Настоящий материал (информация) произведен и (или) распространен иностранным агентом Сахаровский центр либо касается деятельности иностранного агента Сахаровский центр. 18+

May 24–25, 2021 (Monday–Tuesday)

ALARM AND HOPE. 21st CENTURY International Conference

On May 24 and 25, the Sakharov Center holds an international online conference dedicated to the centenary of Andrei Sakharov.
In 1975, in his Nobel Lecture, Sakharov proclaimed that sustainable peace, progress and human rights are inseparable and none of these goals can be achieved while neglecting others. How do the processes in the 21st century world look through the prism of Sakharov's triad, specifically in Russia where all three of its elements are questioned?
Public and political figures, scientists, diplomats and journalists will talk about this for two days.
  • Svetlana Alexievich
    Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Alexander Auzan
    Dean, Department of Economics, Moscow State University; Chairman, Public Council of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
  • Francis Fukuyama
    Philosopher, political scientist; Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University
  • Dunja Mijatović
    The current Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Mamphela Ramphele
    Co-president, the Club of Rome; co-founder, ReimagineSA
  • Victor Vasiliev
    Member of the Russian Academy of Science; President, Moscow Mathematical Society
Time of events is indicated in Moscow time zone (GMT+3)
Day 1, May 24
11:00 a.m.
Video. "Sakharov talks about happiness in the first paragraph"
Vyacheslav Bakhmin, Valentin Gefter, Sergei Lukashevsky about Sakharov as a human rights activist
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Plenary session
Moderator: Anna Nemzer, Journalist, writer (Russia).
  • Svetlana Alexievich, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (Belarus).
  • Vyacheslav Bakhmin, Chairman of the Management Committee of the Sakharov Center (Russia).
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the USSR (1990-1991) (Russia).
  • Sergei Kovalev, Soviet dissident, first Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation (Russia).
  • Sergei Lukashevskiy, Executive Director, the Sakharov Center (Russia).
  • Vladimir Lukin, Deputy Chair of the Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs (Russia).
  • Dunja Mijatović, the current Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (CoE).
  • Lev Ponomaryov, Executive Director of the all-Russia movement For Human Rights (Russia).
  • Yan Rachinskii, Chairman of the Board, Memorial International (Russia).
  • Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (Norway).
  • Natan Sharansky, Soviet dissident, Israeli politician (Israel).
  • Tatiana Yankelevich, Elena Bonner's daughter (USA).
2:00 p.m.
Video. "Sakharov's strength was in determination"
Vasily Zharkov, Elena Zhemkova, Yuliy Rybakov, Boris Grozovsky about Sakharov and Perestroika
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Is humanity capable of coping with the challenges of the present?
Moderator: Kirill Martynov, Editor of Political Department, Novaya Gazeta (Russia).
In the essay "Thoughts on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom," which established his reputation as a public intellectual, Andrei Sakharov wrote about the global challenges that humanity was facing—challenges that could threaten the very existence of human civilization and could only be countered by healing the divisions.

Although Sakharov's essay was published over half a century ago, the global challenges remain virtually unchanged: military confrontation (including nuclear), local conflicts, environmental degradation, inequality and poverty, suppression of freedoms, and propagation of hatred fueled by ideological myths and propaganda. While humanity has made progress on certain issues, some threats have become more prominent and attract more attention. In some areas we see signs of a looming crisis.

The global community has made a breakthrough in creating international institutions and collective arrangements, but it also appears to have lost faith in their efficacy. Nonetheless, following in the footsteps of Andrei Sakharov, we should continuously point out global challenges and check whether humanity is up to countering them.


