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20 March 2017
Source: editors (JC)
♦ Women of the Don leader receives Politkovskaya Award ♦
On Saturday, 11 March 2017, a large audience at the Women of the World festival at the Southbank Centre in London applauded as Valentina CHEREVATENKO, founder of the Women of the Don NGO, received a special award from Elena Kudimova, Anna Politkovskaya’s sister who lives in London.
The principal winner of the 2016 prize was Jineth Bedoya Lima, a journalist from Colombia.
The organisers of the award, the RAW in WAR charity, decided that in 2016, the tenth anniversary of the first prize award (which went to the late Natalya Estemirova), it would issue two prizes. The second 2016 award should be given, in their view, to another woman from Russia who, like Anna and Natalya, had also done outstanding work in several post-Soviet conflict zones.
For more about Valentina and the Women of the Don, see earlier items in Rights in Russia and the new Wikipedia article about her and her organisation.
Pushkin Club, Rights in Russia and RAW in WAR proudly invite you to meet a remarkable human rights veteran – Thursday, 9 March, 7.30 pm
On 11 March, at the “Women of the World” Festival on the Southbank, Valentina CHEREVATENKO will receive the Anna POLITKOVSKAYA Award from RAW in WAR. The prize is awarded annually to an outstanding woman from a conflict zone: past laureates include Malalai JOYA-YOUSAFZAI ( Afghanistan, 2013), Marie COLVIN (USA, 2012) and, in 2007, the late Natalya ESTEMIROVA (Chechnya / Russia, 1955-2009).
The evening event at PUSHKIN HOUSE on Thursday, 9 March 2017, offers a rare chance to meet and talk to Mrs Cherevatenko in a less formal setting. Come and listen to what she has to say about her activities since the early 1990s and the conditions under which the WOMEN OF THE DON have to work today. (The event will be in Russian with interpretation.)
Photo: Valentina CHEREVATENKO
Women of the Don (1993)
VALENTINA CHEREVATENKO is the founding chairwoman of the “Women of the Don”. Established in Novocherkassk (Rostov Region) in the early 1990s, the NGO has worked for more than twenty years in different fields of human rights.
“WOMEN OF THE DON” has a special emphasis on the rights of women and focus, in particular, on issues of gender discrimination, violence against women, and peace-building initiatives in conflict zones. In the 1990s and early 2000s the NGO worked in the Caucasus to ease the tensions in the region — Georgia-Abkhazia, Armenia-Azerbaijan and, naturally, in Chechnya — by appealing to the women on both sides of each conflict. More recently the organisation has concentrated on building bridges across the UKRAINE-RUSSIA divide (the town of Novocherkassk and its people have many ties, traditionally, with Ukraine).
♦“WOMEN OF THE DON” has always provided free legal advice to the public; it promotes dialogue and tolerance; and it pursues a mission to improve mutual understanding and relations between the police and members of society.
In 2014, however, the Russian Justice Ministry designated the “Women of the Don” a “foreign agent” NGO. In February 2016 the Ministry withdrew this denigrating label only to accuse its founding chairperson, a few months later, of offences under the 2012 law. Charged with “malicious evasion” of duties imposed on “NGOs that perform the functions of a foreign agent”, CHEREVATENKO is the first person to face criminal prosecution under the new law in Russia.
In Russia and abroad this decision was greeted with concern and dismay. It has been widely condemned among human rights organisations by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Frontline Defenders. among others.
[For more about Valentina’s current situation in Russian, see HERE]
Pushkin Club ● Rights in Russia ● RAW in WAR
5A Bloomsbury Square, WCIA 2TA
(nearest Underground station – Holborn)
Opening of the 'Different Wars' Exhibition at St Petersburg Academy for Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education [EU-Russia Civil Society Forum]
6 February 2017
Source: EU-Russia Civil Society Forum
EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, the St Petersburg Academy for Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education, German-Russian Exchange and the Russian office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation invite you to the Opening of the Exhibition “Different Wars: National School Textbooks on World War II” on February 13, 2017, at 4pm, in the premises of the Pedagogical Museum of the Academy for Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education (Lomonosov St. 11-13, St Petersburg, Russia, 191002).
