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Are 'human rights' part of the problem in post-Soviet Russia?

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  • Date and time: Friday 24 February 2012
  • Speaker: Mary McAuley
  • Chair: Margot Light

AbstractMary MacAuley

The numbers and types of 'human rights' activists grew rapidly from the early nineties through until the mid-noughties, yet their achievements whether under Yeltsin or under Putin/Medvedev have been modest. Drawing on the social movements literature, this event will consider potential contributory factors: the ideological framing of 'rights', elements from the soviet past, the activists' resources and the political opportunities open to them.


Mary McAuley left an academic career, as Fellow in Politics at St Hilda's College, Oxford, in 1995 to open the Ford Foundation's Moscow Office, with responsibility for a grant-making program which included support for human rights and legal reform. Her earlier books include: Soviet Politics 1917-1991, Oxford University Press, 1992; Russia's Politics of Uncertainty, Cambridge University Press, 1997. Since 2002 she has been working as an independent scholar on juvenile justice (Children in Custody: Anglo-Russian Perspectives, Bloomsbury Academic, 2009) and is now writing on the human rights community in Russia.

Margot Light is Emeritus Professor and Director of the Human Rights Programme in the Commonwealth of Independent States, based in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights.