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22 october

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"The value of human life and the well-being of citizens are of the highest priority for any state" – Alexander Tkachenko

At the Eurasian Forum in Verona, archpriest Alexander Tkachenko is set to talk about the problems of social inequality and social justice

"The value of human life and the well-being of citizens are of the highest priority for any  state" – Alexander Tkachenko

The Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Charity and Social Work, founder and General Director of the St. Petersburg Children's Hospice (the first state palliative institution for children in Russia) archpriest Alexander Tkachenko is taking part in the XIII Eurasian Economic Forum “New Reality of the Global Economy from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean”, scheduled to take place on October 22-23 in Verona.

The participants of the event will discuss issues of interaction in the field of the economy and trade covering countries from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The agenda of the forum includes the future of the oil industry, models of economic recovery after the pandemic, prospects for developing the gas industry, the search for a new geopolitical and socio-economic order, genetics and genome research, as well as topical health issues amid the pandemic. About 100 speakers are due to take part in the forum offline, while around 2.5 thousand participants – online. Speakers will represent China, Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Kazakhstan, Belarus, among others.

“This is my second time participating in the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona, so I have a good idea of the importance of this platform and the status of participants. This forum brings together professionals of a very high level, capable of thinking not only in the categories of their own narrow professional sphere, but also discussing global challenges, discovering new philosophies and influencing what our world will be like tomorrow,” said Alexander Tkachenko.

In his opinion, the time has come to think about building new models of cooperation both on the world stage and in each individual country. “2020 was a very difficult year for all countries in terms of the economy and politics, as well as public welfare in general. I would like to hear that the challenges the world has faced this year have not only created problems, but also generated new solutions. I am convinced that the pandemic should make all of us think about how fair our society is in relation to those in need of help, and I really hope to learn about interesting practices of social partnership and interaction between the state, non-profit organizations and business. And of course, I expect that Russia's experience in solving numerous social and economic problems will be of interest to many participants."

Alexander Tkachenko's speech is scheduled to take place within the section devoted to the topic of overcoming social inequality and poverty as today’s society evolves.

“I would like to raise the issue of inequality when accessing social services for certain groups in our society. Inequality is not just an economic concept today. Inequality is determined, among other things, by the ability to use computers and the Internet (and this skill is lacking amongst many senior citizens). During the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, those who were not used to digital realities and did not know how to easily handle a computer were deprived of many opportunities and rights. Inequality also manifested itself in the presence/absence of good technology: the quality of distance learning at school and university depends, for example, on what gadget a student has. This is the new reality – the dividing line is not only between those who have high or low incomes,” he said.

Alexander Tkachenko believes that it is important to reconsider the role of public institutions following the pandemic and honestly answer the questions of which mechanisms and structures are working and which are not. “For instance, public organizations, along with the state system of social protection, were considered in many countries as a safety mechanism providing support for people in need of help. During the pandemic, it turned out that many NPOs were simply forced to scale back their assistance programmes as their projects were not sustainable enough in the unexpected crisis situation. This means that we need to look for new solutions in order to increase the stability of the third sector.”

“In the context of this difficult year, we all once again became convinced of the effectiveness of social projects of religious organizations. Regardless of the religious affiliation of citizens, they could receive effective assistance in the nearest religious community. If we consider the parish as a model of the community, we can say that it is precisely such structures that have helped many lonely people who, for various reasons, dropped out of sight from state social services or NPOs. All religions and denominations have shown a very high degree of participation in organizing assistance to the population. And citizens showed a high degree of trust in religious structures in terms of appeals for help,” he stressed.

According to Alexander Tkachenko, in the modern world it is impossible to discuss the economy and not touch upon social issues. He is convinced that “by overcoming the coronavirus pandemic around the world, one can expect an increase in the interaction of social, economic and political processes.”

“In Russia, throughout history, issues of social justice have been a much more significant factor than any economic theory. If you analyze the Russian information field during the periods of discussing numerous economic issues, for example, pension reforms or tax initiatives, one can see that the discussion is mainly confined not to numbers, rubles or interest rates, but to one question – how fair is the proposed solution from the viewpoint of the country's citizens. It seems to me that this is a very logical path for the development of our society, i.e. to move from purely economic assessments of society to assessments based on changes in human well-being, evaluating the opportunities provided to citizens in the field of development, education, healthcare, and so on. I do not think that in the coming years we will move in assessing the state of this or that nation from economic values to environmental or social ones, but I think that 2020 will spur and accelerate these processes. Since the trials and tribulations of this year very clearly reminded us of the value of human life and the well-being of citizens as the highest priorities for any state,” concluded Alexander Tkachenko.

Tags: Alexander Tkachenko

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