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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Conflict Adds Tension To Peace Seminar

PAVEDNIKI, Russia -- Shortly after delegates began learning how to make peace during a three-week seminar on conflict resolution here, relations between some participants got a lot worse.

The souring rapport came between the five Ossetian and two Ingush delegates, whose peoples along the Russian-Georgian border clashed midway through the conference.

"I felt that before the escalation we could speak, but after the escalation there were more emotions, Tajmuraz Borsiyev, a plumber and South Ossetian political activist said of his Ingush counterpart. "We just didn't find a common language.

"If I can't find a common language with him, how can I find a common language with his people? " he asked.

Establishing a rational process toward peace through a common language was exactly the goal of the internationally sponsored seminar 30 kilometers north of Moscow.

Muharbec Hasijev, a correspondent for Ingushetia's only newspaper, said his emotions against Ossetians often overshadowed his rational education about peace, gleaned from Western books.

Some delegates from the region left the conference to return home after the violence intensified.

Instilling peacemaking techniques is never easy, conference organizers said, adding that peoples of the former Soviet Union have several additional obstacles.

"We are dealing with quite an injured psychology or psyche", said Pyotr Patrushev, an Australian conflict resolution expert who escaped the U. S. S. R. in 1962.

Difficult economic situations across the former Soviet Union also complicate the art of conflict resolution, according to William Spencer, an American expert.

Spencer, one of several instructors from different countries, clearly got through to the 38 participants, who included Tatars, Cossacks, Georgians, Latvians, and Bashkirs on matters both profound and trivial. For instance he told delegates that there is a correlation between stress levels and blinking.

That tendency was illustrated during U. S. presidential debates, Spencer said, when Bill Clinton blinked often when questioned about his relations with women.