09/18/2014, 00.00
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Moscow: congress of translators turns into an indictment of the Kremlin's war in Ukraine

A statement signed by more than 300 participants from all over the world protests against "hate propaganda that distorts reality and encourages people to violence" and digs "deep trenches" between two brotherly peoples.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Russian and foreign philologists and translators meeting for their Third International Congress in Moscow publicly slammed the Kremlin's policy on Ukraine and its "military action and propaganda."

The congress brought together 300 participants from 55 different countries around the world, including philologists, translators, literary agents and representatives of publishing houses.

Several Russian government representatives, like presidential envoy Mikhail Shvydkoi, attended the event's opening.

The former spoke of the special mission of the Russian language in the world, based on the idea promoted by the Kremlin - and supported by the Moscow Patriarchate - of a confederated Russian World (Mir Russki) whose basic reference is Kievan Rus', considered the cradle of modern Russia.

The statement by Konstantin Kosachev, head of RosSotrudnichestvo, the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation - who said that translators offer humanity "the possibility to stop attacking each other and start instead to listen to each other" - was coldly received by the public.

Only later, when the congress released its final statement, it became clear why. The declaration is a harsh indictment of the policies of Russia in the Ukrainian crisis.

"We express a strong protest against the policies of the Russian government, against the military invasion of Ukraine, against the hate propaganda that distorts reality and encourages people to violence," echoed in some Russian media, said the statement.

For those who signed the document, Russia's actions "harm cultural exchange, freedom of expression and diplomacy." Indeed, "Fratricidal war brings death, suffering, destruction and alienation, and does not reflect the interests of Russian society," the interpreters and translators note.

"Ukraine and Russia have a long shared history. They are closely linked by language and religion, traditions and family and professional relationships. For many months now, the Russian press has denied and called into question this shared history, digging deep trenches between our two peoples. On the long run, war between Russia and Ukraine threatens to destroy completely any
">sense of community."

In concluding, the statement said that the duty of a translator "is to be a mediator between cultures and promote peace and freedom of speech; it is to denounce openly violence and lies. Translation is possible only as a free transfer of languages, ideas, cultures and attitudes."

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