RUSSIAN PARTY DIPLOMACY - 2.0
The topic of this publication is inspired by the preparations for the October (2020) international inter-party forum "SCO +". Its holding within the framework of the Russian chairmanship in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was initiated by the political party "United Russia". By the way, over the 20 years of the SCO's existence, it has not yet had either a party or even a parliamentary dimension (unlike, for example, the BRICS, where the Russian Federation is also now the chairman country). What is this - the "party dimension" and the term "party diplomacy" closely related to it, when did they arise, what are they for? I often hear similar questions from those who did not have time to enter adulthood before the collapse of the USSR, and if they did, they did not immerse themselves too much in world politics. Meanwhile, it was the Soviet Union, or rather the Communist Party (even more precisely its Central Committee) ruling in it, which permanently established party diplomacy in the 20th century. to unprecedented heights. The author is not one of those who fanatically praise the Soviet era or categorically scold everything that the Central Committee of the CPSU has had a hand in. Real life is always more complex and fuller than our ideas about it, especially any propaganda clichés. Wise is the one who absorbs the best from past experience and does not repeat other people's mistakes. Whatever it was, but it was the community of communist and workers' parties created by the CPSU Central Committee that was the largest such association of all times and peoples. The congresses of the CPSU adopted decisions of a global nature, which were then carried out through the International Department of the Central Committee. By the way, the 24th Congress of the CPSU (1971) adopted the "Peace Program". There, in particular, it was proposed in the next five years "to ensure the convocation and success" of the all-European conference on security and cooperation in Europe and "to eliminate military centers in Southeast Asia." Four years later, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (which became the basis of the OSCE) was signed in Helsinki, and the United States ended the many years of bloody war with Vietnam and its neighbors ... Seeing the effectiveness of Soviet party diplomacy, many countries actively used its experience, techniques and methods. It is not only China or Vietnam that still do not abandon their communist ideology. In the European Union, for example, the leading role is played by the union of the center-right parties called the European People's Party. It was founded five years after the CPSU adopted the "Peace Program" and a year after the Moscow meeting of the secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist and workers' parties of the socialist countries. Now representatives of the European “populists” are in key positions in the EU Council, European Commission and European Parliament. In addition, the work of a number of inter-parliamentary organizations, such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), is based on the party affiliation. There are influential inter-party groupings inside the main parliamentary association of the world - the Inter-Parliamentary Union. With the collapse of the USSR and the CPSU in Russia, it was not customary for ten years to talk about party diplomacy and inter-party ties, although some political parties of the Russian Federation in the 1990s communicated with some of their foreign colleagues. Much has changed in this area with the emergence of United Russia at the turn of the century. Literally shortly after its registration in December 2001, the party, in which the author has the honor to be a member, in addition to solving the most pressing internal political issues, found the strength and means (then very modest, to be honest) to establish a professional and direct dialogue with its potential partners on all continents ... Until 2012, this work was successfully headed by K. Kosachev, now the head of the Committee on International Affairs of the Federation Council, and then - the chairman of the CMD in the State Duma and the Deputy Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia. During that period, we were developing contacts with the most representative parties and their associations in the world. At the same time, the ideological spectrum of our partners was already wide then: from relations with the ruling parties of communist China and capitalist Japan to direct, working and close contacts with the leadership of the aforementioned European People's Party. In particular, the author of these lines was a co-coordinator of the EP-EPP working group. Looking ahead, I will say that even after the well-known Ukrainian events of 2014 and the subsequent sanctions and propaganda war between the West and Russia, we retained (and continue to retain) direct party ties with most EU countries, and in some countries (Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Germany, France, etc.), such ties are maintained with almost all key parliamentary parties. During that period, we were developing contacts with the most representative parties and their associations in the world. At the same time, the ideological spectrum of our partners was already wide then: from relations with the ruling parties of communist China and capitalist Japan to direct, working and close contacts with the leadership of the aforementioned European People's Party. In particular, the author of these lines was a co-coordinator of the EP-EPP working group. Looking ahead, I will say that even after the well-known Ukrainian events of 2014 and the subsequent sanctions and propaganda war between the West and Russia, we retained (and continue to retain) direct party ties with most EU countries, and in some countries (Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Germany, France, etc.), such ties are maintained with almost all key parliamentary parties. By 2019, United Russia took an important position in the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), having received a seat in the Bureau of the Standing Committee of this authoritative association of more than three hundred parties from Asia and Oceania. This happened after our party successfully held the 10th ICAPP Assembly in Moscow in October 2018, which became the largest in the twenty-year history of this international organization. At the same time in Moscow, the MKAPP agreed on an alliance with similar inter-party structures in Africa and Latin America. On the sidelines of the jubilee assembly, a unique informal meeting of the delegations of the ruling parties from the northern and southern parts of the Korean Peninsula took place. The final documents of the Moscow Assembly unanimously supported the call to all parties and governments to prevent interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. In 2020, the International Commission of the United Russia (despite the coronavirus pandemic) actively continued inter-party interaction with the help of modern information and computer technologies. In particular, high-level videoconferences took place: traditional Russian-Chinese dialogue (its participants were greeted by President V. Putin and Chairman Xi Jinping); a global round table chaired by the chairman of the United Russia D. Medvedev on the problems of combating COVID-19 and its consequences; negotiations with the leadership of the parties of the parliamentary majority of Brazil and the Republic of Korea, many CIS countries; a conference of the heads of international commissions of African parties to create a kind of inter-party club of friends of Russia; absentee meeting of supporters of the United Russia party from among the citizens of the Russian Federation abroad from Australia and Chile to the USA and Canada. The largest event in international party life is undoubtedly the SCO + forum - "Economy for People", with the mention of which the author began this publication. "SCO +" will not only be the first step towards creating the party dimension of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but also the first such large-scale event in the history of international party ties held on the Internet. For this purpose, a specialized multilingual digital platform has been developed in the Russian Federation, on which the official site of the SCO + (www.iiip.online) is located. A continuous broadcast of the main events of the October Forum will also be organized here. In the future, the platform will be used to support a wide variety of international cross-party formats (from bilateral negotiations to virtual exhibitions and global conferences). In particular, taking into account the October experience, there are already plans to hold similar events in the first half of 2021 with the countries of Africa and Latin America. Another important event awaits the SCO + participants - a group of international experts formed on an inter-party basis will begin work on its platform, who will discuss and give recommendations on the most pressing and important issues that are on the agenda of almost all countries and peoples. Among them are strengthening peace and security, humanitarian cooperation, preventing outside interference in the sovereign affairs of states, the struggle to preserve the environment, ensuring sustainable socio-economic development in the interests of everyone, preventing the development of dangerous infectious diseases, using digital technologies for the benefit of people and etc. I hope that the above already allows us to agree with the author that party diplomacy is a necessary and useful business, and that in our country it again takes its rightful place, helping to strengthen the security of the Russian Federation and provide conditions for the growth of the well-being of the multinational Russian people.
KLIMOV ANDREY Chairman of the International Commission General Council Presidium United Russia October 7, 2020