Session2: 2014Crimean Crisis

Officiallypart of Ukraine, the republic of Crimea lies between the Sea of Azovand the black sea, to the south of Ukraine. The narrow Ketch Straitseparates it from Russia to the East. Crimea was annexed in 1783 bythe Russian empire when Catherine the Great reigned over Russia. Itwas not until 1954 when it was transferred to Ukraine during thereign of the then soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev. The majority of theCrimean population is made up of ethnic Russians with other groupsincluding Ukrainians and Crimerian Tatar. Crimea became the focus ofthe world in early periods of 2014 as a result of the East- Westcrisis that was termed the Crimean crisis.

TheCrimeancrisiswas one of the major international crises of 2014. It all started byUkraine’s decision to join the western block and abandon itslongstanding association with Kremlin.The then presidentVictor Yanukovich, fledto Kiev, the Ukrainian capital after being officially ousted frompower by the country’s parliament. The legislature then appointedan interim president, OleksandrTurchynovand enabled him to form an interim government. The European Union andthe United States recognized the new administration but Russiaobjected and termed the move as illegal. In return, Russia declaredwar on Kiev by annexing Ukraine’s CrimeaPeninsula borderingit to the East. The region’s occupants are majorly Ukrainians ofRussian decent. To effect this action, Kremlin orchestrated areferendum that was ultimately won by its supporters. Ukraineretaliated by sending troops to the region to tackle the Russiancontingency and other rebel groups already in the region. To date,only five UN members recognize the present global standing of Crimeaand Sevastopol as federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

Becauseof this crisis, there have been widespread condemnations of Russia’sactions in the international various forums. Several internationalorganizations have condemned the ongoing crisis and the toll it ishaving on Europe now. Greenpeace movement one of the world’slargest lobby groups have threatened to sue Russia in the EuropeanUnion Court if they continue to escalate the tensions between themand Europe by withholding gas supply to the continent. Greenpeacehave come up with an investigation detailing Europe’soverdependence on Russia gas and coal exports. The report states thatthe United Kingdom spends several billion Euros on Russia coal. Theyare still advocating for the reduction of overreliance on Russia’senergy exports.


Phonetapping is the accessing of a person’s telephone content by makingit available to other parties other than the telephone’s owner.Telephone tapping (or wire tapping) involves close monitoring ofphone and internet exchanges by a third party. This is usually donein high secrecy. Tapping by this means came into being sincetraditionally, the connection for monitoring was in real senseelectrical tap on the phone wires. The increased utilization ofphones all over the globe means that cases of telephone tapping haveskyrocketed and as much as the process is illegal, some cases arejustified. Phone tapping has raised a number of legal and ethicalissues around the globe, with a greater number of debaters arguingthat it undermines people’s privacy. There are two types oftapping.


Thisis usually conducted by the government as security measure or toretrieve crucial information that is important to them. This methodis also known as lawfulinterception.It is keenly monitored in many countries to protect privacy manydeveloped nations have this legal framework in place. Most of phonetapping cases get a go ahead warrant from the court after appropriateevidence has been produced to prove of its importance in a case.However, legal interceptions are mainly undertaken if a case is ofextreme severity or of great interest to the government. It is amethod that has been effective in unearthing subversive or criminalactivity.

  1. Illegal tapping

Thisinvolves tapping of phone exchanges unofficially by a third partywithout the prior knowledge of the parties taking part in theconversations. However, lawmakers argue that this may be consideredlegal or illegal depending with the jurisdiction or circumstances.Telephone conversations may be monitored in a number of ways. Aparticipating party may record the conversations using a recordingdevice (such as a phone), a tape, or through a computer installedwith a call recording software. The recording whether concealed orunconcealed may be began automatically, manually by detecting VOX(sound on the line).

Recently,the United States came under heavy criticism after its phone tappingrevelations were unearthed and made public. The country’sIntelligence Service had been tapping phone calls involving prominentinternational leaders. One of the victims was Germany’s PrimeMinister,Angela Merkel.She was infuriated and so were other affected parties that she openedan inquiry to investigate the claims. On their part, the UnitedStates claimed it was a normal security measure for them to unearthglobal suspicious activities. The incident was on of the majortalking points of the year 2014.

Thereare numerous reasons why someone might want to tap another onesphone. These groups include spouses, one’s boss, businessassociates and even the government. Some of the signs of phonetapping include warm battery temperature, phone not staying charged,distortion and background noise and shutting down delays.

Session5:TheCommittee of Soldiers’ Mothers

Thecommittee was founded in the year 1989 with an aim of fighting forthe rights of soldiers in the Russian military. The organization wasregistered as a Russian wide organization in 1991 under the ministryof Justice of the Russian federation. Women whose sons had facedvarious violations of their rights in the military founded it. Theorganization is registered as a non-governmental organization in thecountry (Stella, 2012). The situation for members of the Russian armyis grave and the Non-governmental organization has played a vitalrole in helping people through the process of appeals for exemptionfrom the military or deferment from the military service on the basisof extreme family hardship, health or conscientious objection. Thecurrent head of the NGO is Fljora Malikovna Salihovsky. Apart fromadvocating for the rights of the soldiers, the organization alsoprovides legal consultation and moral support.

