UPDATED: Russian Voices in Käsmu, August 22: Power and Freedom in Today’s Russia

The Open Estonia Foundation is launching the new season if its “Russian Voices” discussion series in an unusual time and place: on August 22, the talented writer Lev Rubinstein, music critic Artemy Troitsky and environmental activist Evgeniya Chirikova meet in the scenic coastal village of Käsmu for a public discussion of the current political and social processes in Russia, including the situation of freedom of speech and mind.

"It is in the cultural space of independent thought and word that choices are born. In today's Russia, this space has become dangerously narrow. There is state-led opposition to values of equality and liberty, fear of alternatives and breaking taboos, shaking everything that we consider to be the foundations of European cultural tradition," says OEF's executive director Mall Hellam.

Against this gloomy-looking background, Artemy Troitsky, Lev Rubinstein and Evgeniya Chirikova together with the Estonian historian David Vseviov will ask what should be done and if there is any hope for a more open Russia.

The location of this time's "Russian Voices" also holds a symbolic significance - the village of Käsmu in the north coast of Estonia used to be a popular meeting place for many Russian intellectuals throughout the 19th and 20th century.

The discussion takes place on Friday, August 22 from 16:00-18:00 at the guest house "Rannamännid" and will continue later in the evening in a more informal atmosphere with snacks and beverages. The working language of the event is Russian (no translation will be provided!). Participation is open to everyone, with prior registration on OEF's website.

Lev Rubinstein (born 1947) is a Russian poet, literary critic, publicist and essayist. He graduated from the Philological Faculty of the Moscow State Correspondence Teacher Training College and for a long time worked as a bibliographer. Rubinstein got engaged in literature in the late 1960s. Inspired by his work with library cards, Rubinstein created his own "card file" genre in the mid-1970s, bordering on verbal, visual and performing arts. He is also one of the founders and leaders of Moscow conceptualism.

Artemy Troitsky (born 1955) is a popular journalist, blogger, music critic and activist. In the 1980s he played an important role in the anti-Soviet youth movement and in 1986 organized the first-of-its-kind rock concert in the Soviet Union, "Account No. 904", to raise funds for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Today, Troitsky is known as a vocal critic of Putin's regime. Troitsky has recently been strengthening his ties with Estonia, accepting a lecturer's position at the Tallinn University and writing columns for Eesti Päevaleht and Delfi.

Evgeniya Chirikova (born 1976) is a Russian environmental activist, primarily known for initiating a large-scale campaign to oppose the building of a motorway through Khimki forest near Moscow. She has also played a prominent role in the 2011-2012 Russian protests following disputed parliamentary elections in Russia. In 2012, Chirikova was awarded the international Goldman Environmental Prize for her activism in environment protection. 


Additional information:

Maarja Toots
tel +372 615 5710

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Andri Maimets
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