On June 25, Secretary of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Valery Fadeyev and Chairman of the Board of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzeck signed the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation in Duren. The signing of the memorandum was part of the official opening ceremony of the 15th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities, titled Partnership as a Link in the Russo-German Dialogue.
The German side chose the famous Coronation Hall of the Aachen City Hall as the signing ceremony’s venue. The hall annually hosts the award ceremony for the Charlemagne Prize that celebrates contributions to a united Europe.
“As Winston Churchill said, Europe is inconceivable without Russia, and I believe that it is very important to talk about this in the very heart of Europe,” Matthias Platzeck noted.
The head of the German-Russian Forum warned those present against attempts to rewrite history. “The Allied landing in Normandy is often portrayed as the turn of the tide during World War II. But this is not so, and we cannot forget the decisive role of the Red Army that liberated Germany from Nazism. History must not be distorted,” he said. In early June, the Russian Civic Chamber hosted a roundtable discussion on the evolution of Allied relations after the Normandy landing.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities, Mikhail Shvydkoi
suggested following Deng Xiaoping’s principle about turning over old pages and building the future.
Prime Minister of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet recalled the horrendous casualties (27 million people) the Soviet Union suffered in World War II. He added that the Soviet people had opted for reconciliation despite the horrors inflicted by the Germans. “We should never forget this,” he said.
“Ties between twin cities have so far been established in just five federal states, and the whole of Germany should expand such ties,” he pointed out.
Russia’s Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev, the German-Russian Forum’s Executive Director Martin Hoffman and Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michelle Müntefering also attended the conference’s opening ceremony.
On June 26, Valery Fadeyev moderated a plenary session of the Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities titled “Russian-German Relations: Quo Vadis?”
The Russian Civic Chamber’s delegation taking part in the conference also included Chair of the Commission on Ecology and Environmental Protection Albina Dudareva
, Chair of the Commission on Charity, Civic Education and Social Responsibility Alexander Tkachenko
, Deputy Chair of the Commission on Social Policy, Labor Relations, Cooperation with Trade Unions and Support for Veterans Yekaterina Kurbangaleyeva
, Deputy Chair of the Commission on Territorial Development and Local Government Svetlana Razvorotneva
, Deputy Chair of the Commission on Development of the Economy, Entrepreneurship, the Service Sector and the Consumer Market Ilya Syomin
, member of the Commission on Development of the Economy, Entrepreneurship, the Service Sector and the Consumer Market Olga Golyshenkova
and member of the Commission on Territorial Development and Local Government Tatiana Mikheyeva
For your information:
Established in 1993, the German-Russian Forum is a public initiative facilitating the development of German-Russian relations.
The German-Russian Forum brings together prominent politicians, economists, academics, media and cultural workers. Its work is financed through membership contributions. Various foundations and sponsors are involved in financing certain projects. The German-Russian Forum now has over 400 members.
The German-Russian Forum organizes and hosts conferences, seminars and discussion forums dealing on current issues in German-Russian relations for young leaders from Germany and Russia. The focus is on politics, economics and culture, as well as support for young leaders and regional associations. The German-language Kulturportal Russland website dealing with Russia culture is among the German-Russian Forum’s numerous projects.