Civil G8 2006

Civil G8 — is your opportunity
to discuss global problems!

Expert Opinion

John Kirton


Toronto University
G8 Research Group

BBC:
What was your personal agenda during the Civil G8 Forum?

John Kirton:
For me the essential was that the first meeting of the G8 2006 leader Vladimir Putin with the civil society was successful for both sides. It was very important for the civil society to formulate recommendations for G8, and to understand what limitations about the G8 summit agenda there are.

From another hand, it was important for the President to understand that the civil society can be a very powerful instrument. And it can help him to overcome the resistance of other G8 leaders and to make the G8 summit successful.

BBC:
What was the atmosphere during the discussion?

John Kirton:
The atmosphere was very positive. Of course, when you invite 650 NGO leaders to participate in 8 round table discussions, there should be a concurrence. But this time it wasnt any. There was an impression of community, of synergy and understanding that we witness the historic opportunity to bring our ideas to the G8 host attention at the period when it could influence the agenda.

BBC:
Was the event successful both for the authorities and the NGOS

John Kirton:
It was obviously a risk of the Russian authorities but the event was successful. Many of Putin milieu were advising him to chose a group of NGOs and to meet them.

But Vladimir Putin understood that he is democratically elected and he is responsible for the society. And. of course, it was a question of self-assertion.

So, Putin saw the civil society willing to help him and the civil society saw the President being sincere.

BBC:
Will the civil society recommendations be heard by G8?

John Kirton:
Vladimir Putin made some concrete promises about the NGO recommendations. Even it is too late to include some of them into the agenda he promised to include them into the final document and to pass to the next host of G8 summit - Anjela Merckel.

BBC:
What civil society does Vladimir Putin intend to build?

Joh Kirton:
All our friends in USA and France should remember, that the 1991 revolution was mainly made in the corridors, not outside. During the dialogue Putin let know that the main obstacle is the bureaucracy, trying to save the culture of the previous poque. That why Putin needs the civil society support. The sociological inquiries show that Putin has the highest rating in his country to compare with other G8 leaders. And his declarations and emotions show that his a populist able to contact people directly, at the intuitive level.

BBC


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Bill Pace

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