Social Forum of Eastern Europe discussed topical issues of the region’s life
March 13, 2016
T he Social Forum of Eastern Europe started its work in Wroclaw, Poland on March 11. On Saturday, March 12 the work of the Forum continued. Participants focused on the important issues specific to the countries they represent. The discussion was attended by civic activists, academics and politicians.
The focus was on three issues:
Militarization of Eastern Europe;
The Role of NATO and the Wars Provocations;
Ukraine Issue as the Example of Making the War in the Region.
The first speaker was moderator of the section, a journalist Jacek Kaminski. He noted the importance of the forthcoming debate over the militarization of Eastern Europe and invited to discuss the different points of view.
Professor Michelle Colon, Belgium, proclaimed the need to recreate the broad anti-war movement in Europe. It is puzzling why the Europeans were actively protesting against the military actions of their governments in local conflicts in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and now, when a real war has started in Europe, the public does not react to the fact of the bloodshed of civilians in Ukraine. This passivity is nothing else, as a result of manipulation of public opinion of the European people, and above all depends on media’s position. Prof. Colon proposed the creation of a network of information points, which could quickly share objective information.
Victoria Machulko, a representative of 2 May committee from Odessa, spoke about the development and results of the people’s protest movement that arose after the Bandera pogrom that took place on May 2, 2014. Victoria Machulko stressed that in spite of the terrible events of May 2, 2014 in Odessa there is a peaceful protest movement, even in conditions of continuing terror it continues to struggle against the nationalist ideology imposed to society. Forum participants observed a minute of silence in memory of anti-fascists who were killed in battle with the right-wing radicals.
Russian Communists representative Daria Mitina said that current approaches to solving the conflict in the South-East of Ukraine have become obsolete. There is no military solution to this problem. But as long as the leaders of Europe are blind eye to pro-Nazi movement in Ukraine, the conflict will not be able to stop or freeze. It is impossible to be walled off from fascism. Daria Mitina asked everybody to work on informing their people about what is happening.
Marko Milachich from Montenegro focused on how his country accesses to NATO. Most citizens do not agree with the entry into NATO. To this aim only representatives of Montenegro’s ruling circles insist on it but they are not going to ask people’s opinion. At the end Marko Milachich expressed the view that only the struggle against anti-popular plans of the country’s ruling elite will allow to count on the realization of the true interests of the people of the country.
Associate Professor Yuri Shakhin focused on the origins of international tensions in Eastern Europe. They appeared before the Ukrainian crisis and associated with the United States activity. These are NATO’s eastward expansion and the creation of a US missile defense system in the region. At the same time Russia since 2013 conducts unannounced military exercises that cause a panic reaction in the West. “But if we take the ratio of military power, NATO should not worry. NATO military expenditure in 2013 exceeded the Russian military spending by more than 10 times and accounted for more than half of all military spending worldwide. But despite such a clear predominance in force, the NATO countries have begun to strengthen their position in Eastern Europe.” Russia took up the challenge, although limited in its material resources. Then he focused on the problems of struggle against militarism and the threat of war. According to him, the social movements of Eastern Europe are not yet able to effectively counter the military threat. However, there is still time, that can be used to strengthen the anti-war forces. To do this, Shakhin urged to study the experience of the anti-war struggle in Ukraine and gave an overview of the anti-war protests. He estimates there were more than 130 anti-war actions in Ukraine in the period of 2014-2015.
Remark: A more detailed report will be made public next week.