Arkady Ostrovsky is Russia and Eastern Europe editor for The Economist. Prior to this role, he was the Moscow Bureau Chief for The Economist reporting on the annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine among many other subjects. He joined the paper in March 2007 after 10 years with the Financial Times where he covered Russian politics and business, including the Yukos Affair. His articles were among the first to warn of the resurgence of the security state under Putin. At The Economist, Arkady also writes about Russia-US relations, European security, Russia and China, Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet republics. He is the author of the 2016 Orwell Prize winning book The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War published in 2015 by Atlantic Book in the UK and in 2016 by Viking in the US.
He is regular contributor to radio and television programs around the world, including the BBC and NPR. Arkady holds a doctorate degree in English Literature (University of Cambridge, 1998) and has contributed to the first Cambridge History of Russian Theatre as well as to collections of essays on theatre history published in the America, UK, France, Russia and Brazil. Arkady’s translation of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy, “The Coast of Utopia” and “Rock’n’Roll” have been published and staged in Russia.
Alice Stollmeyer is the Founder & Executive Director of 'Defending Democracy'. A former digital advocacy strategist, she has lived and worked in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels, the heart of the European Union.
With a solid background in 'social studies of science & technology' and in communication, in 2012 Alice founded her own consultancy @StollmeyerEU, which specialises in EU public affairs, political communications and digital advocacy. She has been ranked a top digital EU influencer ever since (#1 female digital EU influencer 2019).
In 2016 @StollmeyerEU broadened its portfolio: previously focused on energy and climate policies, now its focus is politics, digital developments and European values like democracy, human rights and rule of law.
In 2017 @StollmeyerEU successfully accomplished a major assignment as interim Communications Director at the Women Political Leaders Global Forum.
On 8 November 2017, Alice Stollmeyer founded 'Defending Democracy', an independent, nonpartisan, transatlantic organisation defending liberal democracy from internal and external threats.
To achieve its mission, 'Defending Democracy' works on communication, cooperation and community. Its successful signature event is currently held in Brussels, Berlin and Washington DC and is expected to be launched in The Hague, Vilnius, Kyiv, Copenhagen, London and Madrid soon: monthly #DemocracyDrinks to grow and support communities of democracy defenders.
Robert van Voren (1959) is Chief Executive of Human Rights in Mental Health - Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) and a Sovietologist by education. He is Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Executive Director of the Andrei Sakharov Research Center for Democratic Development in Lithuania.
Van Voren is board member of several organizations in the field of human rights and mental health. Van Voren has written extensively on Soviet issues, in particular issues related to mental health and human rights, and published more than a dozen of books. His most recent ones are On Dissidents and Madness(2009), Cold War in Psychiatry(2010) and Undigested Past – the Holocaust in Lithuania(2011).
Kate Wattersis co-founder and executive director of Crude Accountability, an environmental and human rights nonprofit organization working with natural resource impacted communities in the Caspian and Black Sea regions since 2003. Kate oversees the management and development of the organization to build sustainable and effective programs and campaigns. She works closely with activists in affected communities to develop strategies and campaigns to protect environmental and human rights on the local, national, and international levels.
She has worked with human rights and environmental defenders in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia since the early 1990s, has lived in and traveled extensively throughout the region, and speaks fluent Russian. She is the author of numerous reports and articles on civil society in Central Asia and the Caspian region and has been interviewed for print media, radio, and television about environment, oil and gas, and human rights in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia. Kate holds an MA in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in Russian literature from UMASS-Amherst.
John Alulis is currently the Research Manager of the University Consortium, an inter-regional, inter-generational, inter-professional organization dedicated to promoting critical thought, constructive dialogue, and mutual trust among Americans, Europeans, and Russians. He completed his MPhil in Russian and East European Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford, graduating with distinction in 2018. His thesis topic was on contemporary Lithuanian collective memory about 1940 to 1953 and the impact this has on present-day Lithuanian society.
Previously, John served as a cavalry officer in the US Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), achieving the rank of captain. During his time with the Army, John deployed to Afghanistan and participated in a variety of exercises and NATO missions in Germany, Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Georgia, among other countries. Before that, John completed his BA at the University of Richmond, where he graduated summa cum laude with a double major in History and International Studies. His current research interests include the impact of memory on international relations in Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as the interaction between strategy and policy within violent conflicts.
Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov, was born in all-musicians family in Odessa, where he studied at the Conservatory of Odessa. In 1987-1989 he was a student at the famous Moscow Conservatory with famous Professor Gornostayeva. He was a winner of competitions as the first All-Union Rachmaninov Competition in Moscow, the eighth International Bach-Competition in Leipzig and the very first Clara-Schumann-Competition in Düsseldorf.
During the years 1994-1996 he lived in Düsseldorf and toured in Russia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Finland, Holland, Poland, Japan, Canada, South Africa and Israel with huge success. For his breath-taking performance of Goldberg Variations in June 2001 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin the press wrote: “a real firework at the piano” (Berliner Kurier.) In 1998 Alexey Botvinov performed twice at the famous concert hall of Rudolfinum in Prague. Both concerts were applauded with great enthusiasm.
The recitals Alexey Botvinov played in Switzerland and mainly at the Züricher Festspiele are enthusiastic acclaims by both the audience and the press. In Odessa he lectures the piano at the Conservatory while performing in Poland, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom. In 2006-2007 Alexey Botvinov toured Asia, Belgium and Germany.
Alexey Botvinov is an exceptional pianist in our time. He one of the best specialists of S. Rachmaninov worldwide. But his deeply expressed, suggestive artistic interpretations of all major piano styles make him extraordinary performer whatever he plays. He is an Honored Artist of Ukraine.
Nicolas Miletitch was born in 1953 and is a Journalist with the Agence France-Presse (AFP). From 1978 to 1981 he was correspondent in Moscow for the AFP. He was expelled from the USSR because of his relations with the dissidents.
From 1988 to 1994 he was director of the Belgrade office of the AFP. From there he covered the revolution in Romania, the fall of communism in Albania and the wars in Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia). He was expelled from Serbia in 1994 by President Slobodan Milosevic.
From 1988 to 2001, he was again director of the AFP in Moscow, covering not only Russia but all the countries of the former USSR. From 2006 to 2010 Central editor of the AFP, and then went back to Moscow from 2010 to 2018 as director of AFP in Moscow.
Miletitch is author of the book "Trafficking and crimes in the Balkans" (Presses Universitaires de France – 1988), Author of the film "The Secret History of the Goulag Archipelago" (with Jean Crépu in 2008) and author of the film “To the success of our hopeless cause”.
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