EU-RUSSIA: NEW PARTNERSHIP FOCUS- ILYA KURSENKO OPINION BLOG
The increasing tensions the international concert is experiencing bring the memory back to the diversity of approaches and visions in the modern global affairs. Thus, it might have become casual to live as the united society of states under the umbrella of globalization for a couple of decades after the fall of the Berlin wall, however, the growing regional powers in Latin America and Eurasia demand more and more to their account provoking the need for a new approach to the dialogue between states.
Take a particular case with the current EU-Russia relations. Despite the ongoing degradation of the relations since the crisis of 2014 some high-level cooperation may still be observed, though the specifics of this East-West dialogue are always present. The latest update on this is the successful launch of the Council of Europe and Russian Federation joint project launch aimed to implement the Russian National Action Strategy on Women. January, 29th gathered some high-level experts at the Council of Europe Programme Office in Russian Federation from both sides to share opinions on gender equality, violence against the women prevention, the perspectives of the bilateral cooperation in the humanitarian spheres while the other ones are still blocked by the known political reasons.
Throughout the event that lasted for two days the artificially created environment reassembled some kind of an event that could have occurred during the Cold War era somewhere in Soviet Moscow. The ideological differences that kept the possible partners away prevailed over the discussions, though when it came to coffee breaks and lunch as well as to planned informal meetings all ideologies were forgotten and the topics discussed were lively and one could not tell these were the talks of some political counterparts. Finally, at the closing day of the conference the European experts came to a certain conclusion that throughout the two days the two expert sides (Russian and European) talked about the same topic of the Rights of Women, however, the meanings put into the term were different. The Istanbul Convention not surprisingly emerged as the key point of disagreement between the experts for the Russian colleagues it sounded disturbing as far as the value of a family’s integrity might be seen.
THE DIFFERENCE OF APPROACHES
Indeed, the difference of approaches to the institution of a family varies deeply in the societies of Western and Eastern Europe, and the further dimensions you take the greater will be the scale of disagreement. There are still the traditional approaches to family in Russia that are unlikely to change according to the principles set by the Istanbul Convention Russian current administration is strongly convinced not to ratify. It is sad to admit, however, some of the values of a traditional Russian family might suppose the domination of a male over a female in a family relationship and the assigned gender roles to take place. Created to challenge such obstacles, the Convention receives strong disapproval of certain strong voices of Russian society.
This is not really the challenge of East-West relations. This is the challenge of the whole struggle of progress. Through the centuries there have been the voices for and against the reforms, though they came inevitably through a nation’s struggle for a better living. However, the political actors put high bets on the “We-They” concept to gain the public credits to implement the planned policies.
Written by Ilya Kursenko