This week Simon Cosgrove and Sergei Nikitin talk with Ashot Airapeyan, chair of the Moscow-based NGO, the Centre for Intercultural and Interethnic Cooperation. Ashot relates how the organisation he had headed for 20 years since 1997, the Centre for Interethnic Cooperation, was closed down by the authorities in 2017. He also talks about the problems facing ethnic minorities in Russia and the work his organisation has done and is doing to ameliorate these problems.
This podcast is in the Russian language.
The music is from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, played here by Karolina Errera.
Ashot graduated from Yerevan University, did post-graduate studies at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy where he achieved a PhD in physical and mathematical sciences, and left to go into human rights work. He set up the Centre for Inter-Ethnic Cooperation, and was involved in projects to support ethnic minorities. Like many human rights projects, the Centre was quietly closed by the authorities in the year of the 20th anniversary of the organization.
Although Ashot continues to do human rights work, and although he tries to do something useful to improve inter-ethnic relations and the harmonious integration of migrants, the prospects – according to Ashot – are bleak. The light of hope is youth, the internet and new communication technologies. “Modern people are not ready to give up the gains of democracy, however weak that democracy may be”, says Ashot Airapetyan in 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.