Civil G8 2006

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Three summits hope to hear each other


RIA News political correspondent – Vladimir Smirnov.

The history has never witnessed anything like that. Before the classic Summit which is going to take place in St. Petersburg on the 15-17, Russia hosts two more forums - those of religious leaders and nongovernmental organizations. They seem to discuss the same topics. In particular, how to make the life of people free from poverty and secure from new dangers, especially from terrorism, energy hunger and diseases.

Chronological coincidence of the three events in Russia change the habitual configuration of the annual G8 leaders’ meetings.

Usually the Summit is considered to be idle sittings of the rich ones who need to show by words that they care about the poor ones. Their decisions resemble more a well being wishes. Whether the less lucky ones, doomed for lack of food, water and diseases, will benefit from them seems to be not that important. Anyway, 8 spectacular men in expensive outfit, posing for the photo cameras “wholesale and retail” do not seem to be interested.

Let’s compare the promises of the preceding G8 – on Gleneagles – with what was achieved with this year.

The documents of the British Summit were filled with the intentions: to cancel the debts to the poor countries, to open their own markets, reduce the prices for the AIDS medicaments, to grant Africa with 25 billion dollars, leaving it to help itself..and other and other.

Something was done only in regard to the debts of 18 African countries to the World Bank and International Monetary fund. They were partially cancelled. By the way, Russia, which is not the most prosperous G8 member, maybe proud of its generosity. According to the volume of the cancelled debts, it hold the third place after Japan and France.

As for the rest of it,. Gleneagles make the list of loud and ungrounded promise longer. The ones, that the rich world was uttering gripped by the feelings of compassion. Today it almost awkward to reread the last year list of appeals: “to make poverty a past reality”.

To reduce the poverty at least a bit in the future – that’s what is hard to believe already. And the thought comes that maybe the G8 leaders are so far away from the reality because they intentionally separated from two components of the existence – religion and public society?

Within 10 years of the G8 club existence, its participants never chose to check their clock time with the Christian church bell, with the cries of the muezzins, heard from minarets. The opinion of the religious governors of the souls, directing many millions of the believers, never had anything to do with the meetings. Religious and political lives never crossed. The government leaders were ready to confess to their pastors only about intimate, private matters but never search their advice on how to slaughters in this particular country and how to save people from that particular evil.

Today, at the International Summit of Religious Leaders in Moscow the Orthodox priests, cardinals, muftis, imams and rabbis were thinking over particular political questions. President Putin who hold the speech at the forum promised to make sure that his G8 colleagues learn about the collective wisdom. The holy fathers think about the most important: how to break the close connection between terrorism and its religious motivation, how to stop terrorist fight from growing into global war.

There is another interesting idea that was recognized at the International Religious Forum in Moscow: to open up the true rights and freedoms of a human being is possible only in the moral based system of coordination. Freedom without morality is dangerous. As it was mentioned by metropolis Kirill, violent spreading of such a freedom is equals to the attempt to make one size clothes for all the people. Many will see it as trait jacket.

Moscow Forum guests tried to realize a new the reasons and the growth of the International terrorism. The point is not that the West is trying to reduce the world’s diversity to the democratic formula, which was formulated only in the western European context, without any participation of the Muslims, Hebrew, Buddhists, Hindu, Orthodox Christians and partially even without Catholics?

The absolute majority of the planet population, the followers of the old traditions and original cultures, were away from developing this system of values. Now this system is claimed to be Universal and worldwide standard, and sometimes it is claimed by force.
The opinion of the public society is also presented in a new way in Moscow.

Usually it would come to 8 leaders, wherever they were meeting, in the form of a vulgar and ungovernable shape of anti-globalist movement. Antiglobalism is always destructive. Its philosophers frighten humanity by the split into two races. One of them, the winner, will constitute the “golden billion” of new lords, or new “white rogues”, if one apply more familiar expressions. 3 billions of working cattle, herded into world ghetto and controlled according to Orwell, will work for their prosperity.

Scaring! Let them not wake up Lenin to say another: “Antiglobalists of all the countries get together!”.

But in Moscow the moods of the world public society find another ways of expression – in a civilized form of CivilG8. More than 600 representatives of Russian and international NGOs, including “Green Peace”, Oxfam and “International Amnesty”, do not loot Macdonalds, do not burn buses, but discuss their concerns before the G8. In reality, it the same agenda as in case of the political G8 Summit: energy security, infectious disease control, migration, access to education.

The G8 participants are sure that due to this forum NGO will have a real chance to influence the position of the 8 leaders.

Three Summits, three important components of the existence – politics, religion, society. We witness the birth of a new trend in Moscow. It may draw the Club of 8 powerful men closer to the needs and necessities of billions of people. The most important is to hear each other.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.

Expert opinion

Halter Marek


Halter Marek
Le College de France
Olivier Giscard d’Estaing


Olivier Giscard d’Estaing
COPAM, France
Mika Ohbayashi


Mika Ohbayashi
Institute for Sustainable Energy Poliñy
Bill Pace


Bill Pace
World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
Peter I. Hajnal


Peter I. Hajnal
Toronto University, G8 Research Group

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