Prospects for Russian-American cultural and business cooperation were discussed at the Fort Ross Dialogue – A Meeting in Russia international conference, which was held on 21–22 May in Veliky Novgorod with Transneft's support.
The conference was organized jointly by Transneft, Sovkomflot and Chevron Neftegaz Inc. It consisted of three sessions: cooperation between archives of Russia and the United States, cybersecurity and the global energy sector’s issues.
The event was attended by Alexey Volin, Vice Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation, Sarah Sweedler, Fort Ross Conservancy CEO, Nikolay Tokarev, President of Transneft , Andrew McGrahan, President of Chevron Neftegaz Inc., Nikolay Kolesnikov, First Deputy Director General of Sovcomflot, Andrey Nikitin, Governor of Novgorod Region, US Embassy representatives and prominent experts of the Russian and American cultural and business community.
On the first day of the conference, the participants discussed the possibilities of developing cooperation between museums and archives of Russia and the US and the role of scientific and cultural institutions in strengthening mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries. Speakers presented little-known aspects of Russian-American relations in the 18th–20th centuries showing the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two states. Particular attention was paid to the exchange of experience in the use of modern technologies in the archives and museums sector.
Addressing the conference participants, Nikolay Tokarev, President of Transneft, noted the growing interest in interaction in the Fort Ross Dialogue format from both the Russian and American sides. He stressed the importance of establishing contacts between Russian and American archives. "The public diplomacy of archivists is an important sign, especially now, when the situation on the global arena leaves a lot to be desired. As political and diplomatic tempests come and go, cultural ties keep developing."
The second day was devoted to cooperation between Russia and the United States on issues of cybersecurity and the global energy sector. The participants discussed risks for the energy sector and possible mechanisms to combat threats in this area as well as Russian and American views on the long-term trends in the development of the information and communications sphere.
Daniel Russell, President and CEO of US-Russia Business Council (USRBC) said that business relations between Russia and the United States in the oil and gas sector are strong today and they seem likely to remain so in the future. He believes that in other areas both countries should adhere to pragmatic views.
Georgy Borisenko, Director of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of North America, said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would continue to provide comprehensive assistance in arranging the Fort Ross Dialogue conference. "Russia remains open to cooperation with the United States in all areas and is not closing the window of opportunity," he said.
Earlier, at the 31st meeting of the Foreign Ministry's Council of Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation on 14 May 2018, Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, noted the importance of work that is done within annual meetings of representatives of both countries to preserve the Russian-American historical heritage, especially stressing the involvement of Russian regions in these efforts.
Fort Ross is a historical symbol of the relationship between Russia and the United States, testifying to more than a century and a half of cooperation between representatives of the Russian and American peoples in California. Since 2012, the Fort Ross Dialogue forum has been a platform for active interaction and the exchange of views between leading Russian and American diplomats, experts and representatives of cultural, academic and business societies. In May 2017, at Transneft's initiative, the Fort Ross Dialogue forum was held in Russia for the first time, hosted by Izborsk State Historical-Architectural, Landscape and Natural Museum-Preserve.