Historical Responsibility

"Historical Responsibility." Volk auf dem Weg, July 2009, 13.
This translation from the original German-language text to American
English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Elena Bechtold (left) and Lilli Bischoff, with Dr. Christoph Bergner, at the
Session of the German-Russian Governmental Commission in Omsk.

15th Session of the German Russian Governmental Commission

Lilli Bischoff, Member of the National Board, and JSDR-Chair Elena Bechtold, in their capacity as official representatives of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland and of its youth association, were in attendance in Omsk on June 10th and 11th at the 15th Session of the German-Russian Governmental Commission for Matters of the German Russians within the Russian Federation.

The session took place under the direction of Maxim A. Travnikov, deputy minister of the Ministry for Regional Development of the Russian Federation, and of Dr. Christian Bergner, representative of the German Federal Government's Office for Aussiedler and National Minorities in Germany. 
This was the second time that the Landsmannschaft had participated in a session of the German-Russian Governmental Commission, which concerns itself with trans-border measures entirely commensurate with its mission, which, in addition to its responsibilities for German Russians in Germany, also mandates the care of Germans in the former Soviet Union.
In her presentation, Lilli Bischoff made statements in line with the full thematic menu of the session: "We consider the stimulation and extension of trans-border partnership work as a consequence of societal, political and democratic developments of recent years. The most important of these are as follows:  -- stabilization of the emigration process of Germans in Russia; -- improving basic political conditions and supporting partnership projects of both governments; -- strengthening democratic representation and the infrastructure of the organizations for German minorities within the Russian Federation."
For the future she announced further increase in the number of partnerships between substructures of the Landsmannschaft and German-Russian institutions within the Russian Federation.  In conclusion she stated: "The trans-border cooperation between these partnerships must become a significant and forward-looking factor of the dialog between the civil societies of both our countries. It depends on us whether we use the stated challenges to be hindrances or opportunities."
Assistance measures aimed at German minorities within the Russian Federation, as well as the forms of future engagement of both sides, were central topics of discussions. Both sides pursued the goal of striving to increase the number of mutual projects and to attain as much synergy as possible in support activities for German minorities.
Dr. Bergner emphasized the following points: "I confirm the position of the German side that it must continue  to be true to its responsibilities toward the German minorities, and that it must support these in the future, within the constraints of financial possibilities.
In order to strengthen the sustainability of assistance policies and to accommodate the demands of the current situation of the German minorities, future policies of assistance from the German side will be oriented principally toward supporting the members of the German minority in maintaining their cultural identity, their ability to act, and their own responsibilities within their state and their society, and thereby to give them the opportunity to strengthen contacts and cooperation between societies in Russia and in Germany."

Our appreciation is extended to ALex Herzog for translation of this article.

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