Senators, state and religious figures discuss strategies for preserving and promoting Russia’s cultural and spiritual heritage in the face of global challenges

The Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs held a roundtable discussion as part of the 12th Christmas Parliamentary Meetings.

Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin conducted a roundtable discussion on the subject “Russia’s role in the global humanitarian space. Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage.”

The event was attended by Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, senators of the Russian Federation, deputies of the State Duma and representatives of the Presidential Executive Office, representatives of the Russian Government and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, as well as religious and public figures.

As Konstantin Kosachev noted, Russia has a rightful claim to its crucial role in the global humanitarian space and in the promotion of its cultural and spiritual heritage.

“Russia showcases a unique model of coexistence of cultures, ethnicities and religions. This is a source of our exceptional strength,” the Senator emphasised.

He said that one of the missions of the legislative power is to safeguard this strength. In this context, he recalled the adoption of the Federal Law on the Non-Material Ethno-Cultural Assets of the Russian Federation, which was co-authored by the Federation Council Speaker.

“Attacks on our spiritual and cultural foundations are just as dangerous as attacks on the economy, borders and ethnic harmony within our country,” Konstantin Kosachev emphasised.

In his opinion, involving children and young people in the journey of spiritual self-discovery is a vital objective. In this context, the Deputy Speaker mentioned the Memory Train, a cultural and educational project initiated by the speakers of the upper chambers of the Russian and Belarusian parliaments.

Grigory Karasin noted that the battle for cultural influence is intensifying on the global stage. “We are witnessing how the importance of Russian culture is being diminished, and how the Russian World, its traditions and ideals are being discredited.”

“The dialogue between the state, society and representatives of various religions is a crucial component for ensuring peaceful coexistence of people of different religions, ethnicities and cultures,” the Senator said.

“The Russian Federation is one of the most active generators and supporters of important international initiatives aimed at fostering dialogue between religions and cultures. This commitment stems from our country’s centuries-long tradition of mutual respect and collaboration, which is rooted in our rich ethnocultural, linguistic and religious potential. It would be no exaggeration to say that our country is making a substantial contribution to the world’s humanitarian development,” said Grigory Karasin.

He believes the efforts to preserve a common cultural and humanitarian space within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) play important role in foreign policy activities. Joined efforts to preserve its cultural, historical and spiritual heritage are becoming increasingly important.

“It is through mutual respect between cultures and peoples that a foundation is established for lasting peace, security and sustainable development, both nationally and internationally,” Mr Karasin emphasised.

Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk noted that holding spiritual and educational events is an important contribution to promoting the spiritual and cultural heritage of our people. These events are held by foreign parishes in cooperation with the embassies and consular offices of the Russian Federation, Russian centres of science and culture and organisations of Russian compatriots.

Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi stressed the deep connection between Russian culture and Orthodoxy, as well as other traditional religions.

The Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), Yevgeny Primakov spoke about the values embedded in Russian culture.

During the roundtable discussion, religious and public figures and experts shared their perspectives. They examined the current challenges and goals of preserving and promoting cultural and spiritual heritage. The participants prepared a draft of recommendations based on the outcomes of the event.