2019
Annual Report
All data and comments
as of 31 December 2019
EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is a network of thematically diverse non-governmental organisations from Russia and the European Union, established as a bottom-up, non-partisan civic initiative. The Forum serves as a platform for members to engage in joint activities, articulate common positions, provide support and solidarity, and exert civic influence on policy- and decision-making on the (inter)governmental level. Driven by a vision of 'the civil society beyond borders', the Forum brings together organisations and people and therefore contributes to the integration between Russia and the EU, based on common values of pluralistic democracy, rule of law, human rights and social justice.


Our Mission
Outreach
Member and Supporter Organisations
178
2019
2017
2015
161
159
EU Members & Supporters
8 new members
In 2019, the Board decided that UK-based NGOs and initiatives would remain Forum members or supporters. For the moment, new applications from UK-based NGOs and initiatives have been also considered
Russian Members & Supporters
14 new members
NGOs as co-organisers
of joint projects
36
Events Participants
Newsletter Contacts
Facebook Followers
1,650
1,530
1,000
Twitter Followers
5,019
5,000
4,132
3,369
2,152
1,323
1,999
865
459
89 News Items
(Tallinn, Estonia),
Open Estonia Foundation, on the 2019 report featuring Estonia, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK
Mall Hellam
89
News Items
Anna Skvortsova
NGO Development Centre, Forum Board member in 2012-2019
St. Petersburg, Russia
9th General Assembly
6–8 May 2019
At the General Assembly 2019, we experimented with new creative formats – networking; multimedia and interactive presentations; exhibitions. We were very much inspired by a vibrant civil society in Slovakia. We also showed our solidarity with Slovak citizens and came to the memorial of Ján Kuciak – a journalist murdered in 2018 – in order to highlight the situation regarding civil society both in Central and Eastern Europe and in Russia. Slovak civil society demonstrates responsibility and the power of solidarity. Thank you, Slovakia!
Strategy 2020-2025
At the beginning of 2019, the Forum had over 150 member organisations, which provided huge amounts of diversity! Facilitating the Forum's strategic process was both an inspiring challenge and a great learning opportunity. I truly enjoyed conducting plenary and group sessions, but the most interesting part was getting to know and talking in-depth with several dozen members and external stakeholders. I am looking forward to seeing how the Forum will grow in the future.
Forum strategy facilitator
Warsaw, Poland
Wojciech Tworkowski
Solidarity
2019 was a real breakthrough year for the Forum's solidarity work. The Solidarity Group focused on trial-observation missions, including the cases of Oyub Titiev in the Chechen Republic, Yuri Dmitriev in Petrozavodsk and "Eco Defense" in Kaliningrad. The postcards of support, which were signed by civil society representatives and concerned citizens, went to political prisoners or persecuted activists. We are looking forward to more actions and deeds in 2020.
Forum Secretariat
Berlin, Germany
Daria Bykova
Advocacy
Throughout 2019, the main emphasis of the Forum advocacy agenda had been on the membership of Russia and the future of the Council of Europe. We also managed to revive a discussion on visa facilitation between the EU and Russia and touched upon the topic of "deeper integration" between Belarus and Russia. We also hope to closer work with Forum Working and Expert Groups to bring their ideas and contributions to the level of decision-makers.
Association for International Affairs
Prague, Czech Republic – Brussels, Belgium
Pavel Havlíček
Overall Activities
Grzegorz Szymanowski
freelance journalist, one of the "Reflecting Europe" dossier authors
Berlin, Germany
Reflecting Europe
For me, "Reflecting Europe" was definitely one of the highlights of 2019. We were looking for our inspiration in the Russian North, in the beautiful city of Arkhangelsk. Later I visited Dresden for my article on the rise of the far-right in Eastern Germany for the multimedia dossier. In my report, I was able to include many voices from local communities, including participants in the "Alternative for Germany" demonstrations, cultural practitioners, politicians and people engaged in dialogue and understanding.
Quality Journalism
for Environmental Activists
The struggle against the Leventsovka landfill turned a new page for environmental activism in Rostov-on-Don. The change of the landfill status to "temporary" and the relocation of the waste processing plant are major victories won by local residents. Environmental problems are no longer just a concern of a group of enthusiasts but instead draw the attention of a far wider audience.
"Caucasian Knot", in his article "Citizens and Military Defeat Landfill" within the Partnership Project "Quality Journalism for Environmental Activists"
Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Vladislav Riazantsev

