The first Youth Forum of the Potsdam Meetings. Opinions and comments

11 May 2017

The first Youth Forum of the Potsdam Meetings organized by the Gorchakov Fund and the German-Russian Forum took place in Moscow on May 11.


The conference was opened by Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky. When welcoming the participants, he told about the history of the Potsdam Meetings and reminded that, initially, the main topic of the discussion had been humanitarian cooperation, but several years ago the organizers had decided to add political topics to the agenda.


According to the head of the Gorchakov Fund, they were pleasantly surprised by the number of applications to participate in the youth forum.


The first youth Potsdam Meetings is an excellent opportunity to discuss issues of Russian-German relations and then share their opinion with respected experts, stressed Leonid Drachevsky. Former Minister President of Brandenburg, Chairman of the Management Board of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzeck stated that without the Gorchakov Fund the Potsdam Meetings would not be possible.


“As it was mentioned by Leonid Drachevsky, one of the reasons for launching the youth panel this year was due to the fact that the same experts meet on the platform of our project year after year, and they grow older. We need a perspective into the future. And, thus, we decided to bring together a generation, which very soon will be determining our future. We have to intensify our dialogue about the future”, noted the German politician.


He believes that the goal of the conference is to develop qualitative recommendations in order to find grounds for the bilateral cooperation.


Director of the Third European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Nechayev thanked the Gorchakov Fund for organizing the event. “I hope that we will be able to give a positive direction to the Russian-German relations and restore economic cooperation, which has always been very strong. The two countries always had special relations”, said the diplomat.


Special Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy reminded that Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov had taken part in the Potsdam Meetings in November. That, according to the official, demonstrated a serious interest to the project on the highest level. “Building normal Russian-German relations is extremely useful not only for the two countries, but, above all, for Germany itself. I belong to that generation, which believes that the future of the world depends greatly on Russian-German relations”, mentioned Mikhail Shvydkoy.


The first discussion block of the meeting was named “Chances of the Future Global Security System of the World”. It was moderated by Executive Director of the German-Russian Forum Martin Hoffmann. The participants discussed economic cooperation between the countries, in particular, issues of the sanctions. It was noted that the German business was making titanic efforts to honor its commitments within the contracts and make new agreements despite the sanctions. “We are constantly facing the issues of Crimea, sanctions, countersanctions”, acknowledged the German experts.


The second session was dedicated to economic cooperation, energy issues and modernization. It was moderated by Head of the Department of Strategic Assessment of Institute of World Economy and International Relations RAS Sergey Utkin.


The participants were asked a question regarding the role of the foreign policy in economic processes. After watching the presentations on the trade policy of Russia, protectionism, free trade, prospects of machinery manufacturing in Russia, and cooperation in two areas of the energy industry, the experts discussed topics of import substitution, the protectionist strategy, and the idea of common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

A full text of the article in Russian can be found here