  • Alexander Auzan, Dean, Department of Economics, Moscow State University; Chairman, Public Council of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation (Russia).
  • Mamphela Ramphele, Co-president, the Club of Rome; Co-founder, ReimagineSA (South Africa).
  • Mary Robinson, Founder, The Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997–2002); former President of Ireland (1990–1997) (Ireland).
5:00 p.m.
Video. "Sakharov liked the word "free-thinking"
Gennady Gorelik, Sergei Lukashevsky, Mikhail Nemtsev, Boris Grozovsky about Sakharov the philosopher
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Human rights in the 21st century: Is it possible to put human rights issues in the spotlight of international politics? Organized jointly with Human Rights Watch
Moderator: Tanya Lokshina, Associate Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, Human Rights Watch (Russia).
In his Nobel lecture, Andrei Sakharov put respect for human rights on par with achieving peace and progress (sustainable development). "Peace, progress, human rights—these three goals are insolubly linked to one another: it is impossible to achieve one of these goals if the other two are ignored."

Just as science in the 20th century united the physics of the infinite universe and that of elementary particles, Andrei Sakharov, a scientist and a social thinker, linked international security (the survival of humanity) with the protection of human rights and the fate of each particular prisoner of conscience. This idea shaped international politics in the 1980s and partially in the 1990s, when the world witnessed substantial progress toward resolving human rights issues.

Today it seems that the integrity of the Sakharov triad has been called into question again. The international community and mature democracies exhibit declining interest and diminished commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. Economic interests and realpolitik approaches cast human rights issues aside. Is it possible to bring human rights back into the focus of international politics? How would disrespecting one of the elements of Sakharov's triad affect the remaining two?


  • Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (2014-2020), co-Chair of the law school's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (USA).
  • Galina Arapova, Director and senior media lawyer of the Mass Media Defence Centre (Russia).
  • Yuri Dzhibladze, Member of the Coordination Committee of the International Civic Solidarity Platform (Russia).
  • Maina Kiai, Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (2011–2017); former Executive Director, International Council on Human Rights Policy (2010–2011), Director for Alliances and Partnerships, Human Rights Watch (USA).
  • Dunja Mijatović, the current Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (CoE).
  • Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch (USA).
      Day 2, May 25
      11:00 a.m.
      Video. "Sakharov was a man of the Renaissance"
      Boris Altshuler, Leonid Litinsky, Boris Stern about Sakharov the scientist
      12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
      Scientific freedom and the responsibility of scientists
      Moderator: Sergei Medvedev, historian, writer, professor at the Svobodnyi University (Russia).
      Andrei Sakharov was one of the last distinguished scientists to become a moral beacon on a global scale. Sadly, the public role of scientists has become much weaker in the modern world. Because of the modalities of the contemporary information space, scientists have to compete with torrents of "expert" opinion and blatantly fake news. That said, our civilization still needs quality expertise. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated this. Ethical issues as well have not become less pressing since Sakharov's times. Scientific and technological achievements are still used not only for the benefit of mankind but for strengthening autocratic regimes, escalating the arms race, or irresponsible wealth accumulation.

      Does the global scientific community have enough potential to insist on the ethical use of scientific achievements? Does the global scientific community exist as a social force today? How can scientists protect the public space from pseudoscientific information?


      • Leonid Margolis, Professor, Moscow State University; Section Head, National Institutes of Health (USA) (Russia).
      • Jens Reich, Professor; civil rights campaigner of the German Democratic Republic; member of the German Ethics Council (Germany).
      • Martin Rees, Cosmologist and astrophysicist; Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University; former President of the Royal Society (2005–2010) (UK).
      • Victor Vasiliev, Member of the Russian Academy of Science; President, Moscow Mathematical Society (Russia).
      2:00 p.m.
      Video. "Sakharov was never an anti-soviet critic, he was an anti-soviet adviser"
      Alexander Daniel, Gleb Morev, Boris Grozovsky about Sakharov the dissident
      3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      International relations: Principles and ways to solve local, regional, and global issues and conflicts. Organized jointly with the Kennan Institute
      Moderator: Alexander Baunov, Chief Editor, Carnegie.ru (Russia)
      Speeches by Andrei Sakharov in his role as a public intellectual were almost always related to international security. His texts are full of anxiety for the threat to humanity caused by the separation and opposition of countries and, simultaneously, of an unshakable belief in the possibility of organizing the world on the principles of responsibility, openness, and trust.

