October 15. The Tauride Palace. Large hall. Valentina Matvienko, chairperson of the Federation Council speaking. She dedicates her report at 137th IPU Assembly to the necessity of multiculturalism and peace promotion through interethnic and interreligious dialogue. The Assembly gathered delegations from more than 150 countries alongside with 6 inter-parliamentary associations. Mrs. Matvienko used the quote by famous Russian painter Nikolay Roerich to express her confidence in the fact that lack of multiculturalism would have deprived us of numerous masterpieces. Shakespeare, Cervantes, Tolstoy and many other international masters of art are known all over the world. However, not all masterpieces are treated equally. We all heard of the ‘new barbarians’ who did horrible things. Mrs. Matvienko reminded us of the books burnt, monuments and whole cities destroyed by advocates of nationalism and religious intolerance.
We can only fight that together, with due respect to cultural funds and peoples’ traditions. Valentita Matvienko shared Russian experience concerning equal representation of peoples, subcultures and religions in a single country: “More than 200 nationalities live in Russia. 89 languages are used in our education system. All the world’s main religions have representation in Russia. This being said, we never had any religious wars. Collaboration of representatives of all religions in Russia is a basis of country’s consolidation and development”.
Due to its special type of multiculturalism, Russian government tends to collaborate with different peoples successfully. The government recognizes different peoples’ rights both judicially and socially.
Mrs. Matvienko beautifully compared Russian approach to multiculturalism with a bouquet of field flowers where each flower is one-of-a-kind, as distinct from greenhouse-grown roses or tulips. Dialogue between religious leaders, scientists and various experts here is a natural fertilizer produced in special institutions. Among them are Federal Agency of Ethnicities, Council of Inter-Ethnic Relations and Council of Cooperation between Religious Organisations.
Valentina Matvienko proposed to hold an international conference on interreligious and interethnic cooperation in the framework of IPU.
It is encouraging, that all the participants of the Assembly supported the initiative of the Chairman of the Federation Council. The Associate Deputy of Bureau of Women Parliamentarians countered it with another proposal of connecting dialogue of interreligious and interethnic cooperation with gender equality issue and engaging as many women to the conference as possible. After that many pieces of advice, recommendations and initiatives started to appear, Thus, the dialogue has already begun.
Sukhrob Sharipov, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Boykov