Thecommittee fights for military reforms to do away with rules that putthe rights of military men and women at risk. It forms an importantpart in the Russian civil society by its active promotion of humanrights. The committee has won several awards as a promoter of humanrights especially I thee military where very few organizations shedlight. It also creates awareness in the country by holding civileducation seminars to enlighten people about their rights (Stella,2012).


KirillMedvedev (1975-.) He is one of the renowned poet, activist, and anavowed Marxist that made and still makes great contribution to theRussian literature. Born in Moscow in 1975, he had published twocollections of poetry by his mid twenties. All these publicationswere published by established poetry presses in the Russian capital.The work had unique characteristics it was highly autobiographicaland in form of a free verse, this form was still relatively rare inRussia. Several sympathetic critics were extended towards his bookin fact, other hostile individuals argued that his work lacked anycharacteristic of a poem (Medvedev, 2012). This triggered Medvedev toevaluating the political background of the aesthetic judgments, whichwere made by his contemporaries. He really wanted to know the reasonthat made people react in a violent manner with regard to things thatthey were unaccustomed to. In particular, he wanted to unveil thereason that made people who claimed to have a strong likeliness hispoems to never intervene when his work was highly criticized. Thismade him believe and conclude that his society was full of bothfeudal and capitalists. He further concluded that the previousgenerations of Russian who had scarified their time and energy tofighting for their rights to private life were to blame for thereactions and critics that were directed towards his works. He is thefounder of a left-wing political party as well as an editor andpublisher of a left-wing press. The initial distribution of the leftwing press was limited to a duffel bag. The critics received hisfirst two publications quite harshly, arguing that it was not poetry,but sympathetic critics received the collections quite well. In 2003,Medvedev declared that he was retiring from the literary and alongwith that, he relinquished the copyrights to all his works.Since2004, Facebook and Live has been his main publication outlets since2004 (Medvedev, 2012). Similarly, one-man political demonstrationshave replaced his frequent poetry readings.

Hisessays played a key role in delimiting positions that have a highlikelihood of insulating producers from various corrupting forces ofpolitics and marketplace. Most of his publications appear in It’sNo Goodbook. The publications play a key role in revealing or ratherportraying a unique view of Medvedev this view might be obscured ina normal or typical poetry collection. His prosaic free verse form ofwriting poem was highly inspired Charles Bukowski and Walt Whitman.These verses incorporate day to day concerns they highly resemblecontemporary America poems. However, his poems portray a unique andunusual characteristic they speak in a direct manner with regard tohis poetic contemporaries (Medvedev, 2012).

Hisfree form of writing on his contemporary is highly attributed to hisability to foreswear the status as well as material advantages thatoffer him immense help. He continually argued that writers who implyto write pure and personal interest advance a course that is purelyimpossible and undesirable. In fact, such writers only pretend atprivacy play in order to facilitate depoliticizing tendency ofliberalism. He therefore, advocated and called writers to renouncethe materials rewards of writing with an aim of standing outside ofinstitutions that continuously compromise institutions of politicaland literary world. Such compromises help such institutions to beseen and described in a clear manner. He further argue that beingamateur in the writing industry set writers free of any debts aswell as create provision for a free hand for intellectual combat.Indeed, Medvedev works contributed highly to protecting the integrityof his work

Session8: Ravnopraviki

Ravnopravikiare activists who advocate for equal rights in the society andbetween the two genders. Particularly, the ravnopraviki activistsfight for the rights of equal rights between men and women in thespheres of governance, social life and economic empowerment.According to Hemment (2007), the ravnopraviki have mostly been mostlythe educated who could communicate with the women in the foreigncountries such as Western Europe and America. The empowerment of theravnopraviki developed from their exposure to the same literature,conferences and education that the elite women rights activists inforeign countries had.

Bythe late 19thcentury, Russian women had become part of the global struggled thataimed at emanincipating women. Through this equal activist group,they were able to move forward their agendas and get wider insightsthrough their interaction with other groups of women from otherregions of the world. Compared to other pre-evolution groups ofwomen, the Russian movement was relatively smaller and less unified.However, they fought for the same rights as other movements. Theserights include legal and political equality, equal pay for women,support for women’s reproductive rights and membership of women inunions.

Theinteraction between international women rights groups and the womenin Russia was therefore supposed to be based on the approaches thatincorporate the ravnopraviki. Using the ravnopraviki in the processwill make the fight for women`s rights in Russia a more expansive andrelevant thing in the civil society. More importantly, Hemmentoutlines the importance of understanding the work of ravnopraviki inpromoting a cordial and productive relationship between theinternational women rights groups and the local Russian womensocieties.

Hemmentcites the work of Fals-Bordaand Rahmanin the understanding of the local environment as a reason for herparticipatory action research (PAR) approach. According to Fals-Bordaand Rahman(1991), PAR gives the best chance ounderstanding local people sinceit tells about them from their historical context. Hemmentuses PAR to understand the agenda of the ravnopraviki. As a result,Hemment understands the work of the ravnopraviki in the fight forwomen rights in Russia as well as the empowerment of women. In thisregard, the ravnopraviki serve as the interventionists that enablethe work of foreign women rights foundations more relevant to theRussian context.


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Hemment,J. (2007). Empoweringwomen in Russia.Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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