Ksenia Antipova, host of the Compatriots TV magazine, journalist Ksenia Antipova, is talking to Maxim Kramarenko, chairman of the public association “Republican Slavic Movement “Lad”, head of the Information and Analytical Center “Eurasian Policy Institute” in Kazakhstan, deputy chairman of the World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots.
- I propose to start our acquaintance with the public association "Lad". How and when did its story begin?
- Our movement was formally registered in 1993, but the desire to create such an organization appeared already in 1992, a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I think people at that time were primarily driven by the feeling that we wanted to maintain ties with the Russian Federation, to preserve our culture, our language in the newly formed state. This year the Republic of Kazakhstan turns 30 years old and we, it turns out, have been functioning for 29 years. This is how the history of our movement began. We were created in order to provide assistance, a certain influence so that our countries do not diverge far - Russia and Kazakhstan. Without a shadow of embarrassment, I will say that we may have made a certain contribution to the creation of the Eurasian Union, that is, to the integration of the post-Soviet space.
- And when did you join the Society yourself?
- I joined the Society in 1995. From the very beginning, my father was in the society, and only then, in 1995, I was attracted by the type of activity. Then our “Slavic movement “Lad” was engaged in various areas, including socio-political. The first chairman of our movement was a deputy of the Supreme Council, and, accordingly, in the branches, including our Kokshetau branch, my father was elected several times to the City Maslikhat. Through him, I also got involved in the activities of the “Slavic movement “Lad”.
- What is the movement doing today? Have activities and priorities changed?
- Yes, they have changed a little, because we have reformed the political system in Kazakhstan. It happened several times. Unfortunately, in 2007, the authorities decided that only political parties on party lists should be nominated to Maslikhat and Parliament, so we were excluded from social and political activities due to a number of objective circumstances. And now we are mainly engaged in human rights and cultural and educational activities.
- Maxim, the Lad movement publishes a newspaper of the same name…
- Yes, we have been producing since 1994.
- What topics do you cover?
- First of all, the Lad newspaper thought, as it is now fashionable to say, as a corporate publication, that is, we wrote about the activities of our organization. Secondly, of course, we have paid and are now paying some attention to the socio-political processes in the Republic of Kazakhstan and in the post-Soviet space. Accordingly, now this is a Eurasian topic, there is a topic about the activities of “third countries” on the territory of our Eurasian Union. That's about it we write in our newspaper. Unfortunately, it is now released not so often. Where we used to issue monthly, now we issue quarterly.
We have a site "Russian Eurasia", which appeared after the trend began to develop for what will happen reintegration of the post-Soviet space. Accordingly, they swung at Eurasia and called it differently. Created the site "Russian Eurasia".
In social networks, we have several sites - this is, firstly, the page on Facebook "Pulse of Eurasia" and there, on Facebook, there is a group that has about 5000-6000 members - this is the "Eurasian historical society. We named it that. Again, everything is with a bias towards Eurasia, that is, we connect the Slavs and Eurasia into a single concept.
- Are you already interacting with "Assembly of the Peoples of Eurasia"?
- Not yet. We have an "Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan" in Kazakhstan. And last year, the branch of our Akmola region expressed a desire to sign an agreement with the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia. I assisted in the signing of such an agreement. The Akmola "Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan" signed an agreement with the "Assembly of the Peoples of the Trans-Urals" in the city of Kurgan. We are still establishing contacts with the "Assembly of the Peoples of Russia", and I hope that we will also enter the "Eurasian Assembly".
- As far as I can tell, you have a lot of projects dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. What would be the most interesting ones?
- Yes, last year we held the project "My Victory Parade" in the geographic space of the Russian-Kazakh border. In the implementation of this project, we were greatly assisted by the Ural-Eurasia Expert Club, which was created in 2014 on the basis of the Ural Federal University. We have been cooperating with them for a long time. When we decided to go online last year due to the pandemic, they helped us.
