понедельник, 11 марта 2019 г.

The sixth dialogue marathon "After the war". Report


Traditionally, at the end of the year, in November, the Donbass Dialogue (DD) platform holds its next dialogue marathon, the sixth one already. In order to understand the logic of its work and the formulated conclusions, we need to get a retrospective view and look back up to 6 months when the fifth marathon took place in June 18–23, 2018.

The fifth marathon of the DD platform discussed the conditions and possibilities for living together "after everything that happened to us". The participants of the fifth marathon talked about things that bind and separate people within the conflict, about "ethical inflation" that hit the country and people, about the possibilities of the Reversion and its perspective. Speakers talked about the right of return, the dialoguers discussed the idea that the "reversion" can be both a loss, and a gain.

In each dialogue of the fifth marathon, the parties agreed on the thought that our lives, left in 2014, no longer exist. There is neither Ukraine nor Donbass as we knew them.

The expert group of the fifth marathon worked with the narratives of the Reversions, analyzed the Ukrainian and international legal field, explored the successful and unsuccessful experience of the Reversions. These discussions revealed the need to understand the crucial issues for solving the problem of reversion: "Are we reversing to the past (which is impossible in reality) or are we creating the future?", "If we reverse, where will we go together then?".

The demand for a vision of a joint future predetermined the topic of the sixth marathon "After the War".

During the preparation of the sixth marathon, we used the crowdsourcing and tried to find a human dimension so that we could talk not only about the territories in the context of the future, but, first of all, about the people living there. We managed to have a rich discussion about differences and similarities, about stereotypes and possibilities for overcoming them.

Back then, a basic topic began to shape up and on the marathon it sounded at the top of lungs already:
  • There are countless options for the future, but who chooses a real future and how, and what does it rely on?
  • Will this future be only repetitions and typifications, wandering among black-and-white stereotypes, or is it possible to break out of the vicious circle of conflict interaction?
  • Why the status quo of confrontation should be maintained, if it is known that most often it aggravates the situation and does not help build a dialogue and find a solution?

There are no easy answers. There is an objectively widening gap between the territories on both sides of the line of separation and there is the persistent desire of people to maintain ties and expand dialogue.

As a result, the marathon got to its main message: "we need "others" (different, not like us), people with various modalities of the future, and not just truth and lie. It is important to talk about the reality of the existing confrontation and its overcoming; steps towards each other for searching and discussing alternatives are important as well.

Technical aspects of the preparation and holding of the dialogue marathon

DD Talk was used for online dialogue ((https://ddtalk.donbassdialog.org.ua) just like in the previous marathon. DD Talk is a decentralized service that allows to organize a secure video call between two or more anonymous users.

The service allows to unify the process of secure connecting to the network anonymous users who prefer to use different platforms for private communication by video/audio calls (Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, Duo, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangout, Slack, etc.). The service provides the possibility to include in the network dialoguers with technically weak devices at low Internet speeds.

To work with the DD Talk service, it is enough to have a laptop connected to the Internet and Google Chrome installed, a popular browser available for different operating systems, as well as webcam and microphone (or microphone only).

The service’s operating principle

Computer devices of the dialogue participants create the so-called peer-to-peer network during video-meeting. Through the signaling server, the devices agree about the best routes by which audio and video data are transmitted from one device to another. Signaling server is not involved in the data exchange. Participants' devices transmit encrypted data bypassing the signaling server directly to each other. It is very problematic to trace the routes and break the cipher to gain access to the data.

The signaling service has an administrative panel allowing to monitor the activity of the peer-to-peer network. It shows only device identifiers, time of connection to the network and name of the network, as well as their role within the service. If any extra devices connect to the network, you can use this panel to remove such device or the virtual chat room of the dialogue participants.

Problems faced by the engineering team

The DD platform has been developing and solving more and more new tasks from one marathon to another. Trainings for online dialogue facilitators is one of them.

The method of teaching online dialogue facilitators requires the physical presence of the trainees during facilitation of online dialogue. Therefore, the trainees were in the same room with the current facilitator. The facilitator worked without a headset so that the trainees could hear exactly the same things that facilitator did. In addition, during the marathon, some participants (dialoguers) also communicated without headsets.

The acoustic echo cancellation system did not always work properly, which caused sound distortions and the quality of speech of the dialogue participants for external observers (the expert group) sometimes fell to totally unintelligible. The technical solution of the problem (audio splitter for several users) will be used in the next marathon.

