Podcast No. 62: Simon & Sergei – with Jens Siegert

This week our guest on the podcast is Jens Siegert. Jens is a German citizen who has lived in Russia for many years. From 1999 to 2015 he headed the office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Moscow. More recently he was head of the European Union project ‘Public Diplomacy. The EU and Russia.’ He is the author of the book 111 Reasons to Love Russia (the book is in German). It has to be said that Jens is the first person who appears twice in our podcast!

The questions we discuss on the podcast include: the coronavirus in Moscow; the poisoning and return of Aleksei Navalny; Amnesty International’s view of Navalny; is there a crisis in Russia; EU-Russia relations; what can the EU do in response to Russia’s human rights violations; policing public assemblies in the EU; German politics after Angela Merkel; the future of Russia; a new book; the meaning of some intriguing Russian words.

The podcast is in Russian. You can listen to it in full here:

Given the length of the podcast, we have also divided it into four sections that you can listen to separately.

Part One: Coronavirus; Aleksei Navalny; and Amnesty International:

Part Two: Is there a crisis in Russia?

Part Three: EU-Russia relations, economic and political:

Part Four: The future of Russia; a new book; some key Russian words:

You can also listen to the podcast on Podcasts.com,  SoundCloud,  Spotify  and  iTunes

The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “There is a knock at the door. ‘Who’s there?’ And the answer is ‘Svoyi.’ How do you translate ‘svoyi’ [roughly ‘your own’] and ‘chuzhoi’ [roughly ‘alien’] into German? There is no such thing in Germany, it cannot be translated. So said Jens Siegert who is finishing a new book about Russia to be called, In Principle Russia. An Encounter in 22 Concepts. What is meant by the Russian words vlast, gopnik, propiska, geroi, Evropa, siloviki, SMI? The aim of the book, Jens said, is to try to convey to the German reader what is going on in the heads and hearts of people living in Russia. In our latest podcast, Simon Cosgrove and I spoke with Jens, the longtime director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Moscow office and more recently head of the European Union project ‘Public Diplomacy. The EU and Russia.’ The conversation lasted more than an hour and among the many issues discussed were: Navalny and Amnesty International; what leverage the West has; what sanctions can do; the head of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany after Angela Merkel; Armin Lachet, and his chances of becoming Chancellor. An excellent Russian speaker, Jens, will give you all 111 reasons why you should love Russia. He is a great storyteller, let’s listen to him…

Simon Cosgrove adds: If you want to listen to this podcast on the podcasts.com website and it doesn’t seem to play, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.

Leave a Reply