On July 8, the Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness,
the International Festival of Social Technologies in
Defense of Family Values "Pro-Life 2013" has
started its work in the Salut Hotel in Moscow. The forum
will gather participants from over 60 regions of Russia,
the Ukraine and Belarus as well as delegates from Ireland,
the Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Georgia and Kazakhstan
to search for solutions for protecting the lives of unborn
children. The festival's president, Sergei Chesnokov, has
told our portal about the forum's program this year and
has shared his vision for solving important social
|This poster displays passages from Scripture: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it (Gen 1:28); Thou shalt not kill (Ex. 20:13); Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (Ex. 20:12).|
—Sergei Valentinovich, in several days the international festival of social technologies in defense of family values "Pro-Life - 2013" will start its work. Who will take part in the festival?
—This year, there will be many representatives of social movements and organizations of all types as well as deputies and active members of political parties at the festival. Geographically, the festival’s participants will come not only from Russia but also from other countries. It is known that representatives of the Ukraine, Belarus, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Poland and a number of other countries will take part in its work. All of them will come to discuss numerous topical issues including that of legislative protection of human life from the moment of conception.
—Which issue will become the central theme of the festival?
—Protection of human life before birth and the problem of abortions. Our festival gathers and unites those who feel certain that life must be protected from its very first moment--before birth--from conception. Because a child, and childhood is a gift of God, it is a wonderful gift to mankind that must be cherished and taken preserved. It is no coincidence that a baby held in two hands is on the festival's emblem. This life, before birth, is currently not protected by the law.
—This year the festival "Pro-Life" will be held for the fourth time. What notable improvements have taken place for these years? What changes for the better have occurred in the society?
—Over the three years of the festival's activity the Pro-Life movement has made considerable progress. We began to recognize ourselves as a whole inside which there are various independent organizations with different methods of work, different approaches and points of view, but united by the common aim--to protect human life from the moment of its beginning--from conception. Thanks to the festival, we learned gradually to influence people and their points of view in Russian regions. After all, our festival is a festival of social technologies in defense of family values. I can also say with gladness that our work is carried on in close cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church, as our aims and activities received a positive response from the Church from the very beginning. Owing to our cooperation in charitable affairs, departments for protection of family, motherhood and childhood have appeared in the Dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church. But we must not rest on the results we have achieved thus far. We must understand that it is necessary to move forward. Of course, we are critical to ourselves and indeed we think that not all our tasks have been fulfilled yet. Because killing babies before their birth in our country is still legal and practically non-punishable.
—Sergei Valentinovich, how aware is our society of the abortion issue?
—-The voices of those who consider abortions to be in fact the murder of unborn babies have become louder and louder in our society lately. It is very good that initiatives to ban abortions have now appeared in countries of the former Soviet Union and even worldwide. For example, at Easter this year, Patriarch Ilia II called upon the Georgian authorities to ban abortions. In Serbia, the council of the Serbian Orthodox Church has made the same statement. The Serbian Church has supported the statement of Serbian doctors who consider that abortions are incompatible with the high rank and merit of a doctor and thus they must be banned. In Lithuania, an antiabortion law has been passed at the first reading. These are new tendencies that, of course, please us. The public mood is changing in different countries. This inspires us; it is like a fair wind at the sails of the ship of life.
—For several years, very different people representing many different kinds of projects have taken part in the work of the festival. Which of them can you now cite as especially interesting and of particular benefit?
—At the festival of 2011, the Grand Prize winner was the Ekaterinburg Center of Motherhood Protection, "Kolybel" (the Cradle), which represented the diocese of Ekaterinburg. Now, similar centers are being founded in other dioceses as well, and real support is now being given to mothers with children and to families with dependent children. There are many interesting works, because every year various social and creative projects are represented at the festival, and their mutual goal is to give help to all people who need it.
—Are there any other forms of work to promote the defense of children before their birth?
—We actively arrange lectures and exhibitions. Numerous pro-life and pro-family exhibitions are working in the regions. Such activity is in high demand, and it is no coincidence that many students leave amazed responses after visiting these exhibitions. They write: "Why had we not been informed about it before? Why have we learned only now what abortion is? Now that we have learned what it really is, our opinion on abortion has radically changed, and we will never allow any abortions in our lives." It is the best evidence that our exhibition/lecturing work is really needed.