German-Russian Exchange St. Petersburg together with the Expert Group on Civil Society Research is inviting to an open online discussion “Civil Society Organisations in the EU and Russia in the Times of Pandemic: Victims or Heroes?”

The discussion will take place this Friday, 29 May 2020, 3pm-4.30pm CET/ 4pm-5.30pm MSK via Zoom. The language of the discussion is English. No interpretation provided.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED! Please send your first name, surname, and the name of your organisation to until 28 May 2020.

Questions to be discussed:

• How is the pandemic affecting civil society organisations?
• What have been the most interesting and inspiring reactions among civil society actors to the unfolding crisis?
• Are there any new campaigns, initiatives or forms of collaboration visible in the countries researchers represent?
• Are the authorities and civil society actors going the same path in the times of a pandemic?

The speakers will base their findings on concrete empirical examples and specifically address initiatives from different states, which might be important for other countries as well.


• Elena Belokurova, German-Russian Exchange (St. Petersburg, Russia)
• Andrey Demidov, Central European University (Hungary)


• Pavel P. Antonov, BlueLink Foundation (Bulgaria)
• Danijel Baturina, University of Zagreb (Croatia)
• Andrei Dobre, University of Bucharest (Romania)
• Pavel Havlíček, Association for International Affairs (Czech Republic)
• Ulla Pape, Free University Berlin (Germany)
• Filip Pazderski, Institute of Public Affairs (Poland)
• Yulia Skokova, Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia)

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum was established in 2011 by non-governmental organisations as a permanent common platform. At the moment, 182 NGOs from Russia and the European Union are members or supporters of the Forum. It aims at development of cooperation of civil society organisations from Russia and EU and greater participation of NGOs in the EU-Russia dialogue. The Forum has been actively involved, inter alia, in the questions of facilitation of visa regime, development of civic participation, protection of the environment and human rights, dealing with history and civic education.

In April 2020, the Forum launched a new section on its website “COVID-19: Citizens in Action”, which has been gathering related civil society initiatives from 27 EU member states, the UK and Russia. See more information in English at, in Russian at