The exhibition “Different Wars” reveals the differences in the narration and perception of the history of the World War II in modern high school textbooks of the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
The choice of the subject is evident: WWII remains one of the most painful and conflicting episodes of the European nations’ memories. In Russia, the victory in this war is one of the most important pages in the state’s history. The exhibition examines, compares and contrasts different readings of the war’s history which are proposed by school textbooks. National and thematic story-lines presented here also highlight little-known aspects of the memory of the World War II. Visitors will have an opportunity to flip through pages of textbooks and to learn the methods of history teaching in different European countries.
The exhibition was initiated by the Working Group “Historical Memory and Education” of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in close cooperation with historians, civil society activists, history teachers, and enthusiasts from all the countries involved. The Russian version of the exhibition has already been displayed in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Perm. In the European Union, the exhibition was successfully shown in Prague, Milano and Strasbourg. You can find more detailed information here: eu-russia-csf.org/index.php.
During the Opening in St. Petersburg, the introduction address will be made by Stephan Jolovan, the director of the Academy for Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education, Elena Belokurova, Steering Committee Member of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, and Alicja Wancerz-Gluza, a historian from the centre KARTA (Warsaw) and author of the exhibition. Representatives of General Consulates of Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania and Poland as well as of the German Heinrich Böll Foundation are invited to participate in the presentation.
The first Exhibition tour will be provided by Robert Latypov, Chairperson of the Perm Regional Branch of the International Memorial Society, a co-author of the exhibition.
The exhibition will run on the Academy premises until 21 April 2017. For individual tours the exhibition is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm on weekdays (Monday - Friday). Seminars for groups (high school and university students, teachers) could be organised by appointment.
Entrance is free.
Contact person: Anna Rapoport, Associate Professor, Department of Culturology Education of St. Petersburg Academy for Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education, tel. + 7-921-348-94-94, email@example.com
Please take a look at a small selection of publications in the Russian media about the exhibition “Different Wars”
The presentation in Moscow - https://tvrain.ru/teleshow/rossija_eto_evropa/interpretatsija_vojny-406483/
The presentation in Yekaterinburg - yeltsin.ru/event/raznye-voyny-odna-pobeda/
The presentation in Perm - https://www.newsko.ru/articles/nk-3241380.html
The presentation in Novosibirsk - tayga.info/photo/2016/10/20/%7E130561 /
Source:'Opening of the "Different Wars" Exhibition at the St. Petersburg Academy for Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education,' EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, 6 February 2017
See also:'Разные войны,' RFE/RL, 14 February 2017
Анна Плотникова, 'Возможна ли совместная историческая память о Второй мировой войне?' Voice of America, 14 February 2017
The BEARR Trust 25th Anniversary Conference, 11 November 2016
“25 Years On: the development of health and welfare NGOs in the BEARR region”
For our anniversary conference we shall be looking at what has changed in the context of NGO work in the last 25 years in the countries of our region, and how NGOs have managed to adapt (or not in some cases) to meet the new challenges and opportunities. We will also look at prospects for the next few years in these rapidly-changing times.
We have sought to invite colleagues who have worked with us over a long period – as partners, grant recipients, conference speakers and in other activities. We are delighted that so many old friends are able to join us, and look forward to introducing them to colleagues in the UK and elsewhere.
If you would like to attend, please complete the booking form here.
When and where: 11 November 2016, at CAN-Mezzanine, 32-36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH
Programme (a printable version can be downloaded here)
9.00 Registration and coffee
9.30 Welcome and Introduction Robert Brinkley, Chairman of The BEARR Trust
Chair: Robert Brinkley
Dr Eleanor Bindman, Post-doctoral Fellow, Queen Mary University of London
Elena Topoleva, Director, Agency for Social Information (ASI), Moscow
11.30 Staying the course: evolution and survival
Chair: Michael Rasell, BEARR Trustee
Anna Garchakova, Belarusian Children’s Hospice, Minsk
Arkady Tyurin, Director, ‘Put Domoi’ (The Road Home), St Petersburg
12.30 Buffet lunch
13.45 Embracing change: new directions, new mechanisms
Chair: Marcia Levy, BEARR Trustee
Anna Bitova. Centre for Curative Pedagogics, Moscow
Nino Dvalidze, Vice-Rector of Ilia State University, Tbilisi; Director of its Child Development Unit
15.15 New directions: technology, format and funding
Chair: Robert Scallon, BEARR Trustee
Charles Buxton, INTRAC, Bishkek
Yaroslav Minkin, STAN, Ukraine
16.15 Concluding session:
Chair: Nicola Ramsden, BEARR Trustee
16.30 Close and networking reception
Participants are invited to stay after the conference to enjoy a glass of wine and further opportunities for networking.
