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December 2019
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Speeches

K. Ohtsuka: 20 Years after the Fall of the Iron Curtain

 

Keynote Address
Conference on "East-West Dialogue: 20 Years after the Fall of the Iron Curtain"
Moscow, Russia, April 10, 2010

After the fall of the Iron Curtain that divided society and the world in the second half of the 20th century, the world dramatically changed. The borders of the Soviet Union were opened. The whole world made a step towards unity. The processes of change undertaken at that time have resulted in many challenges which we still face today – yet, these changes were of great historic significance.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Sun Myung came to the Soviet Union for the first time and was welcomed on the State level. At his initiative, an international conference was held on April 10, 1990 on the theme: “The Global Impact of Glasnost and Perestroika: New Thinking.” It was attended by 500 leaders of the Soviet Union and 60 other nations. The series of events that happened between April 8 and 13 that year will be recorded as a milestone in history: the 11th World Media Conference, the 3rd Summit Council for World Peace, and the private meeting between Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

These events were a watershed moment in Dr. Moon’s ministry. From the outset of his public life, he had made the reconciliation of the communist and democratic worlds a top priority, the indispensable stepping-stone toward the fulfillment of his God-given mission to realize “One Family Under God.”

Already in the early 1960s Dr. Moon had predicted that the communist world would reach a peak after 60 years and would not last beyond 70 years, that is, the late 1980s. Therefore, in 1985 in Geneva, Dr. Moon initiated an international conference on the theme “The Decline of the Soviet Empire.” The theme was a shock to many participating scholars, since at that time the Soviet Union seemed destined to last for a long time, but it was Dr. Moon’s conviction that it had only a few years to live.

Dr. Moon had long been known for teaching the philosophy called “Victory over Communism,” but his aim was not the destruction of the communist world. He essentially viewed the struggle with communism as a battle between theism and atheism. He understood that the denial of God was the base of communist ideology, and he promoted a God-centered ideology as the only possible way to overcome it.

He made many efforts to reach out to the communist world, especially through the media. Between 1982 and 1989, he sent group after group of western journalists on fact-finding tours to the Soviet Union, where they met with representatives of the Soviet media. He also invited Soviet journalists to the United States to let them observe democracy in action and learn the peaceful objectives of his philosophy.

As Dr. Moon reached out closer to the heart of the Soviet Union, he gained much respect and admiration from Soviet media representatives. On that foundation the Soviet government finally allowed a World Media Conference to be held in Moscow in 1990, co-sponsored by Novosti, the state media association, and the World Media Association, which Dr. Moon had founded.

Twenty years ago, here in Moscow Dr. Moon said:

“I want to tell you that in the depths of my heart, I feel that the Soviet people are a part of my family. I assure you that my wife and children feel the same. Also, I assure you that members of the Unification movement worldwide will do their utmost to work together with you for the future prosperity and well being of all humanity.

I believe the Soviet Union will play a key role in God's plan to build a world of lasting true peace. This vast union of nations, which stretches from the Far East, with its border on my country of Korea, to the very heart of Europe — the birthplace of Western Civilization — has a natural destiny to be a bridge between Europe and Asia. We must regard ourselves as being all members of one global family living in one global house.”

President Gorbachev met privately with Dr. and Mrs. Moon at his Presidential Office in the Kremlin. There Dr. Moon urged the President to establish diplomatic relations between Korea and the Soviet Union, and he emphasized that true peace was impossible without religious freedom.

We marveled that President Gorbachev agreed to meet privately with someone known as a religious leader and promoting Victory over Communism. According to his aides, there were two reasons that convinced President Gorbachev:

  • Dr. Moon had been investing an enormous amount of funds to help with the economic development of mainland China. Even at the time of the Tiananmen incident in 1989, Dr. Moon felt that it was his duty to help China’s development beyond any political problems.
  • Dr. Moon had been seriously persecuted by the American government. He had been sent to a federal prison in Danbury for one year due to unjust accusations, yet he kept investing for the sake of America. It was this sincerity that convinced President Gorbachev that Dr. Moon’s intentions toward the Soviet Union were for the best of the nation.

To Soviet officials Dr. Moon underlined what he considered most important challenges for the Soviet Union and the democratic world:

  • A new value system that could bridge the gap between individualism and collectivism and transcend the free market and the socialist systems
  • The sharing of technology between the developed and developing worlds
  • A new patriotic movement that teaches putting one’s country and humanity first, above one’s individual needs and desires

In the past 20 years these objectives have been guiding the Unification Movement in the former communist world.

Thus, we have developed many moral and ethical educational programs for youth and families in our Eurasia region and encouraged many social leaders and Ambassadors for Peace to promote ethnic and religious harmony and the moral renaissance of society.

Immediately after his visit to Moscow, Dr. Moon initiated a large-scale student exchange program between the Soviet Union and the United States and between the Soviet Union and Japan. Between 1990 and 1991, 3,000 Soviet students and Komsomol leaders came to Japan and to the USA to attend our seminars. On those occasions we organized brotherhood and sisterhood ceremonies and visits to famous cultural sites. I am proud that I could be in charge of these programs in Japan, as the leader of the Japanese student movement, J-CARP. Through these initiatives thousands of young Soviet people had a chance to see both East and West.

We commemorate today significant events of the past that contributed to open doors for dialogue, exchange, and harmony between the former enemies of the Cold War. At the same time, Dr. Moon’s vision of peace through the ideal of true families was brought to this region and stimulated many people to strive to build a harmonious and healthy society. It also inspired new hope to many leaders of society who carry out with sincerity the mission of Ambassadors for Peace in every nation of the former Soviet Union.

Twenty years after the opening of the Iron Curtain, such a vision of peace is crucial today for the young generation, our leaders, and for families and society. We invite you to help evaluate possibilities and develop the educational programs that 20 years ago began working to fill the spiritual vacuum with universal values.