Podcast No. 56: Simon & Sergei – with Evgeniya Chirikova

This week our guest on the podcast is the Russian civil society activist Evgeniya Chirikova. Evgeniya Chirikova is especially well known for her campaign to save Khimki Forest. She was the leader of the movement Environmental Defence of the Moscow Region (Eco-defence) and Movement to Defend the Khimki Forest, as well as a member of the organizing committee of Strategy 31 and a member of the Coordination Council of the Russian opposition. She now lives in Estonia. To learn more about her work today, you can visit the website: activatica.org.

The questions we ask Evgeniya Chirikova in the podcast include: why do you live in Estonia? how did you become an activist? What was Strategy 31? How do you assess the situation of human rights in Russia? and the situation of human rights defenders and organisations? What do figures like Boris Nemtsov and Alexei Navalny mean to you? Why did Aleksei Navalny, now a prisoner of conscience, return to Russia? How do you view the January 23 2021 protests in Russia? What is the future for democracy and human rights in Russia? How do you feel about life in Estonia and how would you compare life there with life in Russia?

The podcast is in the Russian language.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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: ‘ “It simply became impossible for us to work in Russia after the foreign agent law was adoopted, but we try to help Russian civil society from a safer distance, and to do so more effectively.” Evgenia Chirikova needs no introduction. Her enthusiasm, affability and energy have contributed to her being known by so many. She is loved and respected.

Alas, her native country tries to intimidate and squeeze out its patriots, distorting everything: the notions of patriotism and love of one’s homeland held by the Kremlin do not include ecology and justice. Zhenya and her family have moved to Estonia, where she does a hundred and one things, including sprucing up her farmstead, which stands close to the sea.

Simon Cosgrove and I talked to Zhenya this weekend – what a great story she tells! We talked about the defence of Khimki Forest and remembered the politician Sergei Mironov who was once a supporter of the forest defenders. Saturday’s events in Russian cities made us think of the Strategy 31, a campaign to defend the right of assembly in Russia, and so much more.

Eesti on minu teine kodu, Zhenya Chirikova told us, now in her sixth year of doing what she loves in the country that has become her second home. But listening to Zhenya, you realize that her home is the whole world.”

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.

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