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The first National Convention of ARA, May 06, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Xenia Grubstein, 646 309 0643 Email: xenia.grubstein@gmail.com, headquarters@amrusrights.org

Russian-speaking Americans supportive of the movement for change in Russia will gather for their first national convention in New York, on May 6, 2012

April 28, New York. American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights, Inc. (ARA) will be holding its first national convention on Sunday, May 6, at 12pm, at 55 Exchange Place in New York. The convention will be followed by a rally of solidarity with the movement for democratic change in Russia.

The Association was launched by the participants in the rallies of solidarity with the movement for fair elections and for the release of political prisoners in Russia.  These rallies took place between December 2011 and March 2012 in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, and Boston.  The founding of ARA was greeted by a video message from Ludmilla Alexeyeva, Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Member of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council (the video will be shown at the convention).  ARA was incorporated in New York in February 2012 and currently has representatives or affiliates in 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The title of the convention is “Russian-Speaking America on the Rise: Awakening and Empowerment Through the ‘Fair Vote for Russia’ Movement”. The convention shall discuss ARA’s activities in support of the congressional action to replace the Jackson-Vanick Amendment with Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which is supported by the ARA leadership.  It will also discuss the situation with the payment of pensions by post-Soviet governments to their former employees currently residing in the United States and our position on the H.R. 2494: Former Soviet Union State Pension Fairness Act of 2011.

Speakers at the convention shall include prominent leaders of Russia’s civil and human rights movement speaking by video from Moscow, as well as the Association’s founders and leaders.  Speakers will also include Alexey Semyonov, President of The Andrei Sakharov Foundation; Dr. Alexander Bolonkin, former Soviet political prisoner and subsequently senior researcher at NASA; and Andrew Grigorenko, President of the General Petro Grigorenko Foundation.  Our other partners from the Coalition of Russian-Speaking Organizations for Civil & Human Rights – including The Institute of Modern Russia; The Democratic Russia Committee; International Association of Former Soviet Political Prisoners and Victims of the Communist Regime; Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan & the Bronx; Wake Up Russia; and Fair Vote for Russia groups from New York and other cities – shall also take part in the event.

To inquire about participation, please write to headquarters@amrusrights.org.

PROGRAM (subject to further changes)

Note: Participants will speak in Russian or in English at their discretion. Limited interpretation will be provided

12:00 am – Video greeting by Ludmilla Alexeyeva and welcoming remarks by Dmitri Glinski

Remarks by Association founders and leaders, friends and partners

Alexander Militarev, Russian-Speaking Community in America: The State of Affairs by December 2011

Xenia Grubstein, Fair Vote for Russia Rallies and Movement

Dmitri Glinski, Why We Need a U.S.-Wide Advocacy Organization?  Our Strategies and Goals

Alex Kodner, Our Association and Community Building: Beyond Advocacy and Politics

Alexey Semenov (President, Andrey Sakharov Foundation), Human Rights in Today’s Russia and the Sakharov Legacy

Alexander Bolonkin, Civil Rights for the Senior Generation: Pensions for ex-Soviet Citizens, Compensations for Former Political Prisoners

Andrey Piontkovsky, What Russian-speaking Americans Can Do To Help Change Russia (by video from Moscow)

Natalia Pelevina, Our Campaign Against Corrupt Russian Officials (by video from Moscow)

Andrew Grigorenko, Our Shared Human Rights Legacies Today

1:15pm – Lunch break

1:45pm – Remarks by Association coordinators and partners from other cities

2:25pm – General Discussion 2:55 – Closing Remarks (Xenia Grubstein)

3:00 pm – Leaving for the rally of solidarity with the civil and human rights movement in Russia

PHOTOS FROM THE CONVENTION AND THE RALLY

                                     

                                   

                                   

                                     

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