On May 2nd Ronald Reagan House organized an international conference “Apart From Europe? Frontiers of Democracy in Russia: As Seen By Insiders and Neighbors. One year after May 6th Protests”.

To start the discussion about Russia, Ronald Reagan House brought together politicians, civic leaders, established experts and leading journalists from Russia and European countries. The participants of the conference shared their views on the current state of Russian society and politics, as well as possible scenarios of the EU-Russia relations in the near and middle terms. We have invited a number of political and civic actors, as well as experts and politicians from Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia to provide an additional angle to the discourse.

Contemporary discussions about the place and role of Russia in Europe quite often center upon ascertaining of risks, threats and limitations in the country’s political environment. The main topics of such discussions are usually related to the lack of democracy in Russia and to the state of relations between the country and its neighbors.

The events of the last year in Russia showed that, despite a rather high wave of civic activity in Russia, an aggressive and reactive part of Russian elites has further consolidated its power by disregarding democratic values and deepening Russia’s political isolation. In practice this resulted in growing international tension and has an exceptionally negative impact on international business and NGOs operating in Russia.

Participants of the conference discussed these topics:

  • Elections – why they are not becoming more free and fair after the mass protests in 2011-2012 and why Russian citizens don’t have the real freedom of choice with the new legislation;
  • Freedom of speech – is there is an opportunity for opposition leaders to overcome the censorship in Russian mass media;
  • New repressive legislation – how can it influence the political situation as a whole;
  • The compliance of the current situation in Russia with the basic democracy principles and Russian-European agreements and charters.
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