This week our guest on the podcast is Aleksei Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation since 1991. Aleksei Simonov is a Soviet and Russian film director, writer, translator, human rights activist, teacher, journalist and editor. He was a member of the Presidential Council for Promoting Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights until 2012. In this podcast, Alexei Kirillovich talks about the enormous changes that have taken place in Russia since the last years of the Gorbachev era: the rise of glasnost, the hopes of the 1990s and the deterioration in freedom of expression in the Putin era, especially since 2012. He describes the work and experience of the Glasnost Defence Foundation, the impact of the law on so-called ‘foreign agents’ on civil society organisations and the difficulties faced by these organisations in obtaining funding. Aleksei Kirillovich also talks about two recent trials of journalists – Svetlana Prokopyeva and Ivan Safronov.
The podcast is in the Russian language.
You can listen to the podcast here:
The music is from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, played here by Karolina Errera.
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook:
As Aleksei Simonov once said, “I have not been burdened with government awards, but received several public awards of which I am proud.” And besides public awards, this wonderful man received what I would call universal love and respect. And by right.
Last weekend Simon and I had the great pleasure to meet our mutual acquaintance, our friend Aleksei Kirillovich. The waves of the Internet brought the three of us together, although we were hundreds, even thousands of kilometres apart.
I first heard the name of Aleksei Simonov many years ago when I saw the film ‘Otryad’ [The Squad] that was an important event at the beginning of perestroika. Later I got acquainted Aleksei Kirillovich in person and learned of his many talents: besides being a film director, he is also a writer, translator, human rights activist, teacher, journalist and editor. And, of course, he is president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation.
Simon and I talked to Aleksei Kirillovich about all this, and now the recording of an interesting conversation is available on as our latest podcast.
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.