Preliminary study of the 6th marathon topic

The beginning of the DD platform crowdsourcing related to the future of Donbass coincided with and maybe even was accompanied by, loud events intertwined in the fabric of the conflict. The All-Ukrainian Crucession with obvious political overtones and the hype about this in the social networks marked the beginning of a large public discussion about church affairs. Issues of religion almost were not raised within our discussion on the DD platform, but their general background was felt all the time. Similarly, the topic of the change of the first persons and the elections in DPR/LPR was not raised aloud but it was present indirectly, as well as the topic of forthcoming election campaigns (transit of power) on the mainland. From July to November 2018, the political context had been clearly exacerbating and then, during the marathon, the Kerch crisis broke out with the introduction of martial law in a number of regions, including Lugansk and Donetsk regions.

All this time, the search for areas of analysis for a possible future was carried out on the DD platform.

Questions and answers analyzed during the preliminary discussion on the platform

At the very beginning of the process of choosing the topic, the discussion slowed down on the denial of the future of Donbass with a human dimension. There is no clear perspective of a post-conflict future, perhaps that’s why there were more conversations about territories than people. The problem was solved when the group accepted the proposal to continue the discussion on prejudices and biases common on both sides of the line of separation.

We managed to have a rich discussion about differences and similarities, about stereotypes and possibilities for overcoming them. In fact, the conversation was about multi-identity and its counter forces. It was said that the unity of people in more urbanized territories was not their merit, and nationalistic patriotism was not a sign of ignorance. Natural causes motivate people and make them as they are. The analysis of beliefs and prejudices turned out to be very important, it allowed to see the roots of human behavior, and then the analysis of these roots allowed to formulate a preliminary list of issues that first were adjusted and then submitted for aggregation.

An aggregation scale was compiled to measure the significance and accuracy of the wording of issues chosen for the marathon dialogues on the topic of "future".

Final discussion

Since the discussion on the platform reached the level of talking about the human dimension or, in other words, the human context of the conflict in the Donbass, a preliminary list of the original statements of the discussion participants was created to form an assessment scale. That was a list of incomplete statements, incompletely formulated questions, understatements. The task was to determine which topics arouse the greatest interest and the greatest difficulties among the group members: which of these statements involve their personal perspective? What makes this perspective available: the experience of the conflict or anything else?

As a result, the following list was discussed:
  • "The breaking point in our understanding is East/West, although it is in a completely different place";
  • "Is it possible to overcome the split using another split?";
  • "Why should we care?";
  • "Religious split is dangerous in principle, as it touches very sensitive aspects of public life";
  • "One of the answers to the question "Why is it happening in Donbass?" is the following: the stability of this agglomeration is connected with the archaic economy of the region";
  • "If we take as an axiom the statement that the conflict... must be unleashed a priori, then it is difficult to imagine the better ground than Donbass";
  • "The transformation of social space into physical space is realized "by the removal or deportation of some people...";
  • "It makes sense to speak not about typical features in general, but about typical in the "space of believes";
  • "After deportation, we have a physical space here populated by two million people who couldn’t be deported";
  • "What are we getting out of conflict with?";
  • "What will we never agree to repeat?";
  • "What will we do in return, in place of everything we have abandoned?";
  • "Now, my assets, the things I value, are...";
  • "After all, it is not clear whether there will be any sense from these conversations?".

As a result of discussion of this list, four scales were formed, according to which participants were asked to rank the questions at the aggregation stage for the marathon dialogues:
  • "It matters for the future";
  • "It allows to influence the future";
  • "It deprives us of the future";
  • "It’s not important for the future at all".

A list of questions was submitted for aggregation and this list consisted of questions raised during the discussion of the problem of a post-conflict future within the semi-annual discussion on the DD platform:
  • "What kind of Ukraine do we want to see, what should it be?"
  • "Where is the ideal to which we want to go?"
  • "Do we have any idea about the state?"
  • "What can we do united?"
  • "Is there a willingness to hear, accept the other side of the conflict?"
  • "To what extent are the communities, including everyone of us, ready to correct the situation?"
  • "What can we influence, what do we want to influence?"
  • "Was it worth it?"
  • "What future are we talking about, the true one or the real one?"
  • "Who are the denazificators?"
  • "Who wants this and who is ready for this?"
  • "What qualities should decision makers have? How to evaluate the results of their activities?"
  • "What can unite us?"
  • "What are the main visions, problems, themes and concerns of every person, no matter to which side s/he belongs?"
  • "What are some of the stereotypes that people have on every side of the separation line?"
  • "How do stereotypes affect relationships between people?"
  • "How do stereotypes affect us?"
  • "How to identify the most clear-headed part of the population?"
  • "How can we fight stereotypes?"