- The children prepared and read a poem dedicated to the Great Patriotic War in three categories. And I can tell you that the project was successful, because about 150 guys took part in it, even more ... Competitive performances came after the end of the competition, but we were strict and within a limited framework selected those who sent the work on time .
How successful was this project? The fact that we appreciated the views. This competition had about 30 thousand individual views, that is, we were able to cover exactly the youth, since one of the tasks was not only to read a poem, but also to replicate their video, which they posted on the VKontakte social network. Just through this replication, it turned out that about 30 000 people watched our contest. Plus, it was cheap. We spent only on the purchase of gifts, which were then handed out. Unfortunately, if for presentation in Yekaterinburg, in Russia, the participants were able to gather on the basis of the Museum of Military Glory, then here, in Kazakhstan, I took the winners and presented gifts at schools or at home. The guys were very pleased and, in principle, now they even write, asking if we will hold a similar competition this year. We are thinking about this because it is a jubilee year. Perhaps in the second half of the year we will hold a similar event.
Every year we hold an essay contest in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Last year, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, we held a student conference for an essay competition, and the office of the military attache of the Embassy of the Russian Federation and the Embassy of the Russian Federation itself helped us in holding it - this is from the Russian side, and from the Kazakh side - "The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan ". We are working in this vein. This is for a children's audience. For an adult audience, we also annually hold round tables dedicated to the military feat of the Kazakh division, which participated in the liberation of certain cities of the Soviet Union.
- specific conference topics?
- Yes, specific topics. Let's say that several rifle divisions were formed in our Akmola region. One of these legendary ones is the 310 Rifle Division, which participated in the release of Leningrad from the very beginning of the Battle of Leningrad and then liberated Novgorod and the cities of Poland and the Czech Republic.
- Do the youth of Kazakhstan know the history of the Great Patriotic War? Or are there also trends in the falsification of history in the country?
- I'll tell you this: the position of the leadership of Kazakhstan is to interpret the history of the Great Patriotic War in the same vein as in Russia. The people to whom we refer the concept of a “third force” are trying to intervene and reformat, so to speak, the young consciousness, to say that, for example, this was not the Great Patriotic War, that it was just the Kazakhs who were dragged into the conflict between Stalin and Hitler, about the predatory regime, and that then the world order was divided, therefore, for the Kazakhs, this war does not matter at all. Only that some sacrifices were made and so on. Well, thank God, the leadership and most of the population of Kazakhstan, of course, do not support such an interpretation. It's always a pleasure to work with them together. These are both authorities and public associations, which also support and say that the Great Patriotic War really took place, are also engaged in search activities, leave for Russia, other republics of the Soviet Union and the Far Abroad, study the combat path of all military formations that were formed in Kazakhstan.
- Maxim, what other major projects of the Lad movement would you like to talk about?
- For the third year we have been implementing a project, so to speak, for a long time, it is called "Heritage of Eurasia". We started it with an anniversary date dedicated to the work of Krylov, the Russian fabulist. Competitions were also multifaceted. This is an essay, and the ability to read by heart, the ability to even philosophically comprehend the meaning of certain Krylov's fables. After that, last year we managed to hold a multi-aspect competition even before the pandemic. It was called "Pushkin. Lermontov. Abai is a classic of all time.” Here we told, actualized the work of two Russian poets and writers on the one hand, and on the other hand, we showed the creative path of Abai, a Kazakh educator, a Kazakh poet, who himself made a great contribution to the development of Kazakh culture. Secondly, thanks to his translation activities, the Kazakhs just learned about the work of Pushkin and Lermontov.
This year, again within the framework of this project, we are holding a competition “Kazakhstan-Russia: our space”, that is, we have already moved away from literature to the development of scientific and technological progress. The contest is about how the conquest of space connected Kazakhstan and Russia in the Soviet era. The task of the competition is to write about how cooperation can develop in 200-300 years. These can be fantasy stories, futurological essays, and so on. Thus, in our activities we are trying to preserve, connect, stitch together the cultural and historical space of Kazakhstan and Russia.
