Left to right: Maryland State House Delegate Kirill Reznik (one of the only two Russian-speaking immigrant elected officials in the United States); Victoriya Kurchenko, President of the Pushkin Society in America and of the Lodyzhensky Immigration Archive Center; ARA co-founder and co-chair of the Board of Directors Dmitri Daniel Glinski; Sylvia Riabichev, Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx cultural affairs coordinator; and Natalia Mizina Farrar, Association’s DC/MD/VA Board Member.
Dialogue with Manar Waheed, Deputy Director for Immigration Policy, White House Domestic Policy Council
May 6, 2015, marked the third anniversary of the suppression of the anti-authoritarian protest – the Fair Vote movement – at Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square as well as of our own national convention in downtown New York that we ended with a rally of solidarity with the Bolotnaya Square demonstrators.
On the occasion of this anniversary, our activists in New York City held, jointly with other organizations and groups, a rally for the release of Russia’s political prisoners in front of the Russian Consulate:
Meanwhile, in Washington DC, after a similar rally with participation of our activists, our recently formed regional board for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, met at the DC Public Library – where we also set an exhibit of our photos from the past 3 years of activities:
Our meeting included a conversation, over Skype, with Nikolay Kavkazsky – a young progressive Moscow-based organizer and campaigner for social justice and LGBT rights, who also was a political prisoner in the Bolotnaya case for over 1.5 years (in 2012-2013, released under the same amnesty that led to the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky). We consulted with Nikolay about the current situation of those “Bolotniki” who remain behind the bars and the ways to draw attention to their plight, that by now has become the subject of independent theater and film within Russia.
Further, with participation of our guests from RUSA-LGBT, we launched the first-ever Russian-speaking community forum in DC (“the Washington Obkom dialogue”). It was opened by a presentation and discussion led by Viachaslau (Slava) Bortnik, Amnesty International-USA Country Specialist for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.