parliament, which they called the Forum of Boris Nemtsov. The organizers explained that this is a long term project to discuss EU-Russia relations. At the forum with the participation of the European Parliament President Martin Schulz, they promise to introduce a new generation of progressive-minded Russians, "who eventually will lead the process of transformation of Russia." As Mikhail Khodorkovsky explained to Kommersant, now it is necessary to prepare people to the new Russia.

As the organizers noted, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and the movement Open Russia are launching a platform for a Russian-European dialogue – Forum of Boris Nemtsov. The first event was held in Berlin on October 9 – the birth day of Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered on February 27, 2015 in Moscow. The next forum will be opened on November 16 in Brussels and will be held in the European Parliament. As the founder of Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom Janna Nemtsova explained to Kommersant, the forum in Brussels will be different from the one held in Berlin "both the audience and the format": "There will be several plenary sessions and working groups. The result of their work should be the elaboration of recommendations to the EU on various aspects of relations with Russia."

Noting that the purpose of the long-term project, which the Boris Nemtsov Forum is supposed to become, is to ensure the European future of Russia, the organizers promise to introduce "a new generation of forward-thinking, open-minded Russians, the potential political and intellectual leaders of the future, which will eventually be able to lead the process of transformation of Russia is now to a real democratic country and a European partner." The Head of Open Russia Mikhail Khodorkovsky told Kommersant that "stagnant and aging Russian regime, which advocates self-isolation, closed development opportunities for young politicians, public figures." "When the regime collapses, it will leave the country with a completely dysfunctional elite. In order to avoid this, now it is necessary to train people, to provide them with the opportunity to present themselves and their program to the public, which we have done during the last electoral process (we are talking about Open Russia’s support of Gosduma candidates - Kommersant)", he said. According to Mr. Khodorkovsky's opinion, the new leaders need to "acquaint with potential foreign partners, with our neighbors, and the neighbors and partners with the future political players." "Our largest partner is the European Union, therefore, the meeting in Brussels is important ", - explained Mr. Khodorkovsky to Kommersant the choice of location of the forum.

Forum will be opened by the plenary session called "The return to normal operation. The course and priorities of the new relationship." Besides Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Janna Nemtsova, it will be attended by the European Parliament President Martin Schulz and the Head of the faction Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Guy Verhofstadt. Overall, the forum will be attended by approximately 40 people from both sides – from Russia and Europe. As Ms. Nemtsova told Kommersant, the participants are the "politicians, public figures, scientists, cultural workers, journalists." In particular, the Russian side will be represented by Irina Prokhorova, Lev Schlossberg, Lubov Sobol, Igor Kalyapin, Yevgeny Chichvarkin, Dmitry Potapenko, Lev Ponomarev and others.

Four sections will be managed by two persons – one from Russia, and one from Europe. The section Economy and Energy (the Centre for European Policy Studies expery Christian Egenhofer and the economic commentator Boris Grozovsky) will discuss the financial and trade relations between Russia and the EU, how they should be developed in the coming decade, "especially given the scenario of predicted political changes in Russia." In the section Public Administration and Policy (professor of the Paris School of International Relations Marie Mendras and the coordinator of Open Russia Vladimir Kara-Murza) will discuss what reforms are needed to improve the efficiency of public administration of the Russian system and its democratization, also which aid from the EU can a new generation of Russian politicians expect. The section Values ​​and People (the Director of the Prague Civil Society Center Rostislav Valvoda and Janna Nemtsova) will consider various questions: from the simplification of the visa regime between Russia and the European Union to human rights, independence of the media in Russia. In the section Europe and Russia in the World (the Chatham House Russia and Eurasia Scientific Program Officer John Lough and the Doctor of Political Sciences Vladimir Pastukhov) will host a discussion on topics such as "overcoming the discrepancy between Brussels and Moscow on the issue of NATO enlargement and the EU", "how the EU and the Russian Federation should achieve common goals in the field of combating terrorism."

Forum will end with a plenary session which will summarize the speeches and outline general plans for the future.

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