Andrea Giannotti: Institute of Eurasian Studies is a recipe to overcome the crisis

05 March 2015

Executive Director and Vice President of the Institute of Eurasian Studies (Italy) Andrea Giannotti told during the interview to press service of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund that such platforms as the Institute can become one of the recipes to overcome the crisis of relations between Russia and the West.


- Could you please tell us how the idea of creating the Institute of Eurasian Studies was born? What is its main goal?


- Relations between Russia and Western Europe, including with Italy, are under “burning platform” at the moment. Unfortunately, the events in Ukraine and the Crimea have significantly aggravated the situation. However, one needs to understand that despite everything Russia is a key partner for Italy and Western Europe as a whole. This is why we have decided to create the Institute of Eurasian Studies. We believe that in order to discuss urgent matters, it is very important to get together representatives from different sectors: economic, political, academic. This is a required basis for relations between our countries.


We plan to hold different conferences, meetings with businessmen, dialogues on various topics, such as Eurasian integration, relations between Russia and Italy, new potential points for development and others, on the Institute’s platform.


- How well was this initiative received in Italy and in the West?


- A final decision about the creation of the Institute of Eurasian Studies was made only in November of the last year, three months ago. Now we are moving step by step towards our goal. Many famous people joined the Honorary Committee. Leonid V. Drachevsky, who helped us a lot, has become part of the Committee from the Russian side. Among Italians, who joined the Honorary Committee, I would like to specifically mention former Prime Minister of Italy Lamberto Dini.


- The Gorchakov Fund is a fund to support public diplomacy. It is a broad concept, which includes cultural, scientific and economic components. The Institute of Eurasian Studies plans to work in these directions. Do you think this approach works? To what extent will development of these directions, particularly, in the area of economy, help to improve relations between our countries?


- It will definitely help. There are many prejudices about Russia in Italy. Very often we hear about your country only as a provider of raw materials and as a state with fake democracy. Nevertheless, when the European Union decided to introduce sanctions against Russia, a large number of businessmen tried to put pressure on the Italian government to make it cancel the sanctions. Russia is the most important partner for many Italians. I believe that economic relations are extremely important for achieving political goals.


- Much is said today about the fact that the conflict of interests between Russia and the West has been brewing for a long time. Can such platforms as the Institute of Eurasian Studies become one of the recipes to overcome the conflict?


- No doubt about that. Political and civil levels of relations very often do not coincide. In Italy there is an official, rather hardline stance, which is not connected with any international events. And there is a civil position, which is much softer. This is exactly why such platforms, associated with working with a civil society outside the official political framework, can very much assist in overcoming the relations crisis.


Interviewer – Tatyana Khruleva


The interview took place on the sidelines of the International Conference “The 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference of Heads of the State of Anti-Hitler Coalition”. The Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund was one of the organizers of the forum.

Authors’ points of view published on the website may not coincide with the position of the Gorchakov Fund.