“Tens of millions of Russians are banned from the world, whereas concurrently going through unprecedented pressures inside Russia,” warns journalist Nadezhda Azhgikhina. “If this follow continues, you Westerners received’t be capable of discover anybody to speak with in Russia.”
“Historical past is made by strange folks, not politicians. Dialogue is of nice worth as a result of one thing occurs when folks meet and discuss,” says veteran Russian journalist Nadezhda Azhgikhina with enthusiasm. We stand in a nook of a resort foyer one night in New York Metropolis after her full day of conferences, a college discuss and dinner with shut pals and colleagues.
True to her identify, Nadezhda (which means hope in Russian), Azhgikhina is hopeful about the way forward for our world. As PEN Moscow’s government director and member of the Union of Russian Writers, she served on the Gender Council of the Worldwide Federation of Journalists for almost 15 years. She articulates her concepts in very good English however with an unmistakable Russian accent and an occasional smile that spreads throughout her face.
I ask her in regards to the present world void that has silenced cross-cultural understanding of human tales throughout Russia. These tales bear scars of a historical past of revolutions and renewals, shifting political ideologies of openness to after which isolation from the West.
Azhgikhina hopes that the worldwide intellectuals and educators may very well be, “on the frontline of breaking stereotypes and constructing bridges in numerous fields” and avoiding “scare ways of canceling Russian tradition and all Russians.”
“That is necessary for the longer term, our joint future. Canceling Russia has left many Russian intellectuals, college students, middle-class and open-minded folks feeling discriminated in opposition to by the West, in order that they have begun to vary their minds and help the propaganda. The sanctions don’t have an effect on the Russian oligarchs, generals or politicians—it’s the liberal folks. Tens of millions of Russians are banned from the world, whereas concurrently going through unprecedented pressures from authorities inside Russia. If this follow continues, you Westerners received’t be capable of discover anybody to speak with in Russia.”
Throughout the expansive Russian nation, she says, “There are lots of respectable folks. Girls are on the forefront, persevering with to assist one another.”
Azhgikhina remembers with nostalgia how the empowering open communications between Russian and American girls prior to now helped dismantle the long-held “subservient” picture of Russian girls as portrayed within the Russian media. This portrayal, she says, was pushed by neo-liberal concepts after years of Soviet propaganda about formal (nonexistent) equality that penetrated society and the enterprise world.
Beneath Mikhail Gorbachev and his “scholarly first woman” Raisa Gorbachev, collaborations spurred worldwide girls’s peace initiatives, launched the Moscow Heart for Gender Research by sociologist Anastasia Posadskay. This helped impartial girls’s organizations assemble throughout Russia.
The primary girls writers from USSR and North America met in spring 1991 on the Glasnost in Two Cultures convention at New York College, and fostered cross-cultural citizen diplomacy, erasing misconceptions on each side. Following the Russian translation of the enduring ebook Our Our bodies Ourselves, initiated by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, household planning organizations within the U.S. and Russia labored collectively. The airwaves of Радио Надежда (Radio Hope) unleashed a revolutionary change to sentence gender-based violence (GBV). In response, younger males joined the motion in opposition to the crime.
The slogan, “Democracy With out Girls Is Not Democracy,” adopted by the Russian girls’s motion, reached prominence past their borders, gelling with the worldwide wrestle for gender equality. It saved lives, opened doorways, diminished tensions, and united girls to battle for nuclear disarmament, equal rights and safety.
Historical past is made by strange folks, not politicians. Dialogue is of nice worth as a result of one thing occurs when folks meet and discuss.
Declining World Journalism Ethics and Feminist Reporting.
An Article 19 trustee since 2020 and previous vice chairman of the European Federation of Journalists, Azhgikhina is alarmed in regards to the depleting panorama of worldwide journalism and the dearth of well-investigated and analyzed content material. She says the “conventional, family-held media corporations” have been changed with worldwide companies hyper-focused on monetary good points and income, not supply of strong information content material.
“The globalization of markets has simplified content material and decreased the standard of knowledge, since most media retailers immediately use the identical data to report on points. The costliest departments, similar to investigative, science and expertise, are overshadowed financially, and overseas correspondents have dramatically decreased across the globe,” says Azhgikhina, citing Nation Journal author John Nichols’ ebook, The Demise and Lifetime of American Journalism.