Ninety-four members of the DD group (crowdsourcers) filled out a questionnaire where each of the aggregated questions should be evaluated according to one of four proposed scales and ranked according to the degree of compliance with the selected scale. The procedure allows to collect the required amount of data in order to obtain a reliable level of correlations between the questions by the sum of the scores (the weight of the question), the frequency of choice of the question and the frequency of matches of the scores for correspondence to the selected scale. These three integral indicators allow describing with sufficient detail the solution of the group of crowdsourcers for each of the questions.

From the point of view of frequency and weight indicators, the final selection of winning questions turned out to be completely explicit:
  • according to the scale "It matters for the future", the question "What kind of Ukraine do we want to see, what should it be?" got the highest scores;
  • according to the scale "It allows to influence the future" the question "What can we do united?" got the highest scores;
  • according to the scale "It deprives us of the future" the question "Was it worth it?" got the highest scores;
  • according to the scale "It’s not important for the future at all" the question "What future are we talking about, the true one or the real one?" got the highest scores.
However, the correlation analysis showed an unusual result for our practice — the winner question "Was it worth it?" according to the third scale "It deprives us of the future" has reliable values of negative correlation in relation to the entire data continuum.

As for the question "What future are we talking about, the true one or the real one?” according to the fourth scale "It’s not important for the future at all", it completely falls out of the context of the analysis and is not connected in either positive or negative way with any of the list questions. These two questions according to the last two scales carried some kind of non-obvious additional semantic load that was to manifest itself during the dialogues and the work of the expert group at the marathon.

The remaining seventeen list questions are related to each other by correlations with a high level of reliability.

In addition to questions leading according to the scales, the analysis allows to determine the winning questions (with a high frequency level of maximum scores according to all scales). There were three such questions in the end: "What can unite us?" (grounds), "What can we do united?" (impact), "Is there a willingness to hear, accept the other side of the conflict?" (acceptance). The question about the impact on the future turned out to be the most rated (the largest number of selections), the question about finding the grounds to unite turned out to be the most significant (the greatest relevance to the topic), and the question about acceptance of another position was the most acute (the highest weight and the greatest number of matches of maximum scores according to different scales).

Aggregation also allowed to formulate topics for presentations of speakers for each dialogue day:
  1. "Social capital as a peace-building resource";
  2. "How the future after the conflict is built (The best and the worst alternatives)";
  3. "The lessons of conflict and their influence on the future";
  4. "The future, real and true".


November 25–30, 2018
Sherwood Park Hotel, Svyatogorsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine.

Within the framework of dialogue marathons of the DD platform, the space and time of the event, in their inseparable unity, is organized in such a way as to provide an expert group necessary resources for fruitful work. The task of the expert group is to analyze the current conflict, the manifestation and fixation of the meanings and content of the accompanying processes.

Simply put, the space should be safe and comfortable, time should be sufficient for all planned interventions, and the program should reflect in most accurate way the results of preliminary research and the results obtained in the process of crowdsourcing.

For six days, the Sherwood Park Hotel becomes the "Home" for the dialogue marathon, to which a lot of "Roads" lead. At each stage, its participants have to overcome the "Threshold" and enter the reality of the conflict presented by the dialoguers, facilitators and speakers who are "on the other side" of the interface. The "Crossroads" of opinions during dialogues both online and during discussions offline allow to formulate a vision of the paths that lead... to the peace. These four chronotopes and the dynamic facilitation of the marathon process make it possible to perform basic interventions in the peace-building process of conflict resolution.

Day one

Working meeting of the DD team, facilitators, experts

Tasks: technical preparation of the site, testing of Internet connections of speakers, dialoguers and facilitators, tuning the marathon participants for the dialogue.

Opening discussion

A huge number of people and organizations — local, regional, national, and international — are making efforts to resolve the conflict in the Donbass. The situation in the Donbass is continuously monitored by various project teams. Research results are published, discussed in social networks, used for decision-making by national and international institutions.