* in the countries BEARR deals with: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus. Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan.
For details of the speakers at the conference, click here.
Event: 6th October 2016. Henry Jackson Society hosts panel discussion on human rights, civil society and democracy in Russia
TIME: 6th October 2016, 13:00-14:00
VENUE: The Henry Jackson Society, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, SW1P 4QP
SPEAKERS: Dmitri Bartenev, Valentina Cherevatenko, Robert Latypov, Grigory Melkonyants and Natalia Taubina, Rights in Russia
To attend please visit: Henry Jackson Society
Since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency in 2012, there has been a marked deterioration in the environment for civil society groups in the country, especially for those engaged in promoting human rights. Notably, there has been a raft of new restrictive legislation on public assembly, freedom of expression, the right of association and homosexuality. As Human Rights Watch has reported, as of today the so-called ‘foreign agent law’ of 2012 has been used to brand over 144 civil society groups as ‘foreign agents,’ courts have imposed large fines on many groups, and over 20 have closed down. Meanwhile, to date seven prominent US donors have been banned from working in Russia under the 2015 law on ‘undesirable foreign organizations,’ a law Amnesty International condemned as an attempt to ‘isolate Russian civil society, intimidate human rights defenders and suffocate the free press.’
The Henry Jackson Society, the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, and Rights in Russia are pleased to invite you to an event featuring Dmitri Bartanev, Valentina Cherevatenko, Robert Latypov, Grigory Melkonyants and Natalia Taubina. This group of leading Russian civil society activists will discuss the challenges of promoting human rights, civil society and democracy in Russia.
Dmitri Bartenev is an attorney based in St. Petersburg. In cooperation with Russian and international human rights organisations, Bartenev has represented clients in many high-profile anti-discrimination cases in fields such as mental disability, LGBT rights, and freedom of speech and association. Dmitri graduated from Petrozavodsk State University as a lawyer in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in international law from St. Petersburg State University where he also teaches international law and human rights as an associate professor.
Valentina Cherevatenko is the chair of the “Women of the Don” Union. The “Women of the Don” Union, originally established in 1993, has worked for more than twenty years in different areas of human rights, with a special emphasis on the rights of women: in particular, it has focused on gender discrimination, violence against women, and peace-building initiatives in the North Caucasus region.
The Justice Ministry designated “Women of the Don” as a ‘foreign agent’ NGO in 2014. In June 2016 Cherevatenko became the first individual to face criminal prosecution under the ‘foreign agent’ law.
Robert Latypov is chair of the Perm Regional Chapter of the International Memorial Society, and heads the Youth Memorial Action Group. Since 2000, Robert has been organizing and conducting national and international volunteer camps in the Perm Region. An important ongoing project by Perm Memorial is the Memory Rivers expeditions, in which young people visit former locations of GULAG special settlements and prison camps in remote districts of Perm Region.
Grigory Melkonyants is co-chair of Russia’s leading independent election monitor Golos, the Movement for the Defence of Voters’ Rights. Since 2005 Golos has been a member of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO). In 2012 Golos was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. In 2013 the Ministry of Justice designated Golos as a ‘foreign agent’ on the grounds that it had received foreign funding (this was a reference to the 7,700 EUR Sakharov Prize – despite the fact that Golos had declined to accept the money).
Natalia Taubina is the director of the Public Verdict Foundation. Natalia’s areas of expertise are international human rights standards, human rights in the work of law enforcement bodies, and NGO management. Under Natalia’s leadership, Public Verdict Foundation has created important programmes offering free legal aid and rehabilitation support to victims of human rights abuses committed by law enforcement officers. Natalia is a member of the Council of Experts of the federal Human Rights Ombudsman and is an expert of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights. In 2013 Natalia received Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award. In 2015 Natalia was laureate of the 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
Event: 5th October 2016. Equal Rights Trust launches latest report on discrimination against LGBT people in Russia
Join the Equal Rights Trust for a panel event to launch the Trust's latest report at Kings College London on Wednesday 5 October.
Source: Equal Rights Trust
The report, written in partnership with the Russian LGBT Network, identifies cases of discrimination touching many aspects of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and activists in Russia. An analysis of more than two decades of jurisprudence, the report explores how courts have responded to a wide range of issues, including hate crime, freedom of expression (including the notorious “anti-propaganda” laws), family rights and discrimination at work. Its conclusions are stark.