“We’re removed from actual journalism immediately. Since they launched probably the most certified journalists from editorial workplaces, immediately we’re witnessing a world development with uniformed information and speedy data bites. They optimize the whole lot, to not inform and educate, however as clickbait. Goal reportage and voices from all sides are changed with ‘information packages,’ a really harmful development. The worldwide journalism group should rise and demand consciousness,” says Azhgikhina.
At present we’re witnessing a world development with uniformed information and speedy data bites.
Azhgikhina is hopeful about numerous worldwide initiatives—amongst them the UNESCO Girls Journalists as Peace Communicators convention.
A local of Tomsk, one of many oldest cities in Siberia, Azhgikhina moved to Moscow at an early age. With a Ph.D. in journalism from Moscow State College, the place she taught for a few years, Azhgikhina developed a notable journalistic profession. Her resume contains high positions at a few of Russia’s main media retailers, similar to Ogoniok, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (considered one of post-Soviet Russia’s most necessary day by day newspapers) and a private column in Delovoy Vtornik and JOURNALIST. In 1992, she co-founded the Affiliation of Russian Girls Journalists with Irina Jurna.
She attributes her mind and worldwide success to her household. Like many Russian households, hers replicate numerous origins, which vary from devoted Communists and Gulag victims to educators, well-known Russian writers and students of Russian literature. She proudly remembers her maternal grandmother’s affect who, as a religious Communist and a “sensible feminist,” was the primary girl chief geologist within the mines.
“Throughout that period, girls by no means labored as geologists or chief geologists. She received this place after graduating from Tomsk Technical Institute and had a seat on the desk the place there have been solely males. She inspired them to make use of foul Russian vocabulary, as if there have been solely males on the desk, which I can’t think about even now, however she managed.” Azhgikhina admits gender discrimination persists in Russia as throughout the remainder of the world.
U.N. Girls’s most up-to-date report confirmed that full gender equality across the globe is 300 years away. However in Russia, girls’s political standing is much better off immediately than within the late Soviet period. Girls maintain 27 % of the Russian parliamentary seats, in comparison with almost 20 % by the top of the Soviet Union.
But Azhgikhina explains how solely moms with excessive salaries can simply afford babysitters and kindergarten, whereas these much less financially safe typically sacrifice their skilled lives, unable to afford both kindergarten or babysitter charges. Past Russia’s official nationwide technique on girls, she sees a necessity for “selling girls into decision-making positions on the nationwide degree.” Throughout some Russian areas, with a majority Muslim inhabitants, she says girls are actively concerned in all ranges of energy and enterprise enterprises, making main contributions to the overall growth of the society.
“Mainstream media in Russia has just lately began masking gender-based violence however from a conventional, patriarchal values angle or with a spiritual lens. This development accompanied common development in patriarchal, homophobic, and nationalistic rhetoric,” Azhgikhina says.
Most Russians, in keeping with current polls, imagine gender-based violence (GBV) is a punishable crime. It is a distinction from some 30 years in the past when Azhgikhina labored with NGOs and Russian journalists who coated GBV, together with honor killings and feminine genital mutilations, that are nonetheless practiced in some northern Caucuses areas immediately.
When these matters are offered within the media, there’s resistance from the traditionalists. To fight this, Azhgikhina explains how Russian feminists and activists promoted a disgrace award titled “Sexist of the 12 months.” It was launched ten years earlier than COVID-19 on March 8 (Worldwide Girls’s Day) as a web based commissioned initiative by younger feminists and feminist journalists, who highlighted sexist acts and statements within the public sphere, the information media and in ads, which captured media consideration and protection.
Peace From a Feminist Perspective
I ask Azhgikhina if the present surroundings has “peace is on the ground that’s ready to be picked up,” as Philip Zelikow quotes in his ebook The Street Much less Traveled. Or have world conflicts and endlessly wars turned peace-builders into endangered species?
