Within the framework of the celebration dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, the following projects are supported:
RABBITS AND RESTAURANTS VERSUS PEOPLE: STORIES ON LOCAL INTEREST INTERMEDIATION FROM THE NETHERLANDS, POLAND, GERMANY AND RUSSIA
Project date: 20 April 2021, 2pm-5pm CET
This public event will be implemented by the Forum’s Working Group on Public Participation in Local Self-Government. The WG was founded in 2020, and will mark the Forum’s 10th Anniversary by highlighting the importance of its goals at the WG’s first public event.
The event will consist of two panel discussions with stories of interest intermediation presented by local Russian and EU politicians and activists. Such stories will include:
- Rubinstein Street and complicated interests’ intermediation and conflict resolution between local inhabitants, bar and restaurant owners and visitors, local and city politicians and administrations in St. Petersburg;
- The Party for the Animals protecting rabbits and hares from pleasure hunting in the province of Drenthe, the Netherlands: How does it advocate for animal protection in the complex field of interests of hunters, farmers, animal protection NGO’s, tourists, tourist companies;
- Additional stories from different cities in Russia, Poland and Germany on the intermediation around the (re)construction of roads or new buildings.
The aim of the event will be to reflect on the role of local democratically elected politicians in representing citizens based on particular examples and experiences, communication formats, mechanisms, dynamics and problems of interest intermediation between inhabitants, business, and local politics and administrations. Such an event will contribute to the better understanding of civic participation in the local self-government in different contexts and to the search of mutually interesting topics to be further discussed later.
Hybrid (a live discussion in St. Petersburg and online participation of speakers from the EU. Larger interested audiences can join the event via Zoom and Facebook. Simultaneous Russian / English interpretation will be provided).
DestinationEst (D’EST), France
German-Russian Exchange, Russia
NO MORE WALLS!
Project date: May 2021
Implemented within the scope of the Forum’s Working Group on Gender Equality, the event will focus on the “walls” that are still prevalent in our society. With a special attention to so-called “gender walls”, the event will encompass a relaxed afternoon, where short movies based on the events that led to the fall of the Berlin wall will be shown. After the viewing, an interactive discussion will follow on how to dismantle the said walls within the next 10 years, taking into account the Forum’s community and the society at large. The short movies will be divided into 3 distinct, yet interconnected parts: building walls, breaking walls and current contextualization. The films use symbolic language and provide space for our contributions and for the attendees to voice their ideas and opinions.
Online (taking place on Zoom, in an interactive and dynamic format).
Stichting CAAT Projects, the Netherlands
TRILATERAL YOUTH FORUM
Project date: May 2021
“The German-Polish-Russian Trialogue” is a periodical event organized for socially active youth from Germany, Poland and Russia with the assistance of DRJUG e.V. (Germany), the Young Diplomats Forum (Poland) and Jugendinitiative für Zusammenarbeit (Germany / Russia). The Trilateral Youth Forum initially grew out of a German-Russian context with the goal of broadening the bilateral format into a trialogue to include Poland as the European Union’s largest country in Eastern Europe. The main goal of the Forum is to initiate an open dialogue between young people from Germany, Poland and Russia and to enable them to contribute to the development of sustainable relations between their countries. The event will explore topics that will foster awareness in regard to German-Polish-Russian relations with global social responsibility in mind.
Polish Forum of Young Diplomats, Poland
DRJUG e.V., Germany
Jugendinitiative für Zusammenarbeit, Germany / Russia
CREATING A SAFE AND INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT: OPPORTUNITIES FOR NGOS
Project date: Summer 2021
In 2019, the International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted the Convention on Combating Violence and Harassment at Work (No. 190). The ILO Convention will enter into force in June 2021, but cases of violence and harassment of NGO employees are still widespread in Russia. Most Russian NGOs still do not have concrete policies to ensure equality and to counteract violence and discrimination in the work environment.
Thus, this event is aimed at popularizing and promoting the concept of a safe and inclusive environment, free from violence and harassment, among NGOs and other public initiatives. Inequality in society is one of the main challenges in Russia and Europe. Civil society organizations can contribute to solving this problem by creating safe communities that promote equality and inclusiveness, thus leading to a greater overall stability.
The event will be organized in the form of a round table discussion. European and Russian experts will examine the ILO Convention on Combating Violence and Harassment at Work, the importance of enacting local and intraorganizational policies for the protection of workers, and ways in which NGOs can support this process. Participants will be able to learn how to develop and adopt effective policies (risk assessment, training, development of rules etc.) within their respective organizations. Last but not least, representatives of European and international NGOs will share their experience on the process towards inclusive and safe working environments.
TOGETHER FOR ECO TRANSPORTATION
Project date: June 2021
Climate change and climate justice are topics at the forefront of today’s civil society conversations. At the moment, transportation is the second biggest source of air pollution in the world, which increases the number of illnesses and premature deaths. The online webinar Together for ECO transportation will explore sustainable transportation on the basis of recommendations by experts from our previous projects and will take place on June 5th, 2021 (Russian Ecology Day). Current problems of transportation in Russian cities and how to address them, the benefits of positive international cooperation with specific examples, as well as the role of civil society in this area are some of the topics that will be discussed during the webinar. Additionally, several video clips on environmentally sustainable transport (in Russian and English) will be distributed on social media networks. A short presentation on this topic will take place at the UrbanFest Forum in St. Petersburg on April 10th, 2021 as well.