This activity practically does not include a large part of the local population, which is the beneficiary of these efforts. Life in the conflict zone cuts off hundreds of thousands of people from the decision-making process that directly affects them. What is working then if democratic procedures do not work?

The accumulating social capital works, i. e. the experience that people acquire passing through the understanding of what happened and is happening to them, on the basis of which they act and make decisions often determining their fate. Social capital allows to restore the destroyed systems of relationships. It is formed in a joint activity based on common interests.

The members of the DD expert group representing different regions of Ukraine, including uncontrolled territories, carried out the conflict analysis during the marathon from its first day and this analysis is also the social capital of conflict participants. This analysis begins on the first day with the exchange and discussion of the dialogue and peacekeeping news brought to the marathon by its participants. The manifestation and expansion of the influence on the conflict of dialogue practices requires fixation, like any other intervention. The first day of the marathon was devoted to the analysis of the conflict space in which members of the DD platform live and act.

Day two

Social capital as a peace-building resource

Speaker: Susan H. Allen, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Director, Center for Peacemaking Practice, George Mason University.

Topic of presentation: The role of social capital for a better future after the conflict (experience of life in conflict as a peace-building resource).

The resource that creates social capital is the emerging trust between representatives of the conflict sides. Building this trust requires time. The experience of joint activities is needed, and it is gained when discussing and planning actions aimed at solving the problems of the population of the neighboring territories. Social capital can be represented in the form of a network that includes people from different sides who see the problem well and are ready to cooperate. The ability to change one's views, to abandon stereotypes is important to increase the effectiveness of joint actions. Creating peace-building sites, where people from different sides solve together simple everyday problems, allows to get out of the "bunker" position and helps in creating the culture of "separation of the problem from the person."

Several case studies were presented illustrating the process of accumulating social capital in conflicts leading to the dissociation of two conflict sides by the line of separation.

Online dialogue 1: "What kind of Ukraine do we want to see, what should it be?"

Scale "It matters for the future"

Dialoguers from Moscow and Odessa participated in the first dialogue at this marathon. This dialogue was particular because the dialoguers spoke different languages (Russian and Ukrainian), having previously discussed this possibility. They agreed that this is acceptable and will not interfere with understanding each other.

Dialoguer B: "We absolutely do not need to speak the same language, and we do not need interpreters — we can understand each other without it".

The expert group noted that the dialogue discussed the principles and rules of life in society, differences in views on Ukraine from inside and outside, people talked about the need for civil society to influence the future, including the common future of Ukraine and Russia as separate independent states.

Talking about the future, the dialoguer from Moscow expressed the need for friendship and for the world, which would be a safe enough place, as well as the need for change and willingness to be part of it.

The dialoguer from Odessa spoke about recognizing the current situation, about the importance of honesty. The need to preserve the independence of the country and the ability to choose own path was stated.

The dialoguers tried to analyze the current situation based on their own personal experience.

Experts noted the difference between dialoguers in the perception of the role of the state: "It seems that people say one thing and even use the same words, but the meaning is completely different. So how is it possible to agree in this case? What should be the basis for a constructive dialogue about the future?".

Dialoguers themselves consider the dialogue successful and accomplished:
Dialoguer B: "In my opinion, as I think at this moment, there is no future for Ukraine (as well as other countries) out of context — we are earthlings, we are people, we are humanity, and we must finally find ways to stop every anti-human thing on the planet. To achieve this, we need to learn how to get out of any "separation", "dissociation" and opposition. Even in painful issues. ...

I think we all need to gather information and analyze ourselves and our interactions. And the DD platform contributes to this purpose. I was left with the impression that M. and I advanced towards each other and we managed to hear each other. M. spoke about important things, and it is necessary to come back to these issues again and again
Dialoguer M: “Speaking here, I can only repeat my words: I like most of all in these dialogues that they became a reality thanks to all those involved. I also liked the event management and my vis-а-vis dialoguers. It would be desirable for this work to become more extensive and beyond the limits of the online format".

Online dialogue 2: "What kind of Ukraine do we want to see, what should it be?"

Scale "It matters for the future"

Two countrymen, residents of Donetsk, met within the second dialogue of this day. One of them left the Donbass and participates actively in peacebuilding in the mainland of Ukraine, and the other one remained in Donetsk and participates actively in the life of the city, he did not leave it during the entire conflict until the current moment. This dialogue turned out to be, among other things, a demonstration of the increasing distance between people of one generation and worldviews, which were similar at the time of the beginning of the conflict, in 2014.

