Monday, January 26, 2015
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS Download APP
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS


Legendary Porcelain Artworks for Your Home
The Gift Projects online showroom...


BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

19th Century Portraits

History of St. Petersburg Museum: Rumyantsev Mansion

The Kublitsky-Piotukh Family

Alexander Blok Apartment Museum

 

Перевести на русский Перевести на русский

Experts Puzzled by UNESCO Tolerance Prize for City

Published: October 27, 2009 (Issue # 1521)


The city’s human rights community had a mixed reaction to the news that St. Petersburg has been awarded the UNESCO Tolerance Prize for what the United Nation’s cultural wing regards as a major achievement in promoting tolerance.

“The UNESCO decision came as an even bigger surprise than the news about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Alexander Vinnikov, St. Petersburg coordinator of the Russia Without Racism movement. “Neither winners have done anything to deserve the prize, which means the awards were given for political reasons, unfortunately.”

Koichiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO, said the St. Petersburg government program on tolerance had been honored for its “constructive efforts to inculcate mutual respect and tolerance in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society and to prevent and eradicate all forms of discrimination.”

St. Petersburg was officially nominated for the prize by Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. The most visible evidence of the government program has been the distribution on the St. Petersburg metro of flyers with quotations on the theme of tolerance from Russia’s greatest writers and cultural luminaries.

UNESCO’s decision has left people across the political spectrum perplexed. Liberals and nationalists alike spoke about the award with surprise bordering on astonishment.

“I have not noticed any breakthrough in terms of tolerance,” Vinnikov said. “On the contrary, the level of xenophobia in the city remains exceptionally high, which is most alarming.”

Human rights advocates say that many people in government agencies across Russia are xenophobic in various ways and manifest their xenophobia in the course of their official duties. For example, the Police University in St. Petersburg approved and adopted an explicitly anti-semitic textbook of contemporary Russian history. The textbook was banned from classrooms after a high-profile scandal necessitating intervention by President Dmitry Medvedev.

In March this year, the 15-day Xenophobii.NET (No to Xenophobia) campaign ended in arrests when viewers leaving a screening at Rodina film theater in the center of St. Petersburg were dispersed by the police. A group of film-goers, mostly anarchists and members of the antifascist movement, were heading to a metro station after watching the film when the police attacked the group, detained around 20 of them and drove them to a police station, while the rest managed to escape.

In an interview with the BaltInfo news agency, Andrei Kuznetsov, a public relations coordinator for the St. Petersburg branch of the ultra right wing Movement Against Illegal Migration (DPNI), said UNESCO’s experts had made a superficial judgment.

Pages: [1] [2]






 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







Times Talk