Denis Kravchenko: “Youth Wing” Can Play a Consolidation Role in SCO”
17.02.2009 09:18

Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, Vice-Chairman of the Committee of the Presidium of United Russia’s Supreme Council for Youth Policy Denis Kravchenko answers questions of the Editor-in-Chief of InfoSCO Tatiana Sinitsyna.

- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is going to acquire a youth wing. Legally, a new structure will be formalized as early as May, on the threshold of SCO Summit in Yekaterinburg. How do you assess the fact of this new structure creation as a statesman, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, Vice-Chairman of the Committee of the Presidium of United Russia’s Supreme Council for Youth Policy?

D.K. – As a professional engaged in youth policy, I welcome such a vector of SCO development – so long as it is youth cooperation of our states along with cultural and humanitarian relationships that guarantees further consolidation of mutual understanding and mutual respect among all of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization members. I am confident that just as in case with “Youth G8”, the new SCO body will be able to make its contribution to the organization agenda filling up with new ideas and approaches to resolving tasks before us.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization in spite of its rather young age has already become one of the most significant regional institutions for stability and security assurance in Asian-Pacific Region. Herewith it would be mistaken to consider SCO as a military-political organization aimed to counteract other states’ policies in the region. It is also unjustified to reduce the SCO functions only to counter-terrorism, separatism and extremism and struggle against drug menace and transboundary crime on the territory of member states, though there is no denying a paramount contribution of SCO to resolving these highly topical problems. First of all SCO is a multilevel comprehensive mechanism of the states cooperation in the region, unique in world practice, which is confirmed by the facts such as new coordination and integration structures formation within the framework of the organization. They are SCO Business Council and SCO Interbank Association and Energy club. Formation of a youth cooperation tool within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in full corresponds to both natural logic of the organization development, and principles of its operation – to the “Shanghai Spirit” of dialogue between its participants.

- To enrich SCO with a youth component is a Russian idea expressed by Vladimir Putin in 2006 at the Shanghai SCO Summit. But its “vegetative period” turned out rather long, apparently because not all SCO leaders identically consider appearance of this new trait in the Organization’s counters. In the meantime, one of the SCO principles is consensus. What do you think, will diverse attitude to the new SCO youth structure affect its formation and development?

D.K. – I beg to differ: in principle, attitude to the new youth structure is definitely positive, except somebody has some question or another. I am sure that youth activity will be able in a relatively short time to convince all the organization member states of the new structure’s utility and efficiency. SCO membership, as is known, is based not on hard principles of block discipline, but on the member states’ understanding the solidarity in ways of national development, need for coordination of efforts in answering challenges and dangers of new age and interest in consolidation of good-neighborly relations with other SCO partners. Therewith each state determines itself forms and parameters of its participation in the SCO various projects and structures. Precisely this “soft” variant of consensus based on principles of many-level and variable-speed cooperation enables to ensure adequate flexibility promoting effective implementation of our tasks. It is also true for SCO Youth Association activity. Its institutional arrangement itself is not chosen by accident – it offers participants a wide range of choice of cooperation variants.

- What concrete and new can the “young force" add to the Organization’s work? What field of activity do you see for young SCO members and in what areas can it be the most effective? Please underline priorities.

D.K. – The SCO youth component will no doubt give an opportunity to broaden the palette of ideas and opinions available in SCO, permit to take a different view of the tasks before us and their solutions – in this regard the field of the young politicians’ activity in SCO is indeed unlimited. Among priorities the following can be singled out: exchange of young politicians’ delegations and the SCO member states businessmen, holding roundtables on current questions of the organization development, holding international summer camp-rallies in border areas of the member states, exchanges of young scientists and managers, joint support of small-scale youth business. All these areas will require from the Association a closest cooperation with other structures within the framework of SCO – that is why the “youth wing” will be also able to play a consolidation role in SCO.

- Is it possible to consider the SCO youth organization as a certain source of emissaries that will promote SCO’s idea of mutual understanding, respect, benefit, and co-development in the future?

D.K. – Yes, of course. Just a generation of young SCO politicians has to ensure continuity and creative development of SCO’s philosophy. SCO Youth Association integration with the SCO common framework will allow ensuring such continuity.

- Today SCO is engrossed with implementation of nonsimple idea of its University creation, of which a model is being already constructed. How rational is this idea from Your point of view?

D.K. – With globalization processes intensification, transnational tendencies, including manpower, financial and commodity flows’ mobility, are also growing in strength. Education sphere is no exception; an example of this is an actively developing Bolognese process. In spite of ambitiousness of this project, its implementation is quite well-timed and corresponds to the spirit of the age. An educational structure formation within the SCO framework will permit to adopt a single approach of the member states to educational standards, which also means to promote integration within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Besides, the SCO University could also become a peculiar “source of manpower” for the organization itself that with its development will need more and more highly skilled specialists not only professional and competent ones but also understanding regional specifics.

- You are engaged in youth politics as a professional, have got a certain experience in this field – scientific and practical one. What prime advice would You give SCO Youth Association as a newcomer and its young enthusiasts?

D.K. – The Youth Association formation, as I already said, is a certain landmark in SCO development, complex process requiring tireless attention on the part of its participants. In order that the Association’s work is full of real content, not just for the sake of appearance, consistent and laborious work is required – the new structure's agenda must be also connected with general agenda of SCO, national interests of all the member states, and priority areas of their national youth policy. Impressive youth initiatives often have very short life cycle exactly in view of absence of daily consistent efforts to achieve their realization. Nothing but youthful ardor is not enough, according to practice. It is not worth running away with numerous projects creation – it is better to concentrate work on several priority tasks and measures for their implementation. It is often a routine work that requires carefulness and does not always yield instant results. That is why we would most like if the scope of work within the “Youth SCO” is the most approximate to other already existing structures of this organization, professional and reasonable, and if definition “youth" relates only to age of its participants, but not to their proficiency or competence in resolving problems and tasks before them. To gain such authority is not easy – self-control and pursuit of knowledge will be needed. Concerning everything else– enthusiasm, creative potential, interest – the future SCO leaders already have it.