Europe's Russian-speaking diaspora moves to assert itself

Europe's Russian-speaking diaspora, which is scattered all over regional countries and cities, is now moving to assert itself. A conference entitled "Europe's Russian-Speaking Diaspora: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" was organized in London November 22 and co-sponsored by RIA-NOVOSTI, which provided media coverage. The conference involved about 250 delegates from 16 countries.

Right now, more than 8 million former Soviet citizens live in Europe (minus the Baltics). The break-down is as follows -- 5 million in Germany and over 1 million in Greece. An overwhelming majority of these people are still attached to their common historical roots, culture, traditions and the Russian language. However, as distinct from other large ethnic diasporas, i.e. Chinese, Indian, Jewish and Greek diasporas, all these millions of our compatriots were, until now, left to their own devices.

I'm deeply convinced that the Russian-speaking diaspora will become an inalienable part of the European community, while retaining its linguistic and historical ties with Russia, Prince Michael of Kent, who is a member of the British royal family, stressed in his salutatory address.

The Russian House International charity foundation, which is registered on British territory, and the Eastern European Media Group undertake to merge the Russian-speaking diaspora into one single whole. Plans are in place to establish an association, to formalize its legal status and to name it accordingly. The afore-said two entities believe that the projected association should mostly help the Russian-speaking population in European countries to defend its rights and interests, to preserve and expand mutual contacts and those with Russia, as well as their linguistic and cultural heritage.

The social-security commission, the financial-aid commission, the culture-and-education commission, the public-relations commission, the commission for ties with the historic homeland and the commission for liaison with European structures, which were established at the conference, are to analyze incoming grass-roots proposals, subsequently using them to draft a founding declaration and constituent documents.

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