German Volunteers in St. Petersburg of 1990s

Participants: Dr. Elena Belokurova (CGES), Maria Scattone (Berlin), interns of the German-Russian Exchange St. Petersburg

This small research project was conducted in January – April 2013 in cooperation with the Geman-Russian Exchange St. Petersburg, and was oriented on the event, which was organized in the framework of the German Week in St. Petersburg. The project aimed to understand better the reasons, mechanisms and motivations of the work of numerous German volunteers, who came to Russia, and in particular to St. Petersburg, in the 1990s. Such a topic was formulated because of the started campaign against the foreign funding and influence on the NGOs work, and it became important to clarify why and how the Western NGOs and citizens influenced the emergence and development of Russian NGOs, based on the example of some important and big charity organizations in St. Petersburg.

In the framework of this small project, 8 interviews were taken, edited, translated and published in a special brochure. 5 of them were conducted in Berlin, one in Moscow and two in St. Petersburg. 6 of the narratives came from the former German volunteers and 2 – from the Russian representatives of the host NGOs in St. Petersburg. They shared their experiences and memories about the situation of this time, about their work and circumstances, relations and results. Three St. Petersburg NGOs were represented: German-Russian Exchange, “Perspectives”, and “Memorial”. Four of the respondents came to the presentation and discussion, which took place on April 23, 2013 in the framework of the German Week (see more in the Chapter 6.9).

The brochure was published in the print form and on-line on the web page of the CGES and German-Russian Exchange.