On 16th -18th September 2014 the International Conference “The Great War and the beginning of the new world: the actual agenda for mankind” took place in Belgrade (Serbia). The Conference was intended to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
The main organizing parties of the Conference were the Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called and the Centre of National Glory as well as Serbian public organization “the Belgrade Forum for the world of equals.” The Conference received the assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, The Department of External Church Communications of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Government of Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In “the Russian House” in Belgrade prior to the Conference the Russian-Serbian scientific round table took place. The round table was devoted to relationship between Russia and Serbia prior to and during World War I including the discussion of military-technical and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries during World War I.
The opening of the Conference was held in the Sava Centre conference hall. The Conference was attended by over 500 people from fifteen countries and comprised historians, political leaders and public figures, representatives of business circles, church ministers from the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches.
His Holiness Irinej Patriarch of Serbia the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci addressed the Primatial Speech to all the participants of the Conference.
President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, Kirill Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, the Head of State Duma Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation S.E.Naryshkin sent their Address to the participants of the Conference.
The first part of the “Global wars and world historical transformations” panel discussion started with the report “World War I and the New World” delivered by Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called, President and founder of “Dialogue of Civilizations” World Public Forum, President of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin. In his speech he emphasized that any war – and World War I is not an exception – is a certain “bifurcation point” when the paradigm shift in development takes place when one system of international relations recedes into the past and there appears a completely new system which supposes a new configuration of centres of power. However with respect to classical approach to the study of history matters in general, in order to understand the results of World War I we should pay attention to “beneficiaries” of the war conflict that is to estimate who in reality got the most benefits from the outcomes. Vladimir Yakunin expressed hope that the International Conference will provide answers to these questions, will help understand the essence of World War I and draw actual parallels with the present situation. Vladimir Yakunin drew attention of the participants to the great leap of the USA in their economic development following the results of both World War I and World War II considering the fact that most part of Europe was in ruins after the military conflicts.
Vladimir Yakunin also drew attention of the participants of the Conference to the fact that it is unacceptable to revise the history of World War I in favour of political goals. He criticized the ideological myth about “Russian imperialism” and “Serbian nationalism” as the main acting elements for starting World War I.
Ex-President of the Czech Republic (2003-2013), Honorary Chairman of Civil Democratic Party of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus drew the attention of the participants of the discussion to the consequences and repercussions of the Great War which still can be seen not only at the European continent but all over the world as well. He underlined that the dialogue based on equal partnership is the key to solving conflicts.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs A.Yu.Meshkov noted in his speech that at the heart of Russian politics there is the principle of peaceful interaction and peaceful resolution of all conflicts. That’s what happened prior to World War I when the Russian Empire put forward a number of peaceful initiatives aimed at preventing the European war. That’s what is happening now when the Russian Federation is looking for any opportunity for resolving the conflicts peacefully.
The first panel discussion also comprised the speeches of the following: Academician of Serbian Academy of Science and Arts V.Krestich; Head of Subcommittee on International Affairs of Supreme Court Bar Association of India, Head of Neutral Congress of Indian Youth, Head of Indo-Arabian Solidarity Board B.Singh; Dean of Higher School of Television of Lomonosov Moscow State University V.T.Tretyakov; Prime-Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1998-2000 M.Bulatovich; Director General of the Václav Klaus Institute J.Vaigl; Dean of Faculty of History, Political science and Law of Moscow State Regional University V.Bagdasaryan; Associate Member of Serbian Academy of Science and Arts L.Dimich; Former Ambassador of Canada to Yugoslavia, writer J.Bissett; Pro-rector for Research of Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation A.I.Podberyozkin.
The second panel discussion “World War I: why and what for?” was devoted to reasons and preconditions to that military conflict which took away millions of lives and led to huge destructions in Europe. In the framework of the panel there were reports connected with analysis of geopolitical development in Europe, the politics of the Great Powers on the eve of World War I as well as the theme of interaction of Serbia and Russia during this conflict.
In the framework of the third panel discussion “ World War I in terms of the world outlook and values” there were reports and speeches devoted to the issues of global changes which were caused by World War I as long as the conscience of mankind and the European community in particular are concerned. In the reports devoted to this topic it was repeatedly emphasized that World War I – which caused extremely difficult consequences in Europe – on the one hand raised the question of necessity to overcome the conflict potential and to diminish tension, on the other hand the conflict led to escalation of military confrontation and outburst of revenge-seeking ideas which later were used for incitement of the new military conflict. The speakers emphasized that the World War I shocked public conscience, the world was stunned by the scale of military confrontation and big amount of victims. In effect the war erased the foundation of Christian values in European society, led to destruction of age-old empires and to the creation of secular states and fast growth of extremist ideas which led to the results we see today in modern conflicts.
The fourth panel discussion “World War I as the cautionary advice to mankind” was devoted to actual lessons which humanity should learn considering the events of 100 years old. The speakers emphasized that the troubling events at the beginning of XXI century to a great extent remind of the situation which was seen at the beginning of XX century: once again Europe has the feeling that global confrontation is inevitable, there appear military conflicts, countries confront each other.
In his final speech on the Conference results the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre of National Glory and the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called, President and founder of the “Dialogue of Civilizations” World Public Forum Vladimir Yakunin emphasized in particular: “History parallels between the present world situation and the situation of 100 years before are obvious. The world is stunned by the economic and financial crisis with continuous waves one after the other. For somebody a war might seem to be the way out from the deadlock. But it will be the way out in favour of world moguls. Just the way it happened 100 years ago today there is fight for the sake of the global world leadership. But the desire for unipolar world, the ideology of superiority and the idea of the world hegemony lead to a war. Just as it happened 100 years ago there is struggle for trade markets, for areas of geo-economical influence which drag the world to wars for the sake of the world redivision. Today we are talking about joining efforts by all progressive world powers in order to separate the class of financial oligarchy from global power. It is necessary to reshape all the political processes in the states of the world based on really equal democratic principles, the principles which are sovereign and not fictitious, on civilizational human values and equal dialogue of civilizations. The mankind should be wise and find power to get rid of the blind dependence on world beneficiaries”.