Our guest on the podcast this week is Andrei Kalikh, a human rights researcher, journalist, and activist with a special interest in the issue of corruption. In the past, Andrei worked as programme director at the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights and he has been a board member of Perm Memorial Society. Until recently, Andrei lived in St. Petersburg. He recently left Russia and is currently in Israel.
The questions we ask Andrei include:
- When the war began on February 24, 2022, did it come as a surprise to civil society in Russia?
- Why did the war begin on February 24, 2022?
- There were many protests in Russia at the start of the war. You were involved in some of these protests. What was the atmosphere at the protests? How did the authorities respond?
- Nowadays there are fewer protests. Why?
- At the beginning of the conflict there were estimates that about 250,000 people had left Russia because of the war. Who were these people and why did they leave?
- What help is available to those who have left Russia?
- To what extent is there now an “anti-Russian” atmosphere in public opinion outside Russia because of the war?
- Many people say one of the reasons the Russian military has not been successful in Ukraine is because of corruption. You worked on anti-corruption projects in Russia for many years. How strong is the corruption in Russia?
- What do you think will happen in the next few weeks and months?
You can listen to the podcast in full here:
Given the length of the podcast, for ease of listening we have also divided it up into seven parts:
Part One: Civil society; attitude to the war; anti-war protests:
Part Two: Public opinion about the war; why are people leaving Russia:
Part Three: ‘Anti-Russian’ attitudes outside Russia:
Part Four: Corruption in Russia:
Part Five: Events in Siversky:
Part Six: Lavrov and his anti-Semitic remarks:
Part Seven: The future:
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook:
Russian human rights activist Andrei Kalikh took part in protests against the war unleashed by the Kremlin. It was not long after the first bombings and shelling of Ukraine: Andrei could not remain indifferent and on February 27 he stood in the centre of St. Petersburg holding a placard to express his opinion in the most peaceful way possible. The police were brutal; no one was spared. They grabbed him, twisted his arm, threw him in a van and took him away.
“One of the reasons for the outbreak of this war was the lack of resistance from civil society, the opposition movement and the protest movement. We have all lost; we were weak. I feel personally responsible for this,” says Andrei Kalikh. A former programme director at the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a board member of the Perm Memorial Society, a human rights and civil society activist and journalist, Andrei Kalikh was our guest on our latest podcast as part of the Rights in Russia project. We talked about many things, including protest and civic activism, not only in big cities, but also far from them. Andrei told us about the protest in the village of Siversky in Leningrad region, not far from where he lived until recently. And in this quiet dacha settlement, known to us from Nabokov’s memoirs, as it turns out, there are people who care too. People who are ready to express their position publicly and find a variety of ways to do so. Andrei Kalikh, like many other human rights activists, was forced to leave Russia. He told us that for him living in Russia had become impossible and shameful. “Everything that had been achieved has been wiped out by this war,” he told us.