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Speeches

E. Nikulishchev: Address to the International Leadership Conference

Hon. Evgeny Nikulishchev, First Deputy Chairman Councillor, Parliament of Russia
Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 6-10, 2011


The January 24 terrorist attack at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow has shaken Russian society. Noting that globalization has made the world more interdependent, we need to create a global security system that is equal for all states, emphasizing the necessity to do everything for sustainable, safe, and fair global development.

The world must truly unite in order to fight terrorism and eradicate its socioeconomic causes – poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, orphanhood, and many others.

I affirm that the crisis has had a sobering effect on everyone, but the economy has not been the only source of lessons learned. Nothing the recent environmental disasters in various nations, I stress the necessity of completing the long-standing climate talks and creating a common system for environmental monitoring, preventing, and responding to emergency situations.

Today the world needs ideas that can change it for the better. In this regard, it would be beneficial to discuss all proposals for improving international relations and principles of regulation that are increasingly lagging behind. In order to build a new world, it is necessary to be guided by several well-known principles:

  • A long-term strategic approach;
  • Be realistic and willing to live within our means;
  • Global partnerships and their proper organization; and
  • Diversification of the world’s various economic and political models that all for adapting to future challenges

A terrorist attack was committed at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport a few days ago, killing dozens of innocent people. Citizens of different countries died at the hands of terrorists: Russia, the United Kingdom, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Over a hundred people sustained injuries and are now in hospitals.

This tragedy was a real shock for Russian society, despite the fact that our country had suffered similar ordeals in the past. It caused an outrage throughout the civilized world. The heads of many states and international organizations expressed their solidarity. I am grateful for your sympathy and the words that I have just heard from you and other forum participants.

The pain from the loss of lives will remain in our hearts for a long time, but the incident only strengthened our common determination to find effective safeguards against international terror.

Terrorism negates the most important right: the right to life. It defies any and all rights and freedoms, breeds fear and hatred, and hampers efforts to reform and improve our world. The tragedy is that terrorist attacks fundamentally change the course of normal life and at times force us to make very tough decisions that radically alter the thinking not only of the victims of the terror but also of all the people on the planet.

Unfortunately, no country in the world is safe from terror today. The reality is that a terrorist attack similar to the one that shook Russia a few days ago —and not for the first time — can, unfortunately, occur at any time anywhere in the world. No country today is secure against terrorism. There are no universal methods to fight this scourge. But one thing is certain: our success in countering this common threat depends on our solidarity and concerted efforts, especially at a time when globalization has made our world much more dependent and interdependent than it was some time ago.

We need to boost our efforts to jointly fight terrorism. We must do everything possible to influence the socioeconomic roots of terrorism: poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy to ensure that global development becomes stable, secure, and fair.

I think that what happened in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen were big lessons for governments all around the world. Governments need to grow and develop together with society, regardless of where they are: in Europe, Africa, or Latin America.

When governments fail to keep up with social change and fail to meet people’s hopes, disorganization and chaos ensue.

This is not a task that can be easily accomplished, and not everyone was ready to immediately accept it, because it requires their personal participation and openness. But this practice has already become part of our ordinary life now, and this is important.

All of this work is already in progress. I have no illusions about resolving all the problems that exist in just a year or two, but we have begun taking action, and I am sure that we will succeed in vanquishing corruption in the end.

Modern civilization is technologically very advanced, at least compared with the world as it was just one or two hundred years ago.

A single natural anomaly or technological error can put entire regions on the brink of ecological disaster and separate continents from each other, as happened in past centuries. The volcanic eruption in Iceland, a major accident on an oil platform in the gulf of Mexico, the heat wave in Russia last summer, devastating floods and snowstorms in various parts of the world — all these make one think about the fragility of humanity. I believe that any delays in this sphere can be dangerous.

Today there is an urgent need for new ideas that can change the world for the better, ideas that in the future will set new requirements for policymaking and will become standards for governments, the business community, social development, and relations between states.

Today politicians’ actions, international relations, and the principles of regulation are increasingly lagging behind progress. At the same time, some people and some politicians continue to believe in the phantoms of the Cold War and get carried away by their primitive ambitions for power. But it is precisely in this period that a considerable part of the global community, almost one billion people, are using social networks for the first time in the millenniums of human history; they are communicating directly with each other while remaining on various continents.

However, these processes also have a dangerous side: they can become a very important tool for extremists who incite ethnic and religious hatreds and for drug traffickers, arms dealers, and terrorists. These problems are also increasing, and it is impossible to ignore them.

Our task is to use every opportunity to transform our new world into a world that is more just for the vast majority of citizens, a world in which success is determined by talent and hard work, a world where billions of people will be able to communicate directly with each other, a world where people are not afraid of the government, and international relations are free from double standards, a world where it will be easier and more efficient to work together, to work jointly. We can discus and realize our dreams together. We are ready for that. And when I say “we,” I mean Russia.

A few words about Russia. Sometimes Russia is rebuked for the lack of democracy, authoritarian trends, and the weakness of its legal and judiciary systems. I would like to say that Russia indeed faces many difficulties in building the rule of law, in creating an efficient and modern economy. Russia has been confronted with the evil of terrorism and extremism to a greater degree than many others. Russia has many social problems to cope with, although in recent years we have succeeded in resolving many of them. But it is vital to understand one obvious thing: major changes are taking place in Russia’s public life, in our society. We are developing and moving forward. In particular, our fight against corruption, the modernization of judiciary and law-enforcement systems.

We have not yet achieved outstanding results in our efforts, but we are full of resolve to persevere. We are learning and willing to listen to friendly advice.

People’s feelings and their social self-esteem are perhaps the most important indicators of how successfully the country is developing. The people’s firm belief that they live in a democratic state and the existence of a dialogue between the government and citizens are key signs of modern democracy, direct democracy. The quality and effectiveness of that democracy depends not only on political procedures and institutions but also on whether the government and civil society are prepared to listen to each other.

We have begun carrying out big infrastructure projects, especially as we have been chosen to host major international sports events. This is not just our sports fans’ desire but also a real opportunity to modernize our infrastructure. It was precisely our goal to make our infrastructure more convenient for our people, for business, and for trade. These projects will all be carried out on a public-private partnership basis. They will help us to develop individual regions and will also give people from around the world the opportunity to see Russia and realize that despite the current difficulties, Russia is an open country that has already become part of the global community.

To conclude, I cannot but return to my opening words and say that all of our efforts to revive and develop the global economy will be in vain if we do not vanquish terrorism, extremism, and intolerance.

I want to repeat that success in this task cannot be achieved in isolation but calls for all countries to work together through broad-based public dialogue with civil society and expert circles that can play a big part in promoting education and cultivating the values of tolerance and understanding between the various groups in society.