Podcast No. 81. Simon & Sergei – with Elena Belokurova

This week our guest on the podcast is Elena Belokurova. Elena is a political scientist specializing in the study of civil society and a civic activist from St. Petersburg. She is the director of the organisation Mosty [‘Bridges’].

The questions discussed in this podcast include: early career; the NGO Bridges; Russian civil society in the 1990s; Russian civil society under Putin; comparison of Germany and EU with Russia in terms of civil society; the EU-Russia Forum; St Petersburg; examples of successful NGOs in the city; the law on ‘foreign agents’; the law on ‘undesirable’ organisations; the future of civil society and human rights in Russia.

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

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

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

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

Part One: Bridges – German Russian Exchange – Career:

Part Two: Civil society in the 1990s – Civil society under Putin – Differences between civil society in Russia and in German – Relations between civil society in Russia and civil societies in the EU – the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum – the UK today:

Part Three: St. Petersburg – Civil society – Young people – Protests – ‘Foreign agent’ law – ‘Undesirable foreign organisations’ law:

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: They say it is necessary to build bridges, not walls. It is something that is relevant for both politicians and civil society activists. And while domestic politicians have recently been getting away with building walls, fortunately there are people building bridges, and there are many such people. Simon Cosgrove and I spoke last week with Elena Belokurova, director of Bridges. This is a long-standing organisation, in fact, for many years based in Ligovka Street, St. Petersburg, and still there now. They used to be known under a different name, but the wall builders forced a change of name. But what these people do does not change: they build bridges of peaceful international cooperation, and these bridges will serve to develop civil societies through international exchanges. These bridges will help broaden perspectives and unleash the creativity of many people, including through international experiences. Elena Belokurova told us about the many projects, achievements of Bridges, along with some ideas and plans for the future. Bridges: International Exchanges, Cooperation, Creativity has brilliant partners in many different countries and cities. The work continues.

Simon Cosgrove adds:  A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.

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