Dialoguer C: "While working with the topic 'What kind of Ukraine do we want to see, what should it be?' we had to do quite a bit of work. The difficulty was that the topic was voiced from the position of the majority, and I can only speak for myself. Otherwise, the violation of the border of politics is possible, which is out of the format of the project and I share this position completely. This violation created obstacles in the course of dialogue.

I like the opportunity to share my views and to know the views of another person. As a result, the understanding of living together in a particular common territory expands. Dialogue gives such an opportunity.

The semantic scope of the topic itself went beyond personal perception, personal history. We had to speak in general phrases and terms, which in turn created a sense of understatement, incomprehension...

As soon as you realize that you are a resident of not only the street, district, city, and so on, the desire and need to continue the dialogue immediately arises

Dialoguer O: "The first word which comes to mind is "unusual". In various senses. Because I myself got used to organize with my friends, colleagues the dialogues, and now I’m a "participant". In addition, it was unusual to communicate vis-à-vis, since most often I organized dialogue events within a certain circle/group.

In general, I have a positive impression because thanks to you and your colleagues I was able to talk to a person with opposite views while refraining from "blaming". At the same time, I noticed a certain feature that I did not pay attention to: for some reason, such communication is no longer so valuable to me, as it was before, I felt that my interlocutor and me were going around in a circle, which is known to me through communication with my friends, relatives, and this circle did not lead to a shared vision, instead it gave the feeling that we belong to different worlds/formations that do not overlap.

Together, we were only able to agree with the thought that the work with officials is required. I liked how my interlocutor remembered that they managed to maintain order in their neighborhood (community) with joint efforts of the community.

Technically everything was well organized. I also caught myself in the thought that I didn’t feel comfortable sometimes, I felt as if someone was watching me furtively and eavesdropping us in the room, but I could not see "those" people. Instead, I wanted a more dynamic communication process.

Day three

Future after the conflict

Speaker: Mirimanova Natalia, Brussels.

Natalia Mirimanova is a specialist and practitioner in the field of conflict transformation, director of the consulting company Eurasia Peace Initiative in Brussels, senior adviser to the International Alert (Eurasian program), consultant to several international organizations.

Topic of presentation: "How the future after the conflict is built (The best and the worst alternatives)"

Natalia said that there is no point of reference between the future and the present, since it is impossible to determine at what stage of the conflict we are. It is not correct to generalize all conflicts and build conclusions on this, since they are all different. It is difficult to find out the opinion of the majority, but at the same time, 1–5% of those who think differently may be enough to improve the situation.

In protracted conflicts, the past exists, it actively participates in the present.

How to determine when the conflict will come to its end? At the moment when they stopped shooting? When the peacemakers left the territory? This is an open question.

Peace can come when the necessary conditions are met:
  • there is an electorate for the peace;
  • there is a leader of the peace;
  • the leader listens to the electorate.

But if even one of these conditions is not observed, then peace does not come. The task of the peace-building process is to help create these conditions.

Now in Ukraine and in the Donbass there are no images of an attractive future. There is fatigue from the war, but there is no desire to either negotiate or surrender. So, there are no solid grounds for peace, not yet. They need to be created.

The speaker spurred the marathon expert group to talk about the role of forgiveness — the need to ask forgiveness and forgive as a kind of indicator in the transition period towards peace.

Online dialogue 1: "What can we do united?"

Scale "It allows to influence the future"

The first dialogue of the third day took place between the dialoguers from the Donbass, but - just like in the second dialogue of the previous day - one of them never left Mariupol, and the second left Lugansk and now lives with her family in the Lviv region. But there is a difference: Mariupol is a front-line city, which, unlike Donetsk, is located in a controlled area. And perhaps this circumstance contributed to the absence of a political context in their conversation. The participants of this dialogue lead an active social life, however, as it turned out, they belong to different generations of activists. But for both of them the problem of involving others in their activity is equally acute.

Dialoguer D: "I was impressed by the openness of my interlocutor. The dialogue was useful. New acquaintance and different views can give some result. I liked everything and I’d like to continue the dialogue. I talk about this experience and there are interested people".

Dialoguer T: "It was interesting to hear the youth’s point of view. The dialogue was lively, we managed to discuss a lot of things. I remembered best of all that young people do not know the problems of people of other ages, social status and regions.

