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Defending Civil Rights in Today’s Russia

Past Event

Rights in Russia is delighted to announce, in partnership with the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, an event at which two of Russia’s leading civil society activists will speak: Valentina Cherevatenko, chair of Women of the Don, a human rights NGO based in Novocherkassk, Rostov region; and Grigory Melkonyants, co-chair of the independent election monitor Golos, based in Moscow.

There will be an informal reception after the event from 8pm–9pm. To confirm your attendance please book below. For more information please email events@rightsinrussia.org.

This event is free of charge. However, there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the organisers to help cover the costs of the event.

Rights in Russia and EU-Russia Civil Society Forum are on Twitter @rightsinrussia and @EU_Russia_CSF.


Valentina CherevatenkoValentina Cherevatenko is the chair of the Women of the Don Union and Women of the Don Foundation for Civil Society Development, two NGOs based in Novocherkassk in the Rostov region (South Russia). The Women of the Don Union works in human rights with an emphasis on the rights of women: it has focused on gender discrimination, violence against women, and peace-building initiatives in the North Caucasus region. In 2014 and 2015 respectively, the Justice Ministry designated both as ‘foreign agent’ NGOs; in February 2016, it removed this designation for the Women of the Don Union. In June 2016, however, Valentina became the first individual to face prosecution under the ‘foreign agent’ law, a move condemned by Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch and Frontline Defenders.

Grigory MelkonyantsGrigory Melkonyants is co-chair of Russia’s pre-eminent independent election monitor Golos. Together with leading Russian experts, Golos worked on creating an Electoral Code. In 2012, it was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. In 2013 the Ministry of Justice designated Golos as a ‘foreign agent’ because it received foreign funding (the 7,700 EUR Sakharov Prize – despite the fact that Golos declined to accept this) and that in creating the Electoral Code it had engaged in ‘political activities’. In 2013, Golos re-established itself as a ‘Movement’, bringing together all those engaged in independent election monitoring in Russia since 2000. In 2014 and 2015, Golos received two grants of state-funding – the so-called ‘Presidential Grants’ – for its work on election monitoring.

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