TV bridge that will connect Russia and Ukraine: the power of public diplomacy & nbsp

The space bridge between Russia and Ukraine will nevertheless take place at the appointed time, on July 12 at 18:00, but in a different format.
On July 7, Dmitry Kiselyov announced on the air of the program “News of the Week” that the Russia-1 and NewsOne TV channels would hold a direct teleconference called “We Need to Talk” with the participation of residents of two countries.

We wanted the best, but it turned out as always
This initiative has very much pleased many people – at last people who do not want hostility will be able to communicate. Many, but not nationalists. The leader of the National Corps Party, Andrei Biletsky, issued an ultimatum to the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, a day in order to respond to the news about the planned event.
“The answer must be adequate. The leader of a state that is in a state of war. Not a clown, not an artist from oligarchic corporate parties, but a president, ”stressed Biletsky.
The young and politically inexperienced head of state did not risk, and on the afternoon of July 8, a video message to compatriots appeared on the page of the Office of the President of Ukraine, in which he said that the goal of the teleconference was to divide Ukrainians into two camps on the eve of elections, and urged citizens not to give in to provocations.

“And now I want to appeal to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. Need to talk? It is necessary. Let's discuss whose Crimea and who is not there in the Donbas. I propose to talk to the company about the following: I, you, US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron. Place: I think Alexander Lukashenko will be happy to receive us in Minsk. We do not change or refuse any diplomatic formats. We suggest to talk. After all, we must talk, right? ”Zelensky declared in Russian.
Soon, NewsOne announced that it was refusing to hold a teleconference with the Russian side, because threats had begun to be received against its employees and their families. But the story is not over. On July 9, the National Council of Ukraine for Television and Radio Broadcasting appointed an extraordinary inspection of the channel, and the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko announced the opening of a case on suspicion of financing terrorism, allegedly linked to Promsvyazbank, which serves the defense order of the Russian Federation. Taras Kozak made a statement that he is the sole owner of the channel, and the information of the GPU is a cynical lie. NewsOne employees received subpoenas for interrogations at the GPU and SBU.

Against this hysteria in Ukraine, on July 10, members of the Opposition Platform For Life Party, Viktor Medvedchuk, Yury Boyko, Vadim Rabinovich and Taras Kozak, flew to Moscow for talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
“I think NewsOne did the right thing when it canceled the teleconference. This is a real threat to the lives of journalists, not a single political program is worth living. And they did the right thing to get away from this conflict. But in reality it was a real hysteric of the rest of the outgoing power, representatives of the new government, nationalists. Because at any cost, they want to slow down the normalization of relations with the Russian Federation and stop the military conflict. This is parasitic warfare, it continues and continues at its worst when freedom of speech is prohibited and stifled, ”Boyko said.

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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with the delegation of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform for Life
On July 11, one of the journalists of the channel handed a letter from the team to Vladimir Zelensky during his joint briefing with Moldovan Prime Minister Maya Sandu in Kiev. In addition, in connection with continuing pressure, the staff turned to the international community – human rights organizations, European Council President Donald Tusk, head of the UN monitoring mission on human rights in Ukraine, Fiona Fraser, PACE chairman Lilian Mori Pasquier, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al- Hussein and others. They stressed that they are demanding that the Ukrainian authorities immediately cease harassment and pressure, and also demands compliance with the laws of the country.
New format teleconference
VGTRK reacted with understanding to the decision of the Ukrainian colleagues, realizing the complexity of the situation, and invited participants from Ukraine to come to the Moscow studio "Russia-1".
The press service of the company announced that on July 12 at 18:00 a non-political teleconference “I have to talk” will be on the air, its hosts will be Andrei Malakhov and Maria Sittel. To the conversation invited athletes, cultural figures, science and art.
“All participants from the Ukrainian side will go on the air via Skype. Important participants will be Russian-Ukrainian families who have not stopped communicating with relatives, or, conversely, those whom the difficult political situation has divided, ”the report says.

