Denmark-based Russia-focused activists publicly presented a new NGO “Danish Friends of a Democratic Russia (in the following DFoaDR) November 25th 2022.
The event was attended by important guest speakers, among others:
– Charlotte Flindt Pedersen, Director of Danish Foreign Policy Society;
– Maria Logan, Trustee, Future of Russia Trust, about her charity projects for Khodorkovsky team;
– Anastasia Shevchenko, a renowned activist from Russia;
– Lyubov Sobol, a politician, on political vision of the Russian future by the Navalny team.
The event also starred Denmark’s first screening of the MTV documentary “Anastasia” depicting a tragic fate of Anastasia Shevchenko, who was held in prison for her political activity, while her daughter suffered from terminal sickness.
Charlotte Flindt Petersen, director of Danish Foreign Policy Society, opened the presentation and highlighted the importance of supporting such initiatives as DFoaDR, since they remind us, that not all Russians support either war or Putin’s regime.
The new NGO is a group of Denmark-based activists, who have joined forces to promote democracy, human rights, and civil society in Russia.
The members of the new NGO want to start addressing the root problem – undemocratic authoritarian rule in Russia. The organization members believe, that there is more to be done to promote democracy in Russia, and they are committed to do more through street actions, advocacy, diasporic work, community building, and solidarity with those, who have suffered from the regime. That concerns both Ukrainians outside of the country and political prisoners inside the country. All over the world organizations like DFoaDR are doing their best to create an alternative vision of what Russia can become.
In Denmark the movement started with demonstrations back in 2016.
All demonstrations were held to support Russian protests inspired by Alexey Navalny’s team. An NGO “Europe for Navalny” was created, with an ambition of opening a first Alexey Navalny (renown Russian politician, who is currently in jail) office, “the Headquarters”, abroad, here in Copenhagen. The community of protest Russia-focused people grew every year.
In January 2021, a Facebook group “Copenhagen for Navalny Denmark for Navalny” (CfNDfN) was created. CfNDfN soon became the central medium for the local opposition movement. The current association DFoaDR stems from CfNDfN community.
Engagement in peaceful protest activities:
Following the events of Navalny’s murder attempt, his return to Russia, and consequent imprisonment, Copenhagen protest community organized several protest actions, both individually and together with similar groups in other cities around Europe, USA, Australia, Canada and other countries. Other protest actions included commemorating the anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s murder, protesting against Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko, participating in remembrance campaign “Returning The Names” initiated by Nobel Peace Prize Winners “Memorial” and aimed to remember the victims of Soviet state sponsored terror.
In 2022 the street protest activity has changed significantly:
War in Ukraine became the major topic, and the community participated in numerous anti-war protests and demonstrations organized by Ukrainians, Belarussians, the feminist movement, Danish political parties, by Amnesty International and others. In October 2022, the organization took part in “celebrations” around the world to congratulate Putin on turning 70 and to wish him to live long enough to stay the trial and prison for among other the war crimes.
The community’s advocacy activity includes writing letters to the political activists, organizing a hearing in Danish Parliament (Folketinget) on Human Rights violation in Russia, observing elections in the Russian embassies, participating in various conferences, advisory groups, meetings with politicians, etc.
The mission of DFoaDR is to promote democratic change through 4 main pillars:
1) community building, both in Denmark and abroad – because democracy needs trust, solidarity and human interaction
2) demonstrations and street actions as a fun and creative way to exercise our civic freedoms – something that millions of Russians have been deprived of
3) advocacy that will make the regime weaker therefore bringing the opportunity of change closer
4) diasporic cooperation
DFoaDR considers an international solidarity with those, who suffered from the regime, to be an overarching element of the work. We’re solidary with Ukrainians and
with political prisoners like Alexey Navalny, Ilya Yashin, Vladimir Kara-Murza,
Andrey Pivovarov and many others.
Following the DFoaDR presentation, Maria Logan, a close ally of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and an Open Russia Foundation and Trustee to the Future of Russia Foundation and the Khodorkovsky Foundation, presented the MTV Documentary “Anastasia” (see trailer). After the screening, the star of the movie, Anastasia Shevchenko, appeared and answered questions from the audience.
Lyubov Sobol, a renowned politician and a popular YouTube host, answered the questions from the participants.