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NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2014


TOP NEWS
Applications for the 5th General Assembly Open Now >>
Contact Group EU-Russia - Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums Established >>
Results of the Project Selection for the Sub-Grant Programme >>

STEERING COMMITTEE

Statement "The Memorial Centre of History of Political Repressions "Perm 36" Should Be Preserved" >>

MEDIA
Interview with Stefanie Schiffer, Founder and Director of "European Exchange" >>
Introduction to the Forum's Communication Tools >>

MEMBERS' VIEWS
Pontis Foundation: Call for Applications - Study Trip to Slovakia for Representatives of Russian NGOs >>
Robert Bosch Stiftung: Academy Robert Bosch Fellowships at Chatham House  >>
Center for Information and Analysis "SOVA": Ukraine Upsets the Nationalist Apple-Cart - Xenophobia, Radical Nationalism and Efforts to Counteract it in Russia during the First Half of 2014 >>

TOP NEWS

Apllications for the 5th General Assembly Open Now

We invite Forum members and observers from EU and Russian NGOs to fill out the online application to attend the Forum's 5th General Assembly (GA) in Tallinn, Estonia on November 27-29, 2014.

The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. The GA in Tallinn will be opened by the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves and the Plenary Session "EU and Russia - Together or Apart? What Do the Sanctions Mean for Civil Society and Its Work?"

The Forum members and interested NGO representatives will discuss internal and external development as well as strategy, on-going projects and prospective networking opportunities. Finally, the GA will elect the new Steering Committee and Working Groups' (WG) Co-Ordinators.

Morning sessions on November 27th and a panel discussion on November 28th are open to the public.

The preliminary Programme of the General Assembly is available online. Forum members are welcome to send their suggestions for amendments to the Programme until September 15th to events@eu-russia-csf.org.

More information on the General Assembly may be found here.

TOP NEWS

Contact Group EU-Russia - Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums Established

Exchanges between the EU-Russia and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums, initiated in April in Prague and continued at the Round Table "Civil Society Ukraine-Russia-EU" in May 2014 in Berlin resulted in the establishment of a Contact Group of both Forums.

For the initial phase of cooperation in 2014, the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum will be represented by


Barbara von Ow-Freytag, Head of the EU-Russia CSF Advisory Board (Germany-Czech Republic)
Katarzyna Batko-Tołuć, Citizens Network Watchdog (Poland)
Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)
Anna Sevortian, Executive Director, Secretariat of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum (Russia-Germany)
Ksenia Vakhrusheva, Ecological Human Rights Centre "Bellona" (Russia)
Andrei Yurov, Member of the Presidential Council for Development of Civil Society and Human Rights / International Youth Human Rights Movement (Russia)


The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum will be represented by

Leila Alieva, Center for National and International Studies (Azerbaijan)
Jeff Lovitt, PASOS (Czech Republic)
Hennady Maksak, Polissa Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Ukraine)
Jan Piek
ło, PAUCI Foundation (Poland)
Kristina Vaičiūnaitė, Eastern Europe Studies Center (Lithuania)
Natalia Yerashevich, Director, Secretariat of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (Belgium)


The mandate and plans of the Contact Group will be communicated in the next issues of the newsletter.

TOP NEWS

Results of the Project Selection for the Sub-Grant Programme

The Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is happy to announce five projects approved with its Sub-grant Programme. The purpose of the sub-granting is to support the efforts of Forum's Working Groups of the Forum and their common initiatives projects on the most topical EU-Russia issues.

The spectrum of thematic areas of the projects ranges from video production about the human right activists in Russia and its promotion in film festivals, social and web media to strategic development of the Forum with a particular attention on the Working Group on social issues; from increasing networking and promotion of civic education to corruption cases linked with foreign investments in Russia that cause environmental and social harm and, finally, a temporary exhibition reflecting conflicting memories in Russia and different EU countries with a special focus on the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II.

The first results of the projects will be presented at the General Assembly in Tallinn in November 2014. The Sub-grant Programme will run until spring 2015: its final outcomes to be presented at the meeting in Berlin organised by the Forum's Secretariat in May 2015.  

STEERING COMMITTEE

Statement "The Memorial Centre of History of Political Repressions "Perm 36" Should Be Preserved"

The Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum calls on the Government of the Perm Region and its Governor Viktor Basargin to immediately resume co-operation with the Autonomous Nonprofit Organisation (ANO) “Memorial Centre of History of Political Repression “Perm 36” (Perm Region, Russia) and to preserve the unique site which is the only existing GULAG museum in Russia in its exposition and restored integrity.

“Perm 36“ is the only museum-camp in the world from the GULAG and post-GULAG era (1972-1988). The camp was built in 1942  but had been located on this place since 1946. Usually such camps were in use for no more than 5-6 years, but “Perm 36” had been open – in different modifications – until the Perestroika. Unlike other sites, in “Perm-36” original GULAG buildings – a barrack, a bathhouse, an isolation cell – survived intact. In 1996, “Perm-36” opened to the public as a museum, co-founded by the International Memorial Society and the Perm Branch of the “Memorial“ Society. Historian Viktor Shmyrov and his wife Tatyana Kursina, Director and Executive Director of the ANO “Memorial Centre of History of Political Repressions “Perm 36” respectively, have devoted their energies to museum’s development from its initial plans.