For me, the question of what can unite us and what we can do together is still open. It would be interesting to discuss these issues at offline dialogue meetings and develop a joint vision.

I would like to talk with someone from that side. I think that I do not see and understand everything, but such a dialogue would help to see something new and understand what to do next in order to unite

Online dialogue 2: "What can we do united?"

Scale "It allows to influence the future"

In the second dialogue, a pair of dialoguers worked and they had different gender, age and ideological views. However, they had a lot in common. The expert group dedicated a lot of time to discussing this dialogue emotionally. The reason is the change in the positioning of the dialoguers during the dialogue. We faced this for the first time and there were many questions about how this can be interpreted from the point of view of dialogue practice. Dialogues have demonstrated willingness to actively participate in and influence the process. But what process is this? They agreed that there was an attempt to probe the general conceptual framework, which would give the possibility to talk about joint activities, but the protection of personal position turned out to be more important for both dialoguers.

Dialoguer A: "It was interesting to get in touch with a person from "that" side. The initial feeling was that I don’t know the people of Donbass at all, I only know an image that was formed much earlier... On a large scale, we talked... past each other. And our conversation with a lack of common points sounded more or less harmonious thanks to the facilitator’s efforts.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that my vis-à-vis professionally works in the field adjacent to my profession, the fact that people there have the same task which is to help other people, the fact that scientific conferences are being held and professors come to participate, ... the fact that life goes on. Moreover, we both (dialoguers) are ethnic Russians, we have parents or close relatives in the territory of the Russian Federation.

I accepted the testimony that everyone is already tired of everything, that the peace is needed, but no one knows its cost... I got to know that there is no such concept as chaplaincy "on the other side", i. e. custody of the military by the church ministers.
I tried to be open... I spoke of a total lack of trust, I said that the dialogue processes aimed at trust-building could become the starting point

Dialoguer I: "The dialogue was held in a good atmosphere. I liked my partner on the dialogue platform because he, like me, is a psychologist, this served to the fact that we had in many respects common views on the events in DPR/LPR and in Ukraine, as it seemed to me. I’m grateful to the facilitator for the unbiased attitude to the participants of the dialogue and the ability to feel and direct the conversation in a dialogue channel. I thank the organizers of the DD platform for the ability to tune the participants to readiness to listen and perceive, and readiness to express their opinions.

My recommendation to myself: to learn to manage this tool (dialogue) in any situation and at any level

Day four

The lessons of conflict and their influence on the future

Speaker: Steinar Bryn, Lillehammer, Norway.

Steinar Bryn has graduated from the University of Wisconsin (BA, MA) and obtained a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. He has been a student, teacher, researcher and acting principal at the Nansen Academy in Norway. During the last 15 years he has developed and supported the inter-ethnic dialogue centers in the Balkans and in Lillehammer.

Steinar Bryn, together with the DD team, launched the first dialogue marathon in 2015. In the first three marathons, he acted in many roles: facilitator, speaker, team mentor.

Topic of presentation: "The lessons of conflict and their influence on the future"

Steinar began his presentation with a recommendation to decide what kind of Ukraine we are building, Ukrainian or democratic? Does the country have an understanding of the difference between civil society and Ukrainian society? As an illustration, he recalled Croatia, where the Croats were oppressed when they were part of Serbia, and how the Serbs became an oppressed minority when Croatia became independent.

And one more important note from Steinar: it can never be too early to talk about peace, but it can be too late.

After the war, the trust-building process will be required in the country. The longer the two parts of the country develop separately, the more noticeable the differences will be, the harder will be the "merge". Real reconciliation means not only patience, but also talking and dialogue. Without this, a complete exit from the conflict will not be achieved.

Online dialogue: "Was it worth it?"

Scale "It deprives us of the future"

On the fourth and fifth days of the marathon, two online dialogues took place, one in each day. The first part of the day consisted of speakers’ presentations and a dialogue, and during the second part expert groups continued to prepare their presentations, which they began to work on during the previous marathon "The place and role of the Reversion in post-conflict Ukraine".

The dialoguers from Lugansk and Kiev took part in the dialogue of this day, and what's interesting — the dialoguer from Kiev shared the common spirit with his vis-à-vis from Donetsk. Nevertheless, some positional tension, especially at the beginning of the dialogue, was felt, and in this case, the tactic of the facilitator to participate in the dialogue as a "third" participant seemed appropriate. But even the dialogues themselves noted in their reports that if the confrontation were tougher, then such tactic of the facilitator could have negative consequences. We will analyze in more detail the tactics and approaches of the facilitators used in this marathon during the training for facilitators.

