This week we our guest on the podcast is Svetlana Astrakhantseva, executive director of the Moscow Helsinki Group. Svetlana Astrakhantseva is an economist, lawyer and law professor, and human rights activist. She has been working with the Moscow Helsinki Group since 2008 and has been executive director of MHG since 2016. She is co-coordinator of the Group for Assistance to the Russian-Ukrainian Human Rights Dialogue and a member of the Coordination Council of the Civic Solidarity International Platform.
The topics discussed on our podcast are: becoming a human rights defender in today’s Russia; what the Moscow Helsinki Group does; whether there is dialogue today between the human rights community and the authorities; the possibility of civic oversight of government bodies in Russia; and the prospects for human rights in Russia.
The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.
This podcast is in Russian. You can listen to it in full here:
Given the length of the podcast, for your convenience we have also divided it into six parts that you can listen to separately.
Part One: Becoming a human rights activist; working for the Moscow Helsinki Group:
Part Two: The work of monitoring human rights; what impediments are caused by the law on ‘foreign agents’:
Part Three: Dialogue with the authorities; the heritage of Liudmila Alekseeva and afterwards:
Part Four: The members of Moscow Helsinki Group:
Part Five: Training human rights monitors; monitoring the police:
Part Six: The future of human rights in Russia:
“It’s always been important to me to help people, ever since I first became a Young Pioneer. You always turn around and help someone who’s in trouble.”
“You don’t become a human rights activist. It’s a kind of state of mind.”
“While working in business, I kept asking myself the question: why aren’t our laws working?”
“I came to MHG as an ordinary employee, a specialist in finance. And when I came here, after getting to know people and reading books, I realized that I was finally in the place that was right for me. It was easy to get better every day around these people. It was fate that brought me to MHG.”