In 2014, the institution was split upon initiative of the regional government into two organisations - a state-owned one, which possesses buildings and infrastructure of the former GULAG camp, and a nonprofit one (ANO), which owns museum's collection, runs exhibitions and related events – conferences, workshops, summer schools. (This move was explained as a need for the accurate implementation of the Federal Programme “On Commemoration of the Victims of Political Repressions” (see below) with “Perm 36” as its integral part.) ANO is widely known in Russia and abroad for organising the annual International Civil Forum “Pilorama” which has been the main regional event to address such topics as historical memory, fundamental freedoms, democracy development, and others.

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MEDIA

Interview with Stefanie Schiffer, Founder and Director of "European Exchange"

To watch the interview please follow the link

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum (CSF): Thank you very much for welcoming us at your office and for agreeing on this interview with the CSF. You are one of the founders of the CSF, what is the Forum’s value for you?

Stefanie Schiffer: The idea to set up this Forum emerged, when we understood that the government of the Russian Federation did not agree to join the EU Eastern Partnership Programme and by that also excluded the civil society of Russia from this intense cooperation with European structures. We understood that leaving the civil society of Russia out of this more intense exchange and cooperation with the EU would have long-lasting consequences. So, we tried in fact to set up this forum as an answer and to include Russia into this network. That is an aim of the Forum, and it is a challenge, it is a big task and it is a big work for everybody, who is involved in the work of the Forum.

Your organisation, “European Exchange”, has been mostly involved in cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Southern Caucasus and so on, but you also served as Director of the “German-Russian Exchange”, is that maybe also part of your motivation to work with Russia or maybe there are other reasons?

Sure, my work with Russia in the 90´s, a long time ago, and with Russia in the course of the 90´s but also the 2000´s, made me be aware of the big significance of the development of the Russian Federation, not only for Russia and the EU but for the whole Eastern European area. So, it was really the knowledge I got when working with the Russian civil society, what was very important for understanding the need for such a Forum. I think whoever works with Russia, knows Russia and understands Russia, knows that the development of Russian politics, of Russian (civil) society, is of most importance for the development of democracy in the Eastern Partnership countries. The links between Russia and former Soviet Union states are still until today very tight. Therefore, leaving Russian civil society out of European civil society cooperation would be a big mistake and we must draw much attention to develop a good, reliable working relationship with the Russian civil society.

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MEDIA

Introduction to the Forum's Communication Tools

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum has started building stronger online presence.

Along with the official website, the Forum has re-vamped pages on Facebook, VKontakte, and Twitter. On social networks, all the latest information on the Forum's work and activities may be followed up. A new channel is YouTube, where related up-to-date videos - interviews with Forum's members, discussions from the General Assembly and other important events, etc. - will be uploaded on a regular basis. Besides, information on the Forum in a slightly different style is available on Wikipedia as well.

Please feel free to join the Forum's pages on social networks and further platforms and contribute to the Forum's work both online and offline. Should you have any comments or suggestions on the communication policy of the Forum, don't hesitate to contact its PR Co-Ordinator Sergei Tereshenkov.

MEMBERS' VIEWS

Pontis Foundation: Call for Applications - Study Trip to Slovakia for Representatives of Russian NGOs

NGO representatives, including those coming not only from Saint-Petersburg and Moscow, but also from other regions of Russia are invited to take part in the study trip "Support Civil Society in Russia" to Slovakia on September 22-26, 2014.

The event is organised by the Pontis Foundation, one of the Forum's members. Key topics of the research trip are advocacy, policy making involvement, and transparency.

All expenses are covered by the organisers.

Working language: English
Application deadline: as soon as possible

 

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Robert Bosch Stiftung: Academy Robert Bosch Fellowships at Chatham House

 

Chatham House, in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, hosts Fellows from among the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia.

The Academy Robert Bosch Fellowship at Chatham House is intended to provide an opportunity for the next generation of scholars from the region to develop their skills and understanding of critical issues facing the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia, build a global network with policy and academic communities in the UK, Germany, and the EU more broadly, and to enable them to contribute to positive change in their home countries and the wider region.

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Center for Information and Analysis "SOVA": Ukraine Upsets the Nationalist Apple-Cart - Xenophobia, Radical Nationalism and Efforts to Counteract it in Russia during the First Half of 2014

Activity of nationalist groups and organisations in Russia in the first half of 2014 was largely determined by foreign policy events - specifically, by Russia's involvement in the events unfolding in Ukraine, the Center for Information and Analysis "SOVA", a Forum's member, considers.

Russian nationalists were only active in their public campaigning early in the year, that is, before the conflict in Ukraine entered its acute phase and became the focus of public attention. As soon as the Ukrainian events displaced everything else on the political agenda, the public activity of the ultra-right started to decline. Moreover, the “Ukrainian question” split the ultra-right milieu into two opposing groups – the ones who saw the new Kiev authorities as “Banderites” harassing the ethnic Russians of the South-Eastern regions, and those who saw the events in Kiev as an example of a nationalist revolution.

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