Both sides gave the same answer to the stated topic — no, it was not worth it. Peace, God and justice were equally important for both interlocutors. And also belonging to their own reference group in the community, i. e. safety, indirectly speaking.

The dialogue was more about the present, about valuable features of the present, about the future, in which the possibility to unite is not granted yet.

Dialoguer E: "We, the participants of this "trialogue", felt the main thing — the common ground that unites us. We have a common pain and a common aspiration. ... We have more things in common than things that separate us. And if I, the dialoguer from Lugansk, did not say much about the pain for the killed, this does not mean that we don’t feel this pain.

Time frame allowed to outline the topic. I consider it important to remind that we have no language problem: there is the Ukrainian drama theater, entrance examinations can be taken in Ukrainian, we take care of the history of the university, which has many documents from times before the war. I want to emphasize all this. The dialoguer from the other side spoke of pain and bitterness, of understanding the uselessness of the sacrifices made by people killed on both sides.

First of all, I want to thank for the opportunity to participate in the marathon and the opportunity to communicate. I believe that the main achievement of this dialogue is the established mutual understanding between the participants and a sincere desire to hear and understand each other

Dialoguer N: "It is strange that the experts did not hear that we discussed, among other things, the thought that perhaps these shocks that our country is going through were needed by society in order to rid it of social infantilism.

Yes, we regretted the victims. We disagreed on the opinion that it was possible to get the same result of a surge in social activity, but in a less painful way. We talked not only about personal experiences, but rather about general trends, passed through ourselves, about experiences gained in communication with other people. As well as about the ATO veterans, about the participants of the Maidan, about deceived in their expectations, and about those who received new opportunities for self-realization, about the fact that the war revealed moral abscesses that had been bleeding and hurt for decades. We discussed the statement that all these problems need to be spoken and wept (the experts, unfortunately, heard only this phrase and considered it to be related to a personal drama). After the dialogue, it became obvious to me that the line separating the sides of the conflict was much deeper than it seemed. And it seems to me that the separation keeps getting worse, that an increasing number of people are becoming determined in the polarity of their positions. But, on the other hand, the slogan "Never forget, never forgive" has lost its relevance....
I got the impression that the dialoguer from Lugansk was trying to emphasize that they are Ukraine: stable, prosperous, decent, — and that events happening in the territories controlled by Kiev are some kind of temporary misunderstanding, an epidemic. And these people pity us, the people of Ukraine.

Some impressions: it’s great that being a dialoguer I can study the materials of the marathon and express my vision.
A lot of interesting people are involved, discussions sometimes go wild.
The DD platform is growing professionally (from the technical aspect to the content), and I’m glad to see this. It’s bad that I could not see and hear the speakers.

R.S. It seems to me that the question "Was it worth it?" remained unopened to full extend for all of us

Day five

The future, real and true

Speaker: Alexander Pelin, Uzhgorod.

Professor of the Department of Sociology and Social Work of the Uzhgorod National University (2013–2015), Chairman of the Transcarpathian branch of the Sociological Association of Ukraine.

This topic was not identified at all by the crowdsourcers during the aggregation stage. It’s a rare case in our practice.

The speaker’s presentation was informative but it also was a pure revelation for many participants of the marathon. Alexander spoke about the nature of the future, about the role, place and possibility of influence on it by every person and society as a whole.

The very fact that the question "What future are we talking about, the true one or the real one" got the maximum support at the aggregation stage according to the scale "It doesn’t matter" can be understood as a rejection of various options for a possible future.

This is a serious challenge for the peacebuilding process.

The speaker’s answer is the following: the future is formed in the present as an opportunity, but what is an opportunity, if not a certain abstraction, a subjective idea of the desired future? What in the future depends on us as we are in the present? If the future is objective, are we also objects there? If we live "here and now" without looking to the future, how can we influence it?

If we do not create a "here and now" image of an attractive future, doesn’t it mean that thereby we are making a breakthrough of the past into the future, in which we become the object of manipulation by someone from the past?

This assumption was confirmed by content analysis of the draft of this report which was prepared with the help of the expert group of the sixth marathon. The past preceding the time of preparation and holding of this marathon, in the views of its participants, pushes the present way, breaks into the future and influences it directly, seeking to curb it.

