Analytics and Interview

On 16 January 2015 late in the evening the website of the Ministry of Justice published a statement that the NGO Committee Against Torture had been added to the register of non-profit organizations designated as ‘foreign agents’.
Tanya Lokshina is the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch and Honorary Participant of International Youth Human Rights Movement: As the crisis in Ukraine escalated this spring, the Kremlin’s vicious crackdown on civil society also escalated. Space for independent civic activity in Russia is shrinking dramatically, but international policymakers and the media have been understandably too distracted to do much about it. Since early spring, it seems as though every week brings a new pernicious law or legislative proposal.
Earlier this year, the correspondent of Youth Human Rights Movement from Germany Jakob Stürmann interviewed Konstantin Baranov, member of the Coordination Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement. They discussed so called “law against homosexual propaganda” and the overall situation of LGBT in Russia.  

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Oleg Sentsov, Olexander Kolchenko, Hennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksiy Chyrniy have been held in Russian jails for two years already under fabricated charges of ‘terrorism’. We consider it being necessary to express solidarity with those who are persecuted due to their pro-Ukrainian views, civic stand and desire for freedom in Russia-annexed Crimea.
Helsinki Committee of Armenia has published “Human Rights in Armenia 2014” Annual Report. The report reflects on the Right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Political Persecutions, Freedom of Conscience and Religion, The Rights of the Child, Protection of Labor Rights.
«We have a few questions for you,» a border guard told Sinaver Kadyrov, a Crimean Tatar activist, at the Armyansk checkpoint in northern Crimea on Jan. 23. Kadyrov was on his way to Kherson, in southern Ukraine, to fly to Turkey for medical treatment. It was the beginning of an ordeal that ended with a local court expelling him from Crimea, his home of almost 25 years.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.

Mark Twain


Youth Human Rights Movement

On 14-15-th of October a conference “Higher Education and Civil Society: A New Social Mission of The University” was held


This conference is the unique of its kind with the aim of discussion about a new social mission of the university and possibility of interaction between the university and the institutions of civil society. The conference was organized by the program of St. Petersburg State University “Arts and Human Sciences” (formerly known as the Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences).

Higher education in Russia today is characterized, on the one hand, by the insufficient inclusion of universities in solving social problems, on the other hand – by the lack of graduate skills and abilities necessary for solving important problems for society. Often scientific works created and studied in Russia reproduce stereotypical and outdated non-democratic views on social processes in the world. Or, alternatively, the Western social theory is often imported and used without the proper understanding of its critical message.

Such structural problems have a global character. There is an ongoing transformation of the university as an institution, throughout the world and particularly in Europe. Universities become economically autonomous, their management and quality of scholarship become rationalized and accountable. In a situation when institutions of higher education were opened for interaction with various public structures (including business) it was found that social knowledge that has critical and deferred applied nature is underestimated.

Moreover, the civic institutions themselves and government institutions are not ready to offer their vision for the University development as a center of intellectual thought and point of humanistic values development, more and more using it rather as a tool of reproduction of not people and thinkers, but functions and diplomas.

Participants of the conference were facing not an easy task - to discuss, whether it is possible to reverse the current trend and return to the University its historical functions. At the conference many of the participants talked about the problems and examples of interaction between universities and civil organizations, among them were the Honorary President of the International Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM) Andrey Yurov, Honorary Participants of YHRM - Dmitry Dubrovsky (St. Petersburg State University program "Arts and Humanities"), Arkady Gutnikov (Prince of Oldenburg Law Institute), Alexander Daniel (International "Memorial"), Co-Coordinator of the International Network for the students rights Maria Gordeeva and others.

In his speech, Andrey Yurov emphasized the choice facing modern university - to continue implementing functions imposed by the state and society, or indeed to undertake the social mission of creating the humanitarian and civilian alternatives. He also revealed the possible functions of the University, including the University as a space of humanitarian and civil development, space of student initiatives and educational center for the city and region.

Material prepared according to the news program "Arts and Humanities"