EU Study Weeks

A three-year program "EU Study weeks" has ended with a workshop in Vladivostok 2-4 October 2015. It had been jointly organized by DRA (Berlin and St. Petersburg) since the end of 2012 by the initiative of the EU delegation in Moscow. For the first time in the 18 years history of this project the event was held in the Far East of Russia. For DRA it was the 21st European Study Week and the 12th in the framework of this program. During these three years, it covered the territory from Pyatigorsk in the Caucasus to Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, from Irkutsk on Lake Baikal to Vilnius in Lithuania; about 350 students and graduates of Russian universities have participated. They were interested in different aspects of the relations between the EU and Russia, depending on the region and their own contacts with foreign partners. Along with the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia the seminars were attended by many students who are not just interested in the current situation, but who were seriously concerned about these new tensions and who would have liked to discuss it in an informal manner, together with experts from Russia and many EU countries, representatives of science, economics, politics, the media, civil society and culture. While in 2013 a lot of discussion were still devoted to the crisis of the Eurozone, international cooperation, migration, visa and energy policy or other longer-term challenges, in 2014, Ukrainian crisis was added to the list, and in 2015 relations between Russia and the EU has become a key issue. Tireless attempts of the workshop team - Aigul Sembayeva, Elena and Elena Razumovskaya Belokurova - to discuss the conflict from various perspectives had a positive respond among the participants. External circumstances, meanwhile, became more and more difficult. In the spring of 2015, two silent "activists" for some time kept the workshop venue under a siege and their actions were highlighted by the local media. In Vladivostok, the members of the radical right-wing party "National Liberation Movement" (NOD) gathered in front of the venue for two days. By these means they wanted to protect the "sovereignty of Russia." At the same time they were recorded on camera by local journalists, who in their reports highlighted the activities of the European Schools as the US propaganda and for five minutes of their broadcast made 10 factual mistakes. Such relations between the EU and Russia are unlikely to favor any of the parties. Therefore, in the coming years the possibilities for improvement of these relations will be the cornerstone topic of the workshops; the following EU Study weeks could make an important contribution to the process of rebuilding of a friendly relationship. More information about the program is available at