The International Youth Forum “For Mutual Understanding in the Caucasus” was held in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, The Russian Federation, on the 9-12 September. Forum brought together more than 80 young people from the different countries and organizations of Europe. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Serbia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Abkhaziya and federatives of the Russian Federation: Kabardino-Balkaria, Chechnya, Daghestan, Ingushetia, North Osetia and Garachay-Cherkez were presented countires and republics at this Forum.
The International Forum aims to support and re-affirm the role of youth policy and youth work, especially focusing on intercultural dialogue and youth active participation , in sustainable peace-building. Therefore the Forum will stress the role of youth organizations in promoting and transforming in reality the Council of Europe core values (democracy, human rights and rule of law) especially through youth activities based on non-formal education, building up on the achievements of the Kazan Action Plan and further contributing to its implementation.
I want to write not the officially about the forum, but unofficially what happened there. Firstly, let`s began from our trip. 5 of 6 participants of the Azerbaijan were travelled by bus from Baku to Nalchik. Everything was ok till the border of Azerbaijan and Russia. After we passed Azerbaijani border we had to wait at the Russian side. The passport control was just terrible. If you do not put 100 Russian rubl on your passport the controller says “your document is not correct”. After giving 100 rubl all mistakes in your documents become correct. In this time I could not imagine that the worst is waiting us. Our bus to shorten its way nearly 200 km changed its direction to the North Caucasus Republic. We were going to the forum called “FOR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING IN THE CAUCASUS” but we could not see any mutual understanding in the region. from 00:00 am to 06:00 pm our bus was stopped 6 time at the posts. It is normally that they check the bus but it is not normally when they come in the bus with rifle and demand our passport. After they collecting passports they wants money to give them back. The terrible side was that uniforms of these soldiers were not disciplined and all of they were drunk. When we travelling the European Union we are passing from country to country without any border, but it was terrible having borders inside one Federation. when we was at the post of Beslan, North Osetia, they demanded the official translation oh international passports. do you imagine, OFFICIAL translation of INTERNATIONAL passports. it was absurd, because when we enter to the Russian Federation the inspector of the Federation did not say that we need translation, but the drunk soldier in the post demands translation. after the terrible night finally we reached to Pyatigorsk and the took bus to Nalchik.
Nalchik – little, green and nice town. Nalchik was very similar with the cities of Azerbaijan but also has many differences. firstly, when I stayed nearly 5 days in Russia, I witnessed that there were many changes in Azerbaijan after the collapse of Soviet Union. In this days I felt myself as living in the 1980s, Soviet times. I am happy that Azerbaijan has changed. every policeman in the city was totally armed with rifle. You can not feel yourself secure when your walking in the town. The organisers from the Russian also asked us not to leave hotel after 10:00 pm for our security.
During the conversations with other participants I saw that there are many disinformation about the Azerbaijan. first of all, many of them imagined Azerbaijan as a totally religious country like Iran, as a part of Turkey, as a non-developed country like Africa and such things. Many of them thought that Azerbaijan is the aggressive part at the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan do not want peace in the Caucasus. And I am sure that the opinion of these participants changed after the conversation with us and they got the exact facts about our country.
I can surely say that Azerbaijan is the only country which is ready for MUTUAL understanding in the Caucasus. Azerbaijani people is more open minded than the population of other countries. Our people can respect other nations and can form an international society.
At the end I have a special thanks for our friends from Kabardino-Balkaria: Tanzilya Totrukova, Madina Kardanova, Amina Gendugova, Madina Ansokova and Karina. they helped Azerbaijani delegation to walk around the Nalchik, to enjoy from this town despite there was heavy rain. Dear friends, thanks for everything!