Samir Kerimli, Azerbaijan: Everyone here almost praised that we respect legacy of the USSR. I think the time has come and though we are already late. It's time to give up these stereotypes, because the USSR from the days when it was established up until the end has always been a problem for the world. What is the USSR? It is South Korea and North Korea, Afghanistan, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 ... The time has come to abandon the USSR, and we still live the same way. It is time to look forward. We already want to forget the past, what happened in Karabakh during the war, we want to forget what happened 20 years ago. And at the same time we want to remind all the time what happened 30 years ago, or 70, 40, 50 years ago. Then we automatically remember the same Karabakh war, the same Abkhaz, Ossetian wars.
Micheil Mirziashvili: Can I ask a question? You said that all speakers praised the USSR?
Samir Kerimli: No, I did not mean the speakers. I meant those in the audience and particularly about one comment.
Micheil Mirziashvili: Yes, the Soviet school was mentioned. Our topic implies that we need to talk about advantages and disadvantages. I understood that the person who made a comment placed the school in the box of advantages. I agree with you that the USSR, just like Soviet Azerbaijan, Soviet Georgia and Soviet Armenia which made up the USSR, led us to many problems. It was also bad.
Eva-Maria Auch: I understand that we still ask why we are the way we are, with positive and negative sides. Talk about fear of the authorities – it is what is missing. This question was not raised. We talk often about the Stalinist repressions, and as if it's all gone, and it was only a few years ago. Of course, terrible things have happened, but to what extent this Stalinist system still exists in the form of fear of authorities? For example, I have worked in all the republics during the elections. We met with different NGOs. And it was only when we were alone with them; we could talk about everything very openly. When the authorities appeared, everyone was in a fuss, quickly doing something, running around. It was done so that it looked fine but it was superficial. The fear of authorities is deeply rooted. Not in everyone of course. But, in my opinion, we should also speak about this fear. As if there are two personalities. And it is not the past; it did not remain in the Soviet period. This exists today. I'm sorry I still look at it from the side, but when I see how people react to certain processes, protest against this defamation ... What is defamation? It has been already used since the 20s as a tool to discredit the opposition. There are tools that the authorities use to react to certain processes. They are very similar to the ones used by socialists. That's the issue, fear of the authorities that I have not heard about today.
Micheil Mirziashvili: I just did notice that there are no authorities here. That is why I did not talk about it. ☺ But I was exactly saying about the impossibility and inability to build horizontal relations and our authorities inherited the vertical relations. And I think that is just about it.
Zardusht Alizade: I want to answer to my young countryman. The construction of a model for inter-ethnic relations is what we discuss here. We did not have the Soviet Union until 1922. 1922 is the year when the Soviet Union was born. Before that mankind had a history which estimated 5000 years. There were no wars? There was no oppression? There was no genocide? There were no massacres? Take the world history for example. And the Soviet Union did it too. For the first time in the history of mankind the Soviet Union proposed some new model of construction for interethnic relations. How did a socialist revolution come about? It came about as a result the horrors of World War I when people in the civilized Europe were attacking and exterminating each other as animals. They were killing each other with gas, bombs, "Big Bertha" aviation. The reaction of the world to it was in the form of Communism and Nazism. It was the reaction. And now this model is extinct. . This model does not exist. And now we want to find and build a new model of international relations. And we want to ask ourselves the question: What was in the past experience? Can anything from the past experience help or hinder Tekali process?
Rusudan Mashania: My question coincides with your question, Zardusht muallim. I was about to ask the speaker – what can we take from our Soviet past to our future in order to build our relations, post-conflict relations? From my experience, at the meetings I see how we, those who were born in and remember the USSR, despite our problems, can find common grounds with each other more easily and quickly than the youth who was brought up in post-soviet time and who does not know or remember anything, who does not have common grounds with each other. What could you take with you from the Soviet past?
Micheil Mirziashvili: The short answer is - nothing. But the long answer would be this. We cannot take other than what we have – it is Russian language and communication icons (communication windows) - jokes, movies, etc. Here you have given an example - why do we understand each other more quickly? It is because we have not only a common language but also these communication icons. And young people – they do not. And I want to say something bad now about the young people which in itself is bad, it's like spitting into the wind - but I will say it. Young people in the Caucasus, not all, but the younger generation as a whole, often looks up to the previous generation. The younger generation often looks up to the previous generation, and at such meetings where some very important issues are discussed. The issue of national pride, national territories, and so on, when these issues are discussed, they often look up to the previous generation. I think it makes it difficult. It's not just the problem of young people, when we were young we did the same.
But on the other hand, young people are more open, and when they find these opportunities for mutual understanding, they move on more quickly, and the evidence to that are many ideas that come from the young who are free from what we have, so to speak, from what bring us down.
Moderator gives the floor to the next speaker.