Unfortunately, the war in the Donbas and the transition of the Crimea to the Russian Federation based on the results of the plebiscite, which was held in accordance with the norms of international law, quarreled many families and friends. And others would give everything in a minute to communicate with their relatives, but they cannot contact them.
Today's meetings (if you can call it that) of relatives who have lost each other, live – this is not new. This format has been successfully used for a long time by the program “Wait for me”, which is aired on Russian and Ukrainian television. In 2008, the Inter channel launched satellite TV bridges with various countries, including Russia. Thanks to this, the heroes of the program received the opportunity to see themselves through the screen or directly in the studio. Such meetings are always very emotional, even viewers who see these people for the first time cannot hold back their tears.
In addition, there is a successful experience of communication between the residents of countries divided by the Iron Curtain – teleconferences between the USSR and the USA in the 1980s. The idea of ​​conducting communication sessions in this format came to mind the organizers of the rock festival “We” of 1982 in the city of San Bernardino, sponsored by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak, they decided to try to establish a connection between the huge screen on which the audience watched the performance artists in the States, and screen somewhere in the other end of the world. Satellite equipment came to the aid of the American company NBC, which remained in the USSR after the Olympic Games were covered in 1980. It took only 3 days to organize the event, which the Soviet side was occupied by screenwriter Joseph Goldin and director Julius Gusman. The first teleconference "Moscow – Cosmos – California", which was not shown on television, was attended by singers of the USSR and the USA.
Teleconference "Moscow – California" in 1983 was dedicated to the festival of films for children, in particular, they invited the animator Fyodor Khitruk, who donated to the Soviet boys and girls Winnie the Pooh and Boniface.
In 1985, two teleconferences took place: “Moscow – San Diego”, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War (with the participation of the director Sergei Bondarchuk, actor Mikhail Nozhkin, Soviet and American veterans); and the teleconference between Leningrad and Seattle "Meeting at the height of ordinary citizens", which first raised political issues – shot down on September 1, 1983 in the airspace of the USSR, South Korean aircraft, the war in Afghanistan, the internal political situation in the Soviet Union, the reference of human rights activist Andrei Sakharov, the situation Jews in the USSR, closed borders, freedom of speech and human rights. TV viewers saw the second teleconference, led by journalists Vladimir Pozner and Phil Donahue, were recorded only 3 months later, on February 19, 1986, if in the USSR the audience of the 2-hour broadcast was about 180 million people, in the States the shortened version to 40 minutes was watched about 8 million
The teleconference "Women Speak to Women" between Leningrad and Boston on July 7, 1986 presented a catch phrase that they still remember. The American said that in the United States everything in television advertising revolves around sex, and asked if there is such a problem in the Soviet Union, to which a woman on the other side of the screen replied, "We have no sex, and we are totally against it." In the hall, she was immediately objected that there was sex – there was no such advertisement.
The 1987 Moscow-San Francisco tele-bridge talked about the role of the media, and in 1989 the inclusion took place between Moscow State University. MV University and Tufta University (Massachusetts), but without Posner and Donahue.

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Non-political policy
This stormy reaction in Ukraine was caused by the news of a tele-bridge between ordinary citizens, an absolutely non-politicized event, although it is the methods of public diplomacy that are able, step by step, to improve relations between countries when direct negotiations of the authorities are impossible.
For example, the United States, which broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980, are implementing public diplomacy projects in the Islamic republic, for example, between the teams of the two countries, a match was held between Iranian and American wrestling athletes.
Despite the political contradictions of Moscow and Kiev, which could not be overcome for more than 5 years, relations between countries in other spheres, although not to the same extent as before, have survived. In the spring of 2018, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine refused to pay members of the national team a trip to competitions in Russia. Not all federations can boast of good funding (after the Olympics in Pyeongchan, sleeper Andrei Mandziy said that the sleds on which he performs he makes himself in the garage, because nobody supplies him with the Sports Federation of Ukraine), but some athletes at their own expense come to tournaments. If some trips provoke scandals, others go quietly and almost unnoticed, such as the participation of Olympic fencing champion Olga Harlan in Moscow Sable-2019, last year the Ukrainian team missed this start.
It is difficult to say whether the story with the space bridge influenced, but it was against its background that an important political event occurred – the first dialogue between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian colleague Vladimir Zelensky. During a telephone conversation that took place on the evening of July 11 at the initiative of Kiev, the leaders discussed the conflict in the Donbas, work in the “Norman format” and joint efforts to return the persons held.
Although this conversation, as specified by the press secretary of the Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, was of an introductory nature, the situation has shifted from the dead point. In this sense, teleconference fulfilled its mission – it facilitated the negotiations of politicians. Who knows, maybe in the near future the interaction of Russia and Ukraine will reach a new level.

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Chief editor of the blogErika J. Wells .

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