      In the last 50 years we saw one period full of optimism—from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. It seemed that all the barriers were falling, controversies were resolving, and humanity was on the verge of, if not "everlasting peace," then at least a system of relations in which an international community could, working together, solve even the most severe conflicts. But then the situation in the world began worsening year after year. Now some experts declare the start of a new binary rivalry (USA and China), while others speak about a return to multifaceted opposition in the spirit of the 19th century, welcomed by some in Russia as the "new normal" and called "international anarchy" in the West. Conflicts take new forms, called "hybrid wars," for want of a better term, and new spheres of opposition, such as cyberspace and new media in particular, add unexpected and unpredictable dimensions to this confrontation.

      What global challenges does humanity currently face in the security sphere? How large is the destructive capacity of conflicts in the modern world? Is the approach to international security, based on its interconnection with humanitarian problems and sustainable development, realistic?


      • Vladimir Lukin, Deputy Chair, Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs (Russia).
      • Jack F. Matlock, Former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987–1991) (USA).
      • Tatiana Parkhalina, President, Association for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation (Russia).
      • Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute (USA).
      • Angela Stent, Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, Georgetown University (USA).
      5:00 p.m.
      Video. "Sakharov could become the first president of the new Russia"
      Tatiana Vorozheikina, Nikolay Kononov, Boris Grozovsky about Sakharov the politician
      6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
      The country and the world: Russia in the 21st century. What global trends are being built up by Russia, and what global processes are influencing Russia's development?
      Moderator: Mikhail Fishman, Journalist, TV anchor (Russia).
      Russia's recent history has turned out to be dramatic. The hopes on the part of Russian society that wanted to see the country liberal and democratic have not been fulfilled. Lists of political prisoners are still compiled, just as in Soviet times.

      Directly or indirectly, Russia has been involved in many military conflicts for the last 30 years. But experts have different opinions about the historical conceptualization of current events. Some define the developments as the archaization and simplification of politics and economics, while others assess the Russian regime almost as a pioneer of up-and-coming global trends — populism, illiberalism, and autocracy. Some note signs of the onset of a new "digital" totalitarianism, while others see features of authoritarian stagnancy and intensifying entropy.

      Although Russia today exerts much less influence on global processes than in the times of the USSR, it is still enough not to be ignored. Russian authorities strive to strengthen it.

      What trends defining the future of the world are shaped by Russia and what trends, on the other hand, are influencing its development?


      • Rüdiger von Fritsch, Former German Ambassador to Russia (2014–2019) (Germany).
      • Francis Fukuyama, Philosopher, political scientist; Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University (USA).
      • Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Center for Liberal Strategies; Fellow, Institute of Human Sciences (Bulgaria).
      • Sergey Parkhomenko, journalist; Senior Advisor, The Kennan Institute (Russia).
      • Kirill Rogov, Vice-President, Liberal Mission Foundation (Russia).
      • Tatiana Vorozheikina, Political scientist, expert on development and democratization problems in Latin America and Russia, Lecturer at the Svobodnyi University (Russia).
      8:45 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.
      Conference wrap-up
      Moderator: Boris Grozovsky, columnist.
      • Alexander Baunov, Chief Editor, Carnegie.ru (Russia).
      • Tatiana Lokshina, Program Director for Russia and Central Asia, Human Rights Watch (Russia).
      • Sergei Lukashevskiy, Executive Director, the Sakharov Center (Russia).
      • Kirill Martynov, Editor of Political Department, Novaya Gazeta (Russia).
      • Alexey Semyonov, President, Andrei Sakharov Foundation (Russia).
      • Mikhail Fishman, Journalist, TV anchor (Russia).
      • Sergei Medvedev, historian, writer, professor at the Svobodnyi University (Russia).
      We will send you the link one hour before the start of the first session on May 24th, it will be valid both days. Please note that the viewing link is individual and will only work on one device. If you would like to invite someone else to the conference, please send them a link to this page.
      The Sakharov Center is listed by the Ministry of Justice in the register provided for in paragraph 10 of Art. 13.1 Federal Law "On NGOs"