The report argues that while there is some positive judicial practice to be welcomed, on the whole courts have repeatedly sanctioned discriminatory laws and actions and, in many instances, judicial reasoning is based on homophobic stereotypes. It concludes that there is an urgent need for action to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in Russia and a need for the international community to hold the state to account.
Panel of Speakers
The Equal Rights Trust will be joined at the launch by a distinguished panel of speakers. Key findings from the report will be presented. The expert panel will discuss the role of the Russian judiciary in upholding fundamental rights and reflect on recent developments and debates in the recognition of LGBT rights internationally.
Chair: Ms Joanna Whiteman, Co-Director, Equal Rights Trust.
Mr Dmitri Bartenev, Lawyer and the Report’s Lead Researcher.
Mrs Jane Henderson, Senior Lecturer in Russian Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law, Kings College London.
Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law, Kings College London.
Reserve Your Place
The report launch will take place at SW1.17, The Dickson Poon School of Law, Somerset House East Wing, King's College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS from 6.30pm – 7.45pm.
We hope you will be able to stay for drinks and canapes served after the launch where there will be the opportunity to meet with the report’s authors, speakers and fellow academics, lawyers, activists and others.
Tickets for the event are £7 (£4 for students) and we encourage you to book your place early to avoid disappointment. Purchase a Ticket
For any enquires please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are extremely grateful to our event sponsor, Rights in Russia.
Rights in Russia is a leading resource for those who want to know more about the human rights situation in Russia, about Russian human rights defenders and their organisations. At a time when the Russian government’s indifference and hostility often places the work and lives of the country’s human rights defenders in jeopardy, Rights in Russia believes their voices need and deserve to be widely heard, by civil society and by governments around the world. Its four main goals are to: 1) to provide information; 2) to promote international discussion and debate; 3) to act as a channel for Russian human rights defenders and organisations to reach an audience outside Russia; and 4) to promote knowledge of, and contacts with, Russian human rights groups.
Event: 4th October 2016. Defending Civil Rights in Today’s Russia: An evening with Grigory Melkonyants and Valentina Cherevatenko
Rights in Russia is delighted to announce in partnership with the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum an event in London on Tuesday, 4th October 2016, at which two of Russia’s leading civil society activists will speak: Valentina Cherevatenko, chair of Women of the Don, a human rights NGO based in Novocherkassk, Rostov region; and Grigory Melkonyants, co-chair of the independent election monitor Golos, based in Moscow.
The event will be held at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA, on Tuesday, 4 October 2016, 6:30pm- 8pm. There will be an informal reception after the event from 8pm – 9pm. To book places, please visit The Free Word Centre. For more information, you are welcome to e-mail email@example.com. This event is free of charge. However, there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the organizers to help cover the costs of the event.
GRIGORY MELKONYANTS is co-chair of Russia’s preeminent independent election monitor Golos, the Movement for the Defence of Voters’ Rights. Golos was originally founded in 2000. Since 2005 Golos has been a member of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO). Together with leading Russian experts in 2008- 2010 Golos worked on creating an Electoral Code. In 2012 Golos was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. In 2013 the Ministry of Justice designated Golos as a ‘foreign agent’ on the grounds that it had received foreign funding (this was a reference to the 7,700 EUR Sakharov Prize – despite the fact that Golos had declined to accept the money) and that in creating the Electoral Code the organization had engaged in ‘political activities’. In 2013, Golos re-established itself as a ‘Movement’, bringing together all those who engaged in independent election monitoring in Russia since 2000. More recently, in 2014 and 2015, Golos has received two grants of state-funding – the so-called ‘Presidential Grants’ - for its work on election monitoring.
VALENTINA CHEREVATENKO is the chair of the “Women of the Don” Union and of the “Women of the Don” Foundation for Civil Society Development, two NGOs based in Novocherkassk in the Rostov Region (South Russia). The “Women of the Don” Union, originally established in 1993, has worked for more than twenty years in different areas of human rights, with a special emphasis on the rights of women: in particular, it has focused on gender discrimination, violence against women, and peace-building initiatives in the North Caucasus region. “Women of the Don” also provides free legal advice to the public, promotes dialogue and tolerance, and has worked to improve relations between the police and members of society. The Justice Ministry designated both “Women of the Don” Union (in 2014) and the “Women of the Don” Foundation (in 2015) as ‘foreign agent’ NGOs. In February 2016 the Ministry of Justice officially removed the “Women of the Don” Union from its list of foreign agents. In June 2016, however, Valentina Cherevatenko became the first individual to face criminal prosecution under the ‘foreign agent’ law for the alleged ‘malicious evasion of duties imposed by the law on non-profit organisations performing the functions of a foreign agent,’ a move condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Frontline Defenders and other human rights organizations.
