On 20-24 October, representatives of the Working Group “Historical Memory and Education” of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum (CSF) are gathering in Prague to analyse relation between historical memory and the political structure in Russia and the EU as well as to discuss establishment of platforms for collaboration on conflicting memories and historical education. The meeting – as the first stage of the project implementation within the Sub-grant Programme of the EU-Russia CSF – will take place in the premises of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague and is organised by the Czech NGO Antikomplex.
‘Recent crisis in Ukraine shows, among other things, that unresolved historical memories can backfire as new conflicts between neighbouring states. This needed to be discussed – along with further uncomfortable aspects in history,’ – says Kristina Smolijaninovaitė, Project Coordinator at the EU-Russia CSF and member of the Working Group.
From the EU NGO sector, such organisations as Antikomplex (Prague), German-Russian Exchange (Berlin), KARTA (Warsaw), Memorial Italy (Milan), and Society of German-Russian Relationship (Münster/Münsterland) will participate in the discussion.  Russia will be represented by NGOs Agency for Social Information (Moscow), Kostroma Civic Initiative Support (Kostroma), International Memorial (Moscow), and Youth Memorial (Perm).
‘Considering that Russia and some EU countries’ governments constrain the work of NGOs, international cooperation and networking opportunities in the field of historical memory and conflicting perceptions are endangered,’ adds Tereza Vávrová, Coordinator of the Working Group “Historical Memory and Education”. ‘We, as a group, are especially worried about the difficult situation of the NGO “Memorial Centre of History of Political Repression “Perm 36” and the Russian Historical, Educational, Charity and Human Rights Society “Memorial”. Hence, measures of support for those organisations are going to be another topic of this meeting.’
Besides, the meeting will include seminars on interpretation of the World War II in educational materials in Russia and various EU countries as well as presentations of national examples of conflicting memories, which are challenging to deal with among different communities and generations. A travelling exhibition for 2015, devoted to the topic of conflicting memories with a special focus on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, will be planned as the final result of this part of the Sub-grant Programme.
The meeting participants are available for interviews. The media briefing will take place on 23 October 2014, at 10:30 a.m.