In these turbulent times, it is even more important to develop collaborations with our neighbours, who have been acting on a global scale but are also rooted in the local communities. We are glad to have found like-minded people at the LAPAS Association in Riga and – along with further partners from Novosibirsk and Tiumen – to have elaborated guidelines on glocalisation methodologies. We welcomed our guests in Arkhangelsk already and look forward to getting an insight on how this topic has been reflected in Latvia.
Centre of Social Technologies "Garant"
Arkhangelsk, Russia
Marina Mikhailova
Citizen Science
to Improve Air Quality
Almost all people living in cities throughout Europe are exposed to air that exceeds the pollution limits recommended by the World Health Organisation. In the framework of the project, devices were provided to allow volunteers to measure air quality in places where children (one of the groups most affected by the air pollution) spend their time – such as playgrounds. The results will be presented to municipalities in Budapest and St. Petersburg in order to stimulate a common initiative to improve air quality.
Clean Air Action Group
Budapest, Hungary
András Lukács
Partnership Projects
Glocalisation in Rural Communities and Small Towns
Štefan Čok
Cultural Association "47/04",
"Europe Lab" alumni
and co-organiser of the Forum 2019
Trieste, Italy
Forum for Young Professionals "Europe Lab"
This is a story of a dream and of how the dream came true. We were exchaning opinions about the plans for the Forum 2019 and decided to give it a try by hosting an event in Gorizia and Nova Gorica. We took "Borderlands" as an overarching topic; the participants lived on the Slovenian side, had workshops on the Italian side and literally crossed the border several times a day. That's what makes Europe what it is, and that is what we need to remember, regarding the past and the present.
25-28 July 2019
Spark and Persistence
"Spark and Persistence" stands for the courage of human rights defenders who continue their fight for human dignity, be it in Hungary, Poland or Russia. What can we learn from each other's experiences? What is similar and what is different about our situations? What strategies do we develop? These questions were at the centre of our discussions in Budapest in January 2019 and formed the focus of the video produced during the project.
Anikó Bakonyi

Hungarian Helsinki Committee,
Forum Board member
Budapest, Hungary
Kristina Smolijaninovaitė
Forum Secretariat
Berlin, Germany

Remembering the Past
Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, our exhibition "Different Wars" was shown in Seelow (Germany) and Perm (Russia); further shows are planned in 2020. We also started preparing a follow-up to this successful project, which will focus on history teachers from Belarus, Germany, Poland and Russia. On top of this, we are creating a short film about rememberance and the Second World War in Berlin, Gdańsk and Moscow.
Gender Equality
During the Study Tour to Sofia and Borovets in Bulgaria, we managed to formulate the mandate of the new Forum Working Group "Gender Equality": this comprises work with inequalities, discrimination, violence and harassment based on the principle of gender; its expression; sexual characteristics or sexual orientation, as well as reproductive rights and the right to control one's own body. We also sketched a plan of our activities in 2020 and beyond and hope to contribute more actively to the Forum's work in the future.
The Green Light for the Civil Initiatives Foundation
Sofia, Bulgaria
Elena Burmitskaya
Forced Migration
The aim of this Study Tour was to look at the experiences of forced migration to and from Silesia. The visit to the Museum of Prisoners of War in Łambinowice and other memorial sites in Poland were a trigger for the Working Group "Historical Memory and Education" to start working on an online resource about migrations in different European countries in the period 1944-1948. The results will be presented to the public in 2020.
Jan Nowak-Jeziorański College of Eastern Europe
Wrocław, Poland
Laurynas Vaičiūnas
Civic Education Lab
The idea behind the Study Tour of the Working Group "Civic Education" was to show how Estonia has been dealing with the traces communism left in the country – the history of political repression, commemoration of victims and education on this subject. I hope that not only those inspired by the visits during this Study Tour but also my colleagues from Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Russia will find this knowledge useful for their local contexts and use it to develop their own educational programmes.
Open Republic
Tallinn, Estonia
Jevgeni Krištafovitš
Study Tours
Galina Arapova
Mass Media Defence Centre
Voronezh, Russia

