17 March 2022
European Seniors Union (ESU) conference took place online. It was dedicated to the security threats, connecting with Russian invesion to Ukraine, and how the people in Eastern European countries perceive them and what can be done to ensure security on the continent. Participants attempted to understand the situation between Russia and Ukraine with the help of three speakers. After the presentations participants asked questions to the speakers.
▪ Mr. Steven van Hecke, Professor Comparative and EU Politics at KU Leuven
▪ Mrs. Elisabeth Bauer (KAS), Head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation office for the Baltic States
▪ Mr. Tom Vandenkendelaere (MEP), Chairman of the EP Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Hovsep Khurshudyan, “Free Citizen” CISC chairman was invited to the Conference as a member of Armenian “Union of the Senior Generation” NGO.
Here is his short speech:
First off all I would like to thank ESU executive committee and personally ESU President An Hermans, for inviting me to participate in this respectable and very important Conference.
One of our colleagues rase the question on how the European Union can stop the war and the suffering of the Ukrainian people. I want to inform you that the sanctions imposed on Russia are already showing results: over 50,000 people have emigrated from Russia to Armenia in the last two weeks. Because of sanctions and the West’s consolidated rebuff to Russian aggression in Ukraine, many Russians are already wondering how legitimate and just the war unleashed by the Kremlin against Ukraine is. They start looking for new more objective sources of information. And the more sanctions, the more they will hit the well-being of the Russians, the more likely it is that the attitude of Russian citizens towards this war will change.
As we know, it is the authoritarian regimes that unleash wars – primarily in order to maintain power in their homeland. I think that the West’s position in 2014 was not tough enough towards Putin, who started the war against Ukraine in the Donbass. The same, the West had insufficiently tough stance towards Aliyev and Erdogan, who, in agreement with Putin, started a war against democratic Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in 2020-2021. This unpunished war let Russia and Azerbaijan to occupy the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and some border territories of the Republic of Armenia. All this led Putin to the idea that the international political and legal system has already changed, the world order has changed and that it is already possible to resolve issues from the position of brute military force and to start create new world order, build on the blood, injustice, the right of the strongest.
I think that the EU should be more consistent in the UN in preventing the methodology of solving international problems by military means. And for this, it seems to me, more stringent rules, more severe punishment should be established for those parties that start wars. Also, a more intolerant attitude towards autocratic regimes, and even more so towards dictatorships, should, I suppose, become the main priority of the West and, particularly, EU.
The Conference was organised by the ESU executive committee.
Here is the Conference Program.
* The European Seniors’ Union (ESU) is the largest political seniors’ organisation in Europe, member association of the European People’s Party (EPP) and is represented in 27 states with 34 organisations and about 1.269.000 members..
** The Union of Senior Generation was admitted to the European Seniors’ Union of the in 2017 as an observer member.