Why everyone who studies Russia should visit the Livadia Forum

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The first half of June is traditionally full of business and cultural events in Russia. One of the most interesting of these is the International Humanitarian Livadia Forum in Crimea, an annual event held within the “Great Russian Word” festival and dedicated to the International Russian Language Day. 

In 2019, the Forum turned out to be one of the key summer events of the “New Generation” program and, even though the event didn’t take place this year due to the pandemic, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. Here’s why everyone who studies Russia should consider visiting the next Livadia Forum.

Participants

The Forum aims to act as a professional social and political platform for monitoring and promoting the Russian language and culture abroad. It brings together prominent scholars in philology, experts in education, students, translators, university professors, school teachers, Russian and foreign public figures, policymakers and young leaders. In 2019, 44 delegates of the “New Generation” attended the event representing 18 countries, including the CIS and Baltic states, Egypt, Israel, FInland, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia.

Speakers and organizers

The Livadia Forum takes place since 2015 under the patronage of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Last year, it saw the presence of some of the top Russian officials: the Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, the Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Eleonora Mitrofanova, the Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev, and Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva. Held as part of the “Great Russian Word” festival, the Forum allows the delegates to not only take part in its plenary sessions and discussion platforms but also attend some of its international theater projects (like last year’s “Playing Pushkin in Russian” performance) and other cultural events. 

Seeing Crimea

The main part of the Forum takes place in one of the most picturesque places of Crimea: the resort city of Yalta and the nearby settlement of Livadia. In the end of 19th century, Yalta was a popular holiday destination for the country’s elite (including great writers like Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov) and remained so after the 1917 Revolution - the ruling elite and common people loved to vacation here. Joseph Stalin himself used the Massandra Palace as his summer residence.

The settlement of Livadia which gave the Forum its name is located 3 km away from Yalta and is famous primarily for its Livadia Palace. Built in 1911, it served as a summer residence for Nicholas II and his family, and a while later, in 1945, it hosted the famous Yalta Conference, a meeting of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin to discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe. Today, the palace is a museum, occasionally becoming a venue for international events, such as the Livadia Forum. 

Apart from the formal program, foreign guests get to see some of the main sights of Crimea, including the city of Sevastopol, the Museum of Submarines in Balaclava (located on the site of the declassified military facility 825 GTS) as well as the Vorontsov Palace in Alupka where Churchill stayed in 1945.

In short, the Livadia Forum offers a unique opportunity to not only attend a high-level international event but also expand one’s professional contacts and knowledge, deep dive into the history of Russia, and enjoy the beauty of Crimea in summer. 

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