- In what format do you cooperate with Russian organizations?
- I have already mentioned the Ural-Eurasia Expert Club. In April of this year, we held a forum in which representatives of the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan took an active part. This structure unites all NGOs in the Republic of Kazakhstan. At this forum on April 26, it was decided to create a Resource Center that will contribute to the development of humanitarian cooperation in the border area, that is, Russia and Kazakhstan as a whole. This Resource Center will collect information about certain cross-border cooperation projects that are being implemented both in Russia and in Kazakhstan. Also, this Resource Center will allow looking for partners for the implementation of similar projects in the future. This is also a project aimed at developing cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan.
- And you suggested creating the Academy of Border Diplomacy?..
- Yes, within the framework of the same forum, I suggested creating the Academy of Cross-Border Cooperation, so that the Academy would teach our public men and Russian public men precisely border diplomacy, what to focus on when implementing certain projects is the main goal. And the second main goal is to introduce our NGO workers and Russian NGO workers so that we know each other better, know how their NGO works, know how our NGO works. And the third goal is that when people graduate from this Academy, they come out with ready-made projects that can be submitted to donor organizations in both Russia and Kazakhstan.
- Do you already understand in what format the training will take place? Will it be online meetings or maybe offline intensives?
- In general, the idea is a mixed format, that is, to conduct online, so that a certain base of educational materials is accumulated there, the same projects that have already been implemented, so that an analysis of the positive or negative aspects of certain projects is made, which succeeded, failed. And, of course, for people to get to know each other. You can't do without face-to-face communication. It's one thing - we are now talking on Skype, another thing - when we can talk face-to-face over a cup of tea and discuss other issues that are not compressed in time and space.
- Maxim, what does the Eurasian Policy Institute information and analytical center, of which you are the head, do?
- The Eurasian Policy Institute was established in 2014 as an auxiliary structure of the Lad movement in order to transfer all Eurasian topics to this structure. Now we are making it more independent. We implement a number of projects only on the basis of the Eurasian Policy Institute, and a number of projects only on the basis of Lada. First of all, we were engaged in expert and analytical activities, that is, it was the preparation of certain materials that reflected our opinion on certain processes taking place in the Eurasian Union, certain processes taking place around the Eurasian Union, and offered our own solutions. We have also gone, as it is now fashionable to say, into paradiplomacy. Again, this is cross-border cooperation, and we are transferring all this to the Eurasian Policy Institute.
- Maxim, do young people in Kazakhstan now actively speak Russian?
- The question is multifaceted. According to the legislation of the modern Republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian language has the status of officially consumed on a par with the state language, that is, such a complex status. Suppose we have a law on the International Financial Center, which says that the official language of this center is English, that is, in short: “the official language”. And it explains what it is. This is the main language of office work, legal proceedings and rule-making in a certain territory. The Russian language has received a very difficult status. It can be said that this is the know-how of Kazakhstan, that is, there is no such status in other countries. Of course, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a reduction in the hours of teaching the Russian language. If, by Russian standards, it roughly retained the same number, then the teaching of the Russian language in Kazakhstan was reduced by about half compared to what it was in the Soviet Union.
Three years ago, we announced that an educational reform would take place specifically in secondary schools and English would be introduced. As a result, it should turn out that such subjects as physics, chemistry, biology are taught in English. The only thing left for the Russian language is the Russian language itself, world history and world literature. Everything else is taught in Kazakh. It seems to me that with this approach, knowledge of the Russian language will, of course, decrease, because, firstly, it will be very difficult for a child to change from one language to another. Let's say mathematics will be taught in Kazakh, and physics in English. It will be difficult in linguistic thinking to change from one language to another. So it's a bit of a concern for us.
Now they say that the percentage of Russians leaving Kazakhstan for Russia has increased, and many say that they are not worried about some kind of nationalism, but what will happen to the Russian language and the education system, it is the reform that worries, which is not clear whether it will be implemented or not ... During the pandemic, this issue has froze in our country so far.