"Defending Media Rights in Russia Today" - a conversation with Galina Arapova on 23 June 2016 at Pushkin House
Article 19 and Rights in Russia are delighted to announce a talk by Galina Arapova, one of Russia’s leading media rights lawyers.
The event will be held at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1A 2TA, on Thursday 23 June 2016, starting at 6:30pm.
Galina Arapova, who lives in Voronezh, Russia, is director and senior media lawyer at the NGO Mass Media Defence Centre (MMDC). The Centre was established in 1995 to protect the rights of journalists and media outlets and promote freedom of expression standards in Russia. Under Galina’s leadership, it has become one of a small number of regionally-based human rights groups to have a nationwide impact, defending cases and advising lawyers from Siberia to Dagestan.
A practising media lawyer, Galina has strong experience in defending media in defamation and privacy cases and other media related issues. She has taken a number of cases regarding violation of Article 10 (“Freedom of Expression”) of the European Convention to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. She is a member of the International Media Lawyers Association, and a member of Voronezh City Public Chamber.
More recently Galina and the MMDC have been forced to defend their right to defend others. The Mass Media Defence Centre was investigated under the new law concerning “Foreign Agents” and in February 2015 was declared a “foreign agent”. In October last year MMDC was fined 300,000 roubles for refusing to join the Register of Foreign Agents. The battle in the courts is ongoing.
Galina is a trustee of Article 19 and a member of the advisory council of Rights in Russia. The Mass Media Defence Centre is also a partner of the London-based Media Legal Defence Initiative.
There will be an informal reception after the event.
The event will be under the Chatham House rule. To confirm your attendance, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our Facebook page: Defending Media Rights in Russia Today
This event is free of charge. However, donations to the organizers will be welcome.
On 7 June 2016 the BEARR trust 25th Anniversary Lecture will feature Professor Bill Bowring speaking on “25 years on: the Rule of Law in Russia and the republics”
From the BEARR Trust website:
The BEARR Trust is marking its 25th Anniversary by looking at key developments in our region over that period, and prospects for the future. This year’s Annual Lecture, kindly hosted once again by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), One Exchange Square, London EC2A 2JN, will be at 6pm on 7 June 2016.
Professor Bill Bowring is a leading expert on our region, teaches international law and human rights at Birkbeck College, London, and is a practising barrister. His latest book is Law, Rights and Ideology in Russia: Landmarks in the Destiny of a Great Power (Routledge 2013), of which copies will be available at the lecture. (For more about Professor Bowring, see below.)
The event will be under the Chatham House rule. The lecture will be followed by a reception, which will allow for further discussion and networking with others with an interest in the field.
The BEARR Trust is a UK-based organisation set up to help children and other vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the South Caucasus. We believe the best way to do this is to help small NGOs in the region to build knowledge, know-how, skills and contacts including with those doing similar work in the UK.
The lecture is free, and all are welcome. However, this is The BEARR Trust’s main fund-raising event of the year, and guests are invited to make an advance donation of £25 per person. All proceeds will go towards BEARR’s work to support health and welfare and to strengthen civil society through our Small Grants Scheme.
Date of original post: 16 December 2014
When: Wednesday 21 January 2015, 6.30-8pm
Speakers: Sergei A. Golubok, Dmitri Makarov, Roman Udot
Respondent: Dr Mary McAuley
Chair: Professor Margot Light
Twitter hashtag: #LSERussia
Background: An unprecedented number of laws have been adopted in Russia over the past two years which dramatically restrict the activities of all independent non-governmental organisations, and particularly those working for civil and political rights. The new laws, such as the "foreign agents" law, threaten not only the organisations but also endanger their staff, members and supporters. The law on treason can lead to ten or more years of imprisonment for the vaguest of reasons, such as simply sharing information with non-Russian organisations and outsiders.
The event: Our panel of human rights advocates and experts will provide a first-hand insight into the difficulties of working under such conditions, and propose what can be done to stop the further erosion of human rights in Russia.
The event is free to attend and open to all, with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.
For more information see HERE
General information about coming to an event at LSE.
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