Podcast No. 48. Simon & Sergei with Sofiya Ivanova, human rights activist in Ryazan

This week our guest on our podcast is Sofiya Yurievna Ivanova. Sofiya is a human rights activist in Ryazan, where she grew up and graduated from the Lomonosov Pedagogical Institute. Sofiya leads the work of the Ryazan School of Human Rights and was a long-time organizer of youth programmes at Ryazan Memorial and the International Youth Legal Camp “Citizen of the World.” Since 2009 Sofiya has been the coordinator of the Ryazan branch of Golos, the indepdent election monitor. Sofiya Yurievna is a laureate (2016) of the Moscow Helsinki Group award for her contribution to human rights education.

The podcast discusses the following issues: membership in the Komsomol and the CPSU; the Ryazan School of Human Rights and youth programmes at Ryazan Memorial, including the “Citizen of the World” youth camps; teaching human rights courses at a number of educational institutions in Ryazan; working as a coordinator of Golos in Ryazan; development of the human rights movement in Ryazan and its current state; the difference between the work of a human rights defender in Moscow and in the regions; the law on foreign agents and its impact; the future of human rights in Ryazan and in Russia.

This podcast is in the Russian language. You can listen to it here:

You can also listen to the podcast on Podcasts.com,  SoundCloud,  Spotify  or  iTunes

The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: About ten years ago I travelled to Ryazan to discuss with Sofia Ivanova the matter of cooperation with Amnesty International in the field of human rights education. We talked about what training would be worthwhile and where – the conversation was in a deserted cafe. Literally five minutes after the start of our conversation, a young lady came in and for some reason chose a table next to ours in the deserted room. She even sat down with her back to the nearest side of her table, opened her laptop and leaned back on the chair. I don’t remember if she drank coffee or tea, but her ear, big as a radar, was turned towards us. A familiar story, Sofia Yurievna and I thought, and left the disappointed eavesdropper for another cafe. Such nervousness among people with large ears is not surprising. After all, Sofia Yurievna Ivanova, in their opinion, is a dangerous person. The head of the Ryazan School of Human Rights, head of youth programmes at Ryazan Memorial, a long-time organizer of the International Youth Legal Camp ‘Citizen of the World’, she is someone who tells her compatriots about human rights – and what can be scarier than that for local officials. In addition to this, Sofia Ivanova heads the Ryazan regional branch of Golos, the election monitor. She was our interlocutor in this, our latest podcast with Simon Cosgrove. It’s fascinating to hear about the life of a human rights defenders in a regional centre such as Ryazan.

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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