Life in the “digital Middle Age”: Youth Forum of the Potsdam Meetings took place at the Gorchakov Fund

03 November 2018

The 3rd Youth Forum of the Potsdam Meetings took place at the Gorchakov Fund. Organizers of the event are the Gorchakov Fund and the German-Russian Forum. Participants of the conference included young politicians, governmental officials, lawyers, economists, journalists, scientists, researchers, teachers and public figures from Russia and Germany.

The meeting was opened by Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky: “Such platforms for communication as the Potsdam Meetings should be complex. There, young people and people of middle and senior age gather together. It is necessary to exchange impressions because one generation starts significantly lagging behind the other one. In the future, we will expand the format and organize a large conference. However, there are also things to discuss in a smaller circle of the Potsdam Meetings".

During an intensive day of work the participants discussed a large number of issues and exchanged opinions on many problems. On the eve of Unity Day in Russia and following German Unity Day on October 3, representatives of the German delegation answered a question about what values united Germany. Former mayor, member of the German Bundestag (2002-2007) Bernhard Kaster emphasized importance of common European values, which were closely interconnected with regional ones. Member of the German Bundestag Andreas Nick: "Common European traditions have been present for centuries, that is why neighborhood is an important factor for all our countries”.

The main topic of the 3rd Youth Forum of the Potsdam Meetings was digital future as an opportunity for Russian-German cooperation. When introducing a discussion about digitization, Special Envoy to the President of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy addressed the participants with a question: “Digitization is an important process, which unites the world. However, this new economy will also create new problems. We – the older generation – lived in a different world. The speed of changes in your world is increasing year after year and it is a huge problem. Will values, appropriate for a human being, remain in this new world? We are so easily giving up humanity for the benefit of technologies… You will see many interesting things, but at the same time you will have to face a number of fundamental issues”.

The participants discussed problems of politics and security in the digital era. Vasily Gaist, Director for Business Development of Kaspersky Labs believes that today the world lives in the era of the “digital Middle Age”. “Political processes are behind technological ones. They trust our company in Germany, but we have to focus more on PR-activities because of the stereotype that “Kaspersky” is a Russian company and it is a common knowledge that now the opinion about Russia abroad is relatively negative”, informed Vasily Gaist.

Alexander Gref, a postgraduate student from University of St. Gallen, believes that there are no ideal examples of cyberspace regulation on a national level in the world. Besides, today this problem is entering a supranational level. There is a threat that in the future cyberattacks will be made by international conglomerates. The question about who and what measure should take remains unanswered.

The forum ended with an official dinner and an award ceremony of the certificates.

Photo by Kristina Shilova