“As a result of we’ve so many conflicts worldwide and lack sufficient details about occasions in numerous elements of the world, our world view could be very puzzling. I bear in mind discussions on many conflicts and actions the place such a humanistic strategy was not typically mentioned, together with methods to start out peace communication after the battle or stop new tragedies. Sadly, initiatives centered on human dimensions. Methods to finish violence aren’t very fashionable now and don’t dominate the mainstream media agenda. The mainstream media has forgotten many fundamental ideas of journalism. As a substitute, they take part in data wars to impress escalation, as a substitute of discovering methods to instill peace.”
Azhgikhina says the present world surroundings challenges constructive ethical efforts, just because they’re “not very worthwhile.”
She regrets that these in Europe who nonetheless bear in mind WWII and the following world peace are slowly passing away. One other technology of younger folks particularly think about wars and nuclear threats as “laptop video games.”
“After I chaired a dialogue of younger students on media and nuclear menace as a part of a Russian-American dialogue in St. Petersburg earlier than the pandemic, no one recognized nuclear menace as something critical. This terrifies me. I don’t understand how this angle developed, however I believe it’s as a result of we don’t focus on it or emphasize peace sufficient because the pure foundation for the whole lot in our world. Sure, it’s necessary to report not solely about elections, pure disasters and leisure, however to remind our world in regards to the fundamental values of what we should always do, what’s shameful to do, what is nice and what’s dangerous.” Azhgikhina emphasizes how “our post-truth world” has left some folks disoriented.
She joins her colleagues and journalist pals from worldwide organizations as Moral Journalism Community (EJN), in looking for and discovering “new methods to help journalism as a public good.” These concepts embody establishing impartial foundations for investigative journalism, training in new applied sciences, working with huge information and involving the viewers in forming media agendas and actions. She and her colleagues imagine that journalism will survive and keep its mission, no matter present points.
The mainstream media has forgotten many fundamental ideas of journalism. As a substitute, they take part in data wars to impress escalation, as a substitute of discovering methods to instill peace.
Citing the 2019 Worldwide Federation of Journalists which adopted the World Constitution of Ethics for Journalists, subscribed to by almost all skilled organizations across the globe, Azhgikhina urges journalists to not prioritize protection of parliamentary and political points and cling to Article 19 of the Common Declaration of Human Rights.
“It underpins journalists’ accountability to their public, which takes priority over all else, together with public authorities. When the media was way more trusted, the general public understood that the data they offered empowered higher participation,” Azhgikhina says.
I ask Azhgikhina if, in her opinion, girls in Russia and Ukraine will take the “highway of diplomacy,” which Henry Kissinger described as “sophisticated and irritating” however one which “progress to it requires each the imaginative and prescient and the braveness.”
“It is extremely tough to generalize. There are several types of ladies and men, however I imagine girls as members in world citizen diplomacy, peace-building, and peace communication are untapped. Girls have gained expertise in all spheres and may provoke the promotion and growth of peacebuilding due to their fundamental capabilities. This isn’t as a result of girls are higher than males, however as a result of girls know handle unbelievable, not possible conditions. It’s not by coincidence that girls regroup when going through crises or disasters.”
“I imagine that motivated girls would in all probability discover extra versatile language to speak with. I imagine it’s potential for ladies in Russia and in Ukraine to discover a widespread language and assist one another. Perhaps they’re already on this path. It’s girls’s potential which expedites and eases a typical language of peace in order that we will all overcome the results of the tragedy we collectively face immediately,” Azhgikhina smiles.
And what’s her message to the ladies of the world?
“Let’s dream about all our futures, the way forward for our youngsters dwelling in the identical area and the identical universe. We’re all dwelling on a small, blue marble stone, floating in area. We must always by no means hand over. We should imagine within the not possible being potential. Our mission will not be not possible. We should first have a dream, then our dream can come true.”
U.S. democracy is at a harmful inflection level—from the demise of abortion rights, to a scarcity of pay fairness and parental depart, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and assaults on trans well being. Left unchecked, these crises will result in wider gaps in political participation and illustration. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Modification, and centering the tales of these most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we’re redoubling our dedication for the following 50 years. In flip, we want your assist, Help Ms. immediately with a donation—any quantity that’s significant to you. For as little as $5 every month, you’ll obtain the print journal together with our e-newsletters, motion alerts, and invites to Ms. Studios occasions and podcasts. We’re grateful on your loyalty and ferocity.