The pathos of the speaker boiled down to the need to remember about alternatives, about the fact that "other" views, "other" people with their subjectivity are needed to resolve the conflict, because they create a "true future". Failure to consider alternatives may lead to an escalation of the conflict in the real future.

"The true future" is always complemented by the future of "other" people, and the future that we get as a real one should not be divided into "right" and "wrong", as well as people into the "ours" and the "others". The future always contains alternatives, it is always modal, it is an augmented reality, since it is formed from the multiplicity of the future of many people.

Online dialogue: "What future are we talking about, the true one or the real one?"

Scale "This is not important"

Two residents of Donetsk participated in this dialogue. One of them still lives there now, the other has been deported by the de facto authorities of the DPR, without the right to return for an indefinite term, and s/he lives currently in the territory controlled by Ukraine. In fact, this dialogue dealt with different subjective times: they may be different with different people, and this may be one of the obstacles to unite, but t the same time this may open up new perspectives.

Dialoguer K: "Speaking about the impression, I liked it in general. Probably, if I were offered to be a dialoguer once again, I would probably agree. But at the same time I would like to approach the issue more seriously, i. e. be prepared on the topic.

I didn’t like... that the technical aspect is poor, as I understood it, because of the maximum security protection. But I still want the experts to be comfortable with the process so that they could give their full opinion afterwards

Dialoguer T: "What impressed you most of all? Everything was organized well. What would you like? The continuation of the marathon. What did you like and what did not? I liked everything. Would you like to continue? Yes".

Traditionally, the one who is more active in the dialogue is more concise in its assessment. I have only a few impressions because dialogue is, first of all, listening. Dialoguer T did not remember much. Small wonder, he talked a lot and for a long time.

Topics considered in this dialogue:
  1. The theme of victimization. Is it a shame to be a victim? It is better to leave not to be a victim. To leave towards art or emigration, for example.
  2. Responsibility. It is for those who think and do something, and for those who think but do nothing. Inaction is also a responsibility.
  3. Different people may be living through different times, i. e. the future may not unite in all cases.

Day six

Analysis of the prospects for the DD project development. Discussion of the topic of the seventh marathon

An important part of the sixth marathon was the work of four small groups created during the fifth marathon, whose task was to work out the problem of the Reversion place for the future. It was the incompleteness of this work that pushed the expert group and the DD team to determine the topics of the sixth marathon, and working through the topic "After the War" during the marathon helped the groups to complete their work and present the results.

These presentations will be extensively presented in the report of the fifth marathon, and the reason why it has not been published so far (at the time of this report) is that the work of these groups has not been completed yet. It is also important to highlight here that the topic of risks of a joint future, which was voiced in one of the presentations, has received the greatest development both in determining the areas of work of the DD platform, and in clarifying the methodology for expanding the platform.

The topic of the seventh marathon was defined in the most general terms as "The role of the civil sector in resolving the conflict in the Donbass". According to the participants of the marathon, the civil sector is the place of concentration of those "others", which were mentioned by Alexander Pelin and which are so lacking for the distribution of modalities in the past-present-future continuum. We can say that "others" own the present, but do not share it.

At the seventh marathon, we will try to figure out where the present is lost in the conflict in the Donbass.


The entire semiannual cycle of preparing and holding the marathon requires a combination of different techniques and approaches, which vary depending on the goals and objectives at each step.

The crowdsourcing process is launched with the Dynamic Facilitation. At this stage, we develop the scope of problems and build up a creative environment. Since the process is realized on an online platform, it is very important to ensure the ability of the facilitator to effectively use written speech and dialogue techniques used in online chat rooms.

The content acquired through dynamic facilitation at the aggregation stage is structured by the method of brainwriting modified for the online environment and subjected to correlation analysis. The results of aggregation are presented to the dialogue marathon in the form of basic topics, topics of speakers' presentations and questions for conversations of dialoguers during online dialogues.

Offline group of the dialogue marathon is facilitated using the open space technology. The facilitator is elected for each online dialogue by the dialoguers or appointed by the senior facilitator.

A separate topic is the development of the practice of facilitating online dialogues. At the sixth marathon, participants of the training program for DD facilitators were given the opportunity to participate live in the process of facilitation, albeit as observers yet. Twelve participants of the training got acquainted from the inside with the kitchen of online facilitation. The next stage is practical facilitation under the supervision of an experienced DD facilitator.

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