The Secretariat of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum was established in February 2014 in Berlin, Germany (at the German-Russian Exchange). Its main target is to coordinate Forum's everyday work.
To contact the Secretariat's associates please go to the Contact page.
Anna SEVORTIAN, Executive Director
Anna Sevortian is Executive Director at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. Formerly Russia Director at Human Rights Watch, she has over 15 years of experience in working on civil society and human rights in Eurasia region. Ms. Sevortian was Galina Starovoitova Fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, and Deputy Director of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights in Moscow, Russia. Over the years, she contributed to 40 research and evaluation projects and publications in Russian and English. Anna holds Mid-Career MPA from Harvard Kennedy School and a degree in journalism from the Moscow State University.
Stefan MELLE, Executive Director at the German-Russian Exchange
Stefan Melle is Executive Director at German-Russian Exchange (GRE) - one of the founding entities of the CSF and the host organisation for the CSF Secretariat. He is a journalist and a prominent Russian expert. Stefan is the GRE’s exchange programmes between East and West contribute to a cross-European dialogue. The organisation implements projects to strengthen civil society, and works at such issues as environmental protection, freedom of press, education, human rights advocacy, ethnic reconciliation, and integration.
Kristina SMOLIJANINOVAITĖ, Deputy Director
Kristina Smolijaninovaitė is Deputy Director at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. Since Forum’s origins in 2011, she has been contributing to Forum’s development. Since 2015, she leads Operations and Programmes Department. Kristina initiated the Forum's Working Group "Historical Memory and Education" in 2013 that she had been coordinating until January 2017. She has been one of the authors of the Exhibition "Different Wars: National School Textbooks on World War II". Kristina studied cultural heritage and languages in Lithuania, Germany and Turkey.
Sergei TERESHENKOV, Senior Coordinator for Public Relations
Sergei is Senior Coordinator for Public Relations at the CSF Secretariat. He holds extensive experience in media and communications, project management, and non-formal education. As an activist, political writer, and GR specialist, Sergei contributed to numerous Russian media, including “Russia Profile” , “Russian Journal”, Snob.Ru and RusPioner.Ru, as well as foreign news agencies as “Kunst im Kontext” (Germany) and Fotki.com (Estonia-USA). He holds Master degree in German studies, political science, and communication from the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich, Germany).
Polina BAIGAROVA, Internal Communications Officer / Programme Coordinator “EU-Russia Legal Dialogue”
Polina Baigarova has been taking an active part in the work of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum since its origins in 2011. Since March 2015, she has held a position of the Coordinator of the "EU-Russia Legal Dialogue“ Programme. Before that, she had worked at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Research Division "Eastern Europe and Eurasia") for three years, completed an internship at the European Parliament in Brussels, and participated in a number of research and social projects by various scientific institutions and nonprofit organisations in Germany. Polina studied communication sciences, political sciences, sociology, and cultural studies at the Universities of Bremen and Erfurt. She is fluent in Russian, German, English, and Spanish as well as can communicate in French.
Milda BAGDONAITĖ, Financial Officer
Milda joined the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in 2016 as a Financial Officer. Before that, she had worked for several years in the NGO field – at the Transparency International (Lithuanian Chapter) and the Civil Society Institute in Lithuania, the Centre for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue in Armenia, and other organisations. Milda also worked in the public sector and media in Lithuania and completed internships at the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Bonn and the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID). She studied international relations and diplomacy at the University of Vilnius (Lithuania) and holds a master’s degree from the University of Freiburg (Germany).
Élise DANIAUD, Project Coordinator
Élise is Project Coordinator at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. Before joining the team, she worked at several cultural projects as well as for the European Parliament. She also was a lecturer of Russian language and culture at the University of Nice. Élise holds a master's degree in Slavic studies from the University of Bordeaux and in historical gardens, landscape and heritage from the Paris-I-Panthéon-Sorbonne University. She is fluent in French, Russian, English, Spanish and is currently learning Arabic. Élise is interested in educational policies, peace education, social promotion through educational programmes and religious coexistence.
Barbara Anna BERNSMEIER, Project Coordinator “Europe Lab”
Barbara joined the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum as a Project Coordinator for the Forum for Young Professionals “Europe Lab” in 2016. Before that, she worked as a teaching assistant for German language and culture at the Novosibirsk State University. Afterwards, she was based in Volgograd obtaining a 2-year scholarship for the Programme “Cultural Managers in the Russian Federation” by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Goethe Institute. As a cultural manager, she implemented several international projects mainly dealing with urban and public art, literature and audio-visual arts. Barbara studied comparative literature, Russian language and literature, and German philology at the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich, Germany) and the Orenburg State University (Russia).
Alexander KELLER, Office Manager
Alexander holds the position of Office Manager at the Secretariat of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. He studied modern philology (English and Slavic studies) at the University of Leipzig as well as culture and literature of Central and Eastern Europe at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Alexander has worked with various interdisciplinary cultural and political topics as well as cultural artefacts - such as film, theatre, performance arts, comics, etc. in the intercultural context. He is a professional linguist as well as specialised in regional and cultural studies, theory and history of literature. Apart from his Forum's position, Alexander has been also working as a Technical Administrator for the German-Russian Exchange in Berlin.