At a press conference in Trakai following the annual Russian opposition forum, Lithuanian commentators shared their insights into the results of this year's discussions. The annual forum invites Russian intellectuals, public figures, journalists and other individuals to discuss Russia's situation, its future and its relationship with the West.
Leonidas Donskis, Linas Linkevičius and Tomas Venclova
© DELFI

“A year ago, Boris Nemtsov was murdered in Moscow, so this meeting had a certain flavour... We honoured his memory. The Russian forum is not some sort of conference, it's an informal communication event,” said Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius.

“Russia's future is in Europe,” emphasized Linkevičius. “Of course, we don't intend to meddle with the country's domestic life, but we have our position.”

Tomas Venclova, a Lithuanian professor of Russian literature at Yale University, said that “Vilnius, and Gediminas' tower, is again becoming one of Europe's greatest political symbols.”

“Two positions are currently clashing: one is that Putin is winning and that the West is giving up and signing Munich agreements – this position works in Putin's favour. We must work with Russia, but not with Putin. There are more democrats in Russia now than there were in the Soviet times,” added Venclova.

Lithuanian philosopher Leonidas Donskis said that the forum is important because “we are becoming a sort of idea laboratory and are repaying a symbolic debt to Russia's democrats.”

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