This week our guest on the podcast is Lev Markovich Shlosberg. Lev Markovich is a Russian politician, a civil society and human rights activist, and a journalist. He is chair of Yabloko’s Pskov regional branch, a member of Yabloko’s federal political committee and a deputy of the Pskov regional legislative assembly from the Yabloko party.
The issues we discuss in the podcast include: Shlosberg’s first job as a teacher in a school for young offenders; the creation of the Revival [Vozrozhdenie] Centre for Social Design; the development of civic organizations in the 1990s; the foundation of the newspaper Pskov Gubernia; freedom of speech and the state of civil society in Russia; the case of Pskov journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva and the use of the law on ‘foreign agents’ against Radio Liberty journalist Liudmila Savitskaya and Denis Kamalyagin, editor-in-chief of Pskov Gubernia; politics in today’s Russia; the Navalny phenomenon; the history of human rights and civil society; and the future of democracy in Russia.
This podcast is in Russian. You can listen to the podcast full here:
Given the length of the podcast, we have also divided it into three sections that you can listen to separately,
Part One: Gorbachev’s Perestroika. Lev Shlosberg’s early years and the beginnings of public politics under Gorbachev:
Part Two: Civil Society after the Soviet Union. Foundation of the Revival [Vozrozhdenie] Centre for Social Design; the development of civic organizations in the 1990s; the foundation of the newspaper Pskov Gubernia; freedom of speech and the state of civil society in Russia; the case of Pskov journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva and the use of the law on “foreign agents” against Radio Liberty journalist Liudmila Savitskaya and Denis Kamalyagin, editor-in-chief of Pskov Gubernia.
Part Three: The Political History of Post-Soviet Russia – politics and politicians; Yeltsin, Putin; the Navalny phenomenon; the state of human rights and civil society; the future of democracy in Russia.
The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: Two anti-Soviet wall newspapers at the Pskov Pedagogical Institute made by history student Lev Shlosberg and his comrade in 1981, taken down on the orders of the dean of the history department; work at the Sebezh special vocational school for young offenders, service in the Soviet army; creation of the Revival Centre for Social Design; establishment of Pskov Free University and a psychological assistance telephone hotline; creation of the Pskovskaya Gubernia newspaper. Lev Markovich has achieved a great deal, and there was a lot to talk about on our podcast. Today, Lev Shlosberg is a well-known politician and he rightly told us that ‘when state policy is so repressive, the very act of entering politics as a member of the opposition – rather than supporting the government – entails enormous risks. As the saying goes, you’re lucky if they don’t kill you.’ We talked about Svetlana Prokopyeva, Anastasia Shevchenko, Liudmila Savitskaya, and Denis Kamalyagin, editor-in-chief of Pskov Gubernia. It is surprising that 40% of the foreign agents, according to the Ministry of Justice, are from Pskov Gubernia! We also talked about Aleksei Navalny, whom Lev Markovich described as ‘simultaneously the personal prisoner and hostage of Vladimir Putin.’ However, Lev Markovich refuses to abandon all hope: ‘History never gives final answers – and therein lies our chance,’ he said.
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.