Person of the Week: Valentina Cherevatenko

posted 20 Mar 2017, 08:29 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Mar 2017, 08:40 ]
On 11 March 2017 Valentina Cherevatenko, founder and head of the Women of the Don, an NGO based in Novocherkassk, Rostov region, received the second Anna Politkovskaya award for 2016, presented by the the RAW in WAR charity, to mark the tenth anniversary of the award by celebrating the achievements of a woman from Russia who has done outstanding work in post-Soviet conflict zones (the first recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya prize was the late Natalya Estemirova, who was murdered in 2009). The award was presented by Elena Kudimova, Anna Politkovskaya’s sister. The principal winner of the 2016 prize was Jineth Bedoya Lima, a journalist from Colombia.

Valentina Cherevatenko is a veteran of human rights and peace-building initiatives in southern Russia, the Caucasus and, more recently, Ukraine. She is the founder and chair of the Women of the Don NGO, which was set up in 1993 to assist local women left unemployed following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Valentina grew up in Novocherkassk in the Rostov region, a city that witnessed, during her childhood, the 1962 mass shooting of striking workers (see Novocherkassk massacre). 

In 2014, the Union of the Women of the Don was declared a 'foreign agent' under a law introduced in 2012. Two years later that designation was withdrawn, though it still applied to a second NGO also set by Valentina and her colleagues, the Women of the Don Foundation. In late June 2016 Valentina Cherevatenko was the first individual to be charged with 'malicious evasion' of the 'foreign agent' law, and if convicted could pay a heavy fine or be given a two-year sentence in a prison colony. The case, which has aroused concern worldwide, is on-going.

For more articles about Valentina Cherevatenko on Rights in Russia, see HERE

'Valentina Cherevatenko (Russia) 2016: Winner of the Special Anna Politkovskaya Award,' RAW in WAR 
'Valentina Cherevatenko,' Wikipedia
'Cherevatenko fêted in London,' Rights in Russia, 20 March 2017
Valentina Cherevatenko: "They haven’t broken us yet”, BBC Russian Service, 10 March 2017 [translation: Rights in Russia]