Clear Air Action Group, Hungary
UrbanFest Forum, Russia
Radchenko Alexey Project Agency, Russia
BARCAMP "PICNIC ON THE SIDELINES"
Project date: July – August 2021
Although civil societies in many Russian regions are widely underdeveloped, many people have shown interest to get involved in public activity and civil work. Hence, this event will cover several topics related to civil society, including, but not limited to, the direction of civil work in the regions and how to find supporters / activists for a certain cause. All of these questions and many others will be discussed during a two-day intellectual picnic called “5 Years Ahead: Ways to Improve NGO Culture in Different Regions”. The discussion will gather external experts and will include the opportunity to network and talk about urgent issues facing the NGO sector in the Russian regions. Additionally, a series of podcasts with leaders from different NGOs will be released prior to the event.
Offline (Mari El Republic, Russia)
Man and Law, Russia
RUSSIA IS EUROPE!
Project date: September 2021
Currently, Russia’s policy makers are taking actions that push it increasingly towards self-isolation and confrontation with European countries. This is accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign to discredit the values of democracy and human rights as “alien to European values” and as a search for “Russia’s enemies”, etc. In these conditions, it is important to promote alternative views about the commonality of values of the people of Russia and other European countries. The Centre for Civil Education (Lithuania) and its partners will develop a game called “Russia and Europe”. The game will be made in a Q&A style and its main aim will be to demonstrate the historical commonalities between Russia and Europe, as well as some of the positive experiences of cooperation. After being tested in Russian high schools, the game will be released online to interested parties such as educators, whether formal or non-formal.
Hybrid (game will be online, the testing of the game will take place in high schools in Russia)
The Centre for Civil Education, Lithuania
German-Russian Exchange, Germany
Rights in Russia, UK
Education for Democracy Foundation, Poland
EVENTS TO MARK THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MURDER OF ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA
Project date: October 2021
In 2021, while the Forum celebrates its 10th anniversary, RAW in WAR marks the 15th anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. These two events are closely linked to each other, as the murder of Anna was one of the darkest moments, where the pressure on independent voices and civil society in Russia confirmed the need for more solidarity from outside of Russia. Since 2007, RAW in WAR presents the Anna Politkovskaya Award to brave women working in war and conflict zones, who speak truth to power and stand up against rights abuses, all at a great personal risk. As part of a series of events leading to October 7th, 2021 – the anniversary of Anna’s murder, RAW in WAR, together with CSF, will introduce an online event focused on protection, support and solidarity with women human rights defenders in conflict. The aim of the event is to create a platform that will serve as an outreach, support and networking tool for human rights defenders in the EU and Russia.
Hybrid (online and in London, depending on the global COVID19 situation)
RAW in WAR – Reach all Women in War, UK
10 YEARS OF EU-RUSSIA RELATIONS: NEW CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE
Project date: Autumn 2021
The main goal of the event is primarily aimed towards Czech experts, civil societies and state stakeholders, some of whom stood at the beginning of the EU-Russia CSF 10 years ago, when the Forum was established in Prague in March 2011. The main idea is to bring stakeholders and like-minded individuals together to discuss past developments in EU-Russia relations over the last decade and how to proceed from the enormously complicated state of play today.
The event will complement the ongoing AMO´s activities in the area of Czech-Russian bilateral relations with this reflection and networking session, which will showcase the work of the CSF and its 10-year-anniversary in 2021 but will also bring the Czech contribution to the EU and Western relations with Russia in the past decade to attention. The idea is to develop concrete ideas and suggestions for Czech and EU diplomacy, concerning improvements for the future, particularly in the area of civil society support and people-to-people ties and engagement across Europe.
This event will take place at the margins of the expert symposium on Czech-Russian relations, which will be organised by AMO in Autumn 2021 as part of the Czech MFA sponsored initiative “Czech-Russian Troubled Relations: Where are We Now and Where to Go Next?”, which is also co-sponsored by the German Hanns Seidel foundation.
Hybrid (if the situation allows it, the event will take place both online and in Prague, Czech Republic)
Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic
Friends of Free Russia, Czech Republic
BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE EU: PRESSURE AND HATE SPEECH AGAINST RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENT DEFENDERS, AND THE ROLE OF MEDIA
Project date: November 2021
Pro-democratic civil society actors have been under constant pressure for the past several years in Russia and in many EU member states, involving unfavorable funding conditions, administrative and procedural hurdles, pressure from state authorities, threats and hate-speech by political leaders. Discourses denying European values and questioning democracy, social solidarity and equality principles are aggressively imposed by mass media – largely captured and controlled by oligarchic circles in East and South European EU members.
Some say that oppressive policies crafted by the Kremlin are being transferred to vulnerable EU countries. Others see EU’s own lack of ability to safeguard its own founding values and principles, or even to prevent its own structural and cohesion funds from being abused by greedy local elites and funneled into anti-European propaganda.
At this event, views and analyses will be exchanged, and working solutions will be compared by advocates for rights, environment and media freedom. The event will be formatted as an international round table discussion and will be held as part of BlueLink’s annual Action Time Forum gathering civil actors, experts and state institutions representatives for a dialogue on pressing issues for the civil society.
Hybrid (the round table discussion will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria and live video conferencing will be provided).
The BlueLink Foundation
CREATING A SAFE SPACE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF ACTIVISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENTS IN SIBERIA AND THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST
Project date: Autumn 2021
Civic activism across Siberia and the Russian Far East has been growing exponentially in the past several years. Active protests took place in 2020 in Khabarovsk over the arrest of the former governor Sergei Furgal, and numerous additional protests are still ongoing in various cities in Siberia and the Far East in 2021 as well. Unfortunately, over 240 cases of persecution of activists and human rights defenders have been recorded in this region since 2015. This confirms the relevance of the problem of persecution and the need to create safe space for activists and human rights defenders.
Throughout 2021, harassed activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and bloggers will be supported. Different events will strengthen them and the organisations that they belong to.