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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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28 марта 2015

The 30th anniversary of Perestroika. Round Table “New Thinking and Conflicts of the 21st Century” (The Experience of Perestroika in Today’s World)


Round Table “New Thinking and Conflicts of the 21st Century” (The Experience of Perestroika in Today’s World) took place on 28 March 2015, as part of the 22nd International Symposium “The Paths of Russia”, co-organised by the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Academic Center (Intercentre), and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), with involvement of the Gorbachev Foundationа and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
Perestroika (1985–1991), a process of political transformations initiated in the second half of the 1980s in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, became a watershed event that changed the world in the late 20th Century. Perestroika introduced the concept of “new thinking”, which was based on the understanding of the danger posed by the growing risks associated with the confrontation between political systems, fraught with a global military conflict. The new vision of global processes combined with political will enabled exit from the dead end of confrontation and start of cooperation between the world’s two social systems.
The significance of new thinking is not limited by the boundaries of the historical period of late 1980s–early 1990s. New thinking was designed to focus on dialogue and cooperation between societies with different systems of values and political traditions. Communication between such societies is impeded or sometimes non-existent, which leads to higher risks of conflicts and confrontations.
Contrary to the initial expectations, the globalization did not lead to the universalization and unification of development. The “end of history” did not happen. A nuclear-free and non-violent world remained a distant dream. New dividing lines have emerged in the world instead of the old ones. Persistent gaps and differences between the Centre and the global Periphery led to the aggravation of old conflicts and the emergence of new, protracted conflicts that have a global, not just regional dimension and thus imperil the very existence of world civilisation.
The emergence of global mega-society also transforms cooperation between its constituent classes and social groups. New thinking in the 21st Century also calls for new tools and channels that would enable the implementation of the people power principle in the context of management becoming professional and global.
The Round Table put the following questions to discussion:
To what extent were wars and conflicts of the modern era a result of mistakes by political leaders and their reluctance/inability to leverage the legacy and experience of new thinking, and to what extent were they caused by new realities of the 21st Century?
Is a non-violent world possible when gaps between the Centre and the Periphery persist and grow?
In what forms the new thinking experience might be used for conflict resolution and trust-building as a key prerequisite of dialogue and cooperation?
Speakers at the Round Table included Viktor Kuvaldin (Moscow State University), Aleksandr Shumilin (Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences), Olga Malinova  (Moscow State Institute of International Relations), Mikhail Vinogradov (St. Petersburg Politics Foundation), Dmitry Petrov (journalist), Elena Romanenko (political scientist), Pavel Palazhchenko (The Gorbachev Foundation), Vasily Zharkov (The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences), Ivan Timofeev (The Russian International Affairs Council), Ilya Vasiliev (Israel’s Ministry of Information), Olga Zdravomyslova (The Gorbachev Foundation).
Co-organisers of the Round Table:
Andrey Ryabov (The Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), The Gorbachev Foundation) and Olga Zdravomyslova (The Gorbachev Foundation)
The Round Table was hosted by Andrey Ryabov (IMEMO RAS, The Gorbachev Foundation)



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This article has been publushed in Russian in Rossiya v globalnoy politike journal, #3. 2021. 11 June 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden will meet in Geneva on June 16. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev told Interfax special correspondent Vyacheslav Terekhov in an interview that the main task the two presidents will have to address is restoring strategic stability. 1 June 2021

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