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25.04.2020

April 24, 2020

For immediate release.

 

Seventy-five years after American and Soviet soldiers met at the Elbe River and celebrated their impending joint victory in the war against Nazi Germany, American, Russian, Canadian, and European experts met today (some joined online) and issued a call for dialogue and cooperation on international security, climate change, people to people exchanges, and other pressing issues.

Participants in alphabetical order included:

Colonel General Valery Baranov, former Deputy Commander of the Russian Internal Troops Academy;

Bruce W. Bean, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State College of Law;

Werner Busch, Honorary President of the International Association of Professors of Philosophy, Germany;

Cynthia Chung, President, Rising Tide Foundation, Canada;

Lt. General Keith Dayton, Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies;

Gilbert Doctorow, independent international affairs analyst and author, Belgium;

Matthew Ehret, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Patriot Review, Director, Rising Tide Foundation, Canada;

David Foglesong, Professor, Rutgers University;

Sheldon Lee Glashow, Professor, Boston University and Professor emeritus, Harvard University, Nobel Laureate in Physics;

François Heisbourg, International Institute for Strategic Studies and Special Advisor at Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France;

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy advisor to the U.S. Senate Republican leadership;

Major General German Kirilenko, former member of the Russian General Staff;

Jeremy Kuzmarov, Author “The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce”;

Peter Kuznick, Professor of History and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University;

Dennis Lamb, retired from the CIA after serving 30 years in its Directorate of Operations as a case officer and intelligence analyst;

Edward Lozansky, President, American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities;

Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS);

Thomas Meaney, Fellow, Max Planck Institute, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Germany;

Natalia Narochnitskaya, President, Foundation for historical outlook, Member of the Russian Public Chamber;

Vladimir Pechatnov, Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Author “The Big Three: From the Grand Alliance to Cold War”;

Herbert Reginbogin, Professor, Catholic University of America, Institute for Policy Research;

Ron Ridenour, Peace activist, Author “The Russia Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert”, Denmark;

Sergei Rogov, Academic Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences;

Brigadier General Kevin Ryan, former Defense Attache at the US Embassy in Moscow, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs;

Victor Savinykh, Russian cosmonaut, Member, Russian Academy of Sciences;

Karen Shakhnazarov, Director, Mosfilm;

Martin Sieff, Senior fellow, American University in Moscow, former Senior Foreign Policy Editor of the Washington Times;

Alexander Smolko, Film producer;

Brigadier General Peter Zwack, former Defense Attache at the US Embassy in Moscow, Senior Research Fellow at the Wilson Center.

April 25, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the momentous occasion when U.S. and Soviet forces met at the Elbe River which signaled the approaching end of the WWII. Today, the joyfulness created by that open display of comradeship between East and West is needed more than ever. This celebration of this great historical event provides an excellent opportunity to engage in a long-awaited U.S.- Russia dialogue in view of unprecedented tensions that threaten the security of our nations and the world.

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the broad erosion of the world’s infrastructure for controlling nuclear weapons arsenals was a major factor in their decision to move the hands of its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds from midnight – closer to the apocalypse than they have ever been. The International Committee of the Red Cross conducted a survey of millennians around the world and learned that majority of them believe it’s more likely than not that a nuclear attack will happen sometime in the next 10 years.

Emphasizing the rising dangers and costs of an uncontrolled nuclear arms race, the participants in the conference urgently called for both bilateral negotiations between the United States and Russia and multilateral discussions among the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to address the problems stemming from the abandonment of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by the United States and Russia in 2019 and the approaching expiration of the New START treaty in February 2021. They also stressed the necessity of reviving and expanding international cooperation to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

In addition to nuclear threats the conference participants highlighted the worsening situation with the climate change and global warming. They enthusiastically endorsed a proposal for a world’s joint program for planting huge numbers of trees that would absorb billions tons of carbon dioxide, a major cause of rising temperatures and catastrophic weather events. Since Russia, the United States, Canada, and other large countries have hundreds of millions of acres of land available for reforestation, the proposal is entirely feasible. It would be a valuable part of a broader international commitment that would also involve renewed efforts to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. Over the next decade, seed-planting drones, and other technologies, will stem the tide of climate change. Estimated costs of this project represent a tiny fraction of the military budgets of world’s major powers.

We believe that in the absence of a broad U.S.-Russia government dialogue people to people contacts play even more important role than during the less confrontational and friendlier times. The new technologies like Zoom.us provide excellent and low budget opportunities for direct online interactions between American and Russian students. The American University in Moscow and Catholic University of America are conducting such sessions with the Moscow State and the National Research Nuclear Universities but this initiative needs to be expanded to involve many other American, European, and Russian universities, colleges and schools.

Recalling how newspapers and magazines in both Russia and the West joyfully hailed the meeting at the Elbe 75 years ago, but also recognizing how in recent years mutual demonization in the mass media of both countries has made productive dialogue between their leaders much more difficult, conference participants urged American, Russian, and European journalists to avoid sensational scapegoating of foreign nations and present more responsible, constructive coverage of international affairs. Attendees at the conference expressed confidence that the media can thereby promote an improvement in relations between East and West, as it did in the 1980s, when an earlier round of the arms race was halted and the Cold War ended.

Remembering the high hopes for a peaceful postwar world that were inspired by the meeting on the Elbe River in 1945, participants in the conference resolved to form an ongoing working group to serve as a hub for the exchange of creative ideas for the solution of political, environmental, and strategic problems facing the world.

All those who are interested in joining this effort please register at the www.RussiaHouse.org/wrf.php