Pilorama Lab discussions took place despite obstacles

Although the long-awaited European Forum for Young Professionals "Pilorama Lab" 2013 could not be organised due to administrative hurdles and refusal of the agreed part of co-financing from the local authorities in the Perm region, we have not given up. Despite obstacles, the organisers decided to carry out part of the planned programme of Pilorama Lab in the form of two public discussions with invited experts, journalists and public figures from Russia and various European countries.

On July 26, 2013, the discussions "Public Journalists: Opinion Leaders or Outsiders?" and "Europe and the Crisis. Perspectives for the Russia-EU Relations" were held at the conference hall of the AMAKS Premier Hotel in Perm.

"It was very important for us to preserve at least a part of the announced programme and go on working at topics which are considered actual ones for the modern society. We are grateful to all the partners who joined our initiative and helped us to organise discussions. We do hope that the regional power will revise its position in the future and be open for the co-operation again," commented Zoya LUKYANOVA, General Director at the Civic Engagement Institute.

As speakers, the leading experts from Russia and EU were invited:

Steffen ANGENENDT, Advisor to the Minister of Economic Co-Operation and Development of Germany on the Migration and Development Affairs, Senior Associate Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) – German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, Germany

Evgeny BABUSHKIN, public journalist, writer, observer for the "Snob" Journal and Snob.Ru Portal, Moscow, Russia

Jakub BENEDYCZAK, Batory Foundation, Visa-Free Europe Coalition, Warsaw, Poland

Harry HUMMEL, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, member organization of the EU–Russia Civil Society Forum, Hague, the Netherlands

Svetlana MAKOVETSKAYA, Director at the Centre for Civic Analysis and Independent Research "GRANI", Perm, Russia

Stefan MELLE, journalist, Director at the "German-Russian Exchange", Berlin, Germany

Alexander MOROZOV, Chief Editor at the "Russian Journal", Moscow, Russia

Vesna TERŠELIČ, Director at the "Documenta" Centre for Peace Research and Historical Legacy Elaboration, Zagreb, Croatia

Elena SHKARUBO, journalist, public figure, Head of the Project Sib.fm, Novosibirsk, Russia

Jury KUROPTEV, Chief Editor at "The Perm Tribune" Paper, Perm, Russia

Julius v. FREYTAG-LORINGHOVEN, Head of the Moscow Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Moscow, Russia

Tatyana MARGOLINA, Ombudsman of Perm Region, Russia

The topics and the speakers attracted a large audience of representatives of the wider social circles of the Perm Region, Russia, and Europe – associates of nonprofit organisations as well as state power bodies, human rights activists, students and lecturers at the higher education institutions, journalists, and further interested citizens.

"It was not a coincidence that we chose those topics: On the one hand, practical integration for the benefit of people within the entire European space. That’s why we are moved both by the crisis in the European Union and complicated relations between the Russian Federation and the EU. It is necessary to find new tools for an open dialogue, whereas the non-profit sector may correspond a new movement towards the co-joint co-operation," resumed Annegret WULFF, Head of the Theodor-Heuss -Kolleg of the Robert Bosch Foundation and MitOst.

"On the other hand, public journalism acquiring its strength in the world has a potential to become a basis for a democratic society and may improve transparency of the state to a good extent as well as the grade of citizen participation in solving vital questions in these countries," added Stefan MELLE, Director at the NGO "German-Russian Exchange" at Berlin, Co-Founder and member of the Steering Committee at the EU–Russia Civil Society Forum.

The discussions, followed by a visit to the site of the Memorial Centre of the History of Political Repressions "Perm 36", contributed to maintaining the tradition of public discourse on current topics concerning the civil society that annually takes place at the International Civic Forum Pilorama, providing the frame also for Pilorama Lab. Despite cancellation of both events due to similar reasons, the discussions proved that the voice of the civil society shall not be easily silenced.

Organisers of the discussions were Civic Engagement Institute (Perm, Russia), Memorial Centre of the History of Political Repressions "Perm 36", MitOst e.V. (Germany), Association "German-Russian Exchange" (Germany–Russia). We thank to the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, Ombudsman of Perm Region, the Robert Bosch Foundation (Germany), and the European Commission for their support, as well as the Perm Regional Branch of the International Society "Memorial", the official partner of the event.

You can find insights and videos from the event at 

Press conference
Discussion "Public Journalists: Opinion Leaders or Outsiders?"

Snob.Ru Portal

Pilorama Lab Page on Facebook

Interview with Steffen Angenendt on 59.ru

Report on Kommersant.ru

Report on Newsperm.ru

Photos: Evgeny Babushkin, Sergei Tereshenkov, Alexey Utkin