Conference "Engage for Impact?
The Case of Russia's Civil Society"
3-4 October 2019
It was a pleasure to participate in this Brussels trip together with colleagues representing different Russian civil society groups. Obvisouly, one of the issues we mentioned was the Ivan Golunov case – clear evidence of the attempts being made to block the work of independent journalists in Russia but also a sign of solidarity and hope. However, my major concern now is the case of Svetlana Prokopieva in Pskov, which, unfortunately, has not generated such a wide campaign of support yet.
Fighting Transborder
Corruption
Our Transborder Corruption Archive, which was launched in 2018, has been regularly replenished with documents from various investigations on money laundering by Russian officials and oligarchs in Europe and the US. Currently, the archive already counts 256 documents. Anticorruption activists from all over Russia have subscribed to receive updates. It has also been actively used by due diligence officers and EU-based political scientists studying Russia.
The Insider, member of the Fighting Transborder Corruption Expert Group
Paris, France
Anastasia Kirilenko
Sustainable Development Goals in Finland and Russia
For us, 2019 was full of interesting encounters and new partnerships. The product of this fruitful dialogue – a book on the best practices of collaboration between Finnish and Russian NGOs – was published in May. It highlights some inspiring partnerships in the field of child welfare, the inclusion of people with disabilities, fighting violence against women and many more, and paves the way for new cooperation between Russian and European NGOs based on common values and struggle to create sustainable societies.
Most
Helsinki, Finland
Anastasia Asikainen
State of Civil Society Report
This report has been highly appreciated. Vibrant civil society organisations and a well-developed civic culture are the basis of an innovative, responsible and inclusive society. With democracy in crisis, it is important to develop a range of strategies to push back against restrictions. For this we need updated data and the comparative analyses provided by this study. Also, solidarity with Russian CSOs that are under huge pressure makes us stronger and offers hope that nobody will be left behind, even those facing difficult circumstances.
Open Estonia Foundation, on the 2019 report featuring Estonia, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK
Tallinn, Estonia
Mall Hellam
Publications
Anna Orlova
NGO Development Centre
St. Petersburg, Russia
Thomas Hammarberg
MP and PACE member, CoE Commissioner
for Human Rights (2006-2012), at the EU-Russia Legal Dialogue Symposium in Berlin
Stockholm, Sweden
EU-Russia
Legal Dialogue Symposium
31 October – 2 November 2019
The return of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) offers a timely opportunity for this symposium to discuss necessary steps to protect human rights and the rule of law in the country. Member states of the Council are expected to honour these principles and norms, which have been agreed upon by all. Civil society groups working for the implementation of these standards play an important role in Russia as well as in other countries. Their work should be respected, and their recommendations should be taken seriously.
Board
Anikó Bakonyi
Hungarian Helsinki Committee,
Budapest
Elena Belokurova
German-Russia Exchange,
St. Petersburg
Nina Berezner
DestinationEst,
Paris
Polina Filippova
Sakharov Centre,
Moscow
Harry Hummel
Netherlands Helsinki Committee,
The Hague – Board Co-Chair
Nikola Mokrović
Documenta – Centre
for Dealing with the Past,
Zagreb
Olga Sadovskaya
Committee against Torture,
Nizhny Novgorod
Elena Shakhova
Citizens' Watch,
St. Petersburg

Mikhail Tumasov
Russian LGBT Network,
St. Petersburg
Ksenia Vakhrusheva
Environmental Rights Centre
BELLONA,
St. Petersburg – Treasurer
Łukasz Wenerski
Board Co-Chair,
Warsaw
Secretariat
Barbara Anna Bernsmeier
Project Coordinator
Daria Bykova
Internal Communications Officer
Anna Fedoryak
SMM/ Communications Officer
Alexander Keller
Office Manager
Technical Administration
Elena Komarova
Senior Financial Officer
Nela Laryšová
Programme Coordinator,
EU-Russia Legal Dialogue
Rasa Puzinaitė
Assistant to Senior Financial Officer
Christina Riek
Project Coordinator
Dmitri Romanov
Accountant
Anna Sevortian
Executive Director
Kristina Smolijaninovaitė
Deputy Director
Sergei Tereshenkov
Senior Coordinator
for Public Relations
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Design: Bureau of Anna Ladoshkina
Editing: Sergei Tereshenkov
Proofreading: Matthew Lomas
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