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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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1 апреля 2015

The 30th anniversary of Perestroika. Round table discussion on “30 Years of Glasnost: Where are we now?”


On 17 March 2015, the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (The Gorbachev Foundation) and Novaya Gazeta held a joint round table themed “30 Years of Glasnost: Where are we now?” to discuss glasnost as one of the essential freedoms, and  freedom of expression, as part of the events to mark 30 years since the start of Perestroika in the Soviet Union.

Glasnost was one of the central pillars of the policy of Perestroika (1985–1991). Mikhail Gorbachev defined glasnost as “openness of social processes”, government accountability and the willingness of authorities to engage in dialogue, not just an opportunity for people to “freely speak their mind, criticize authorities, and demand change”. The policy of glasnost led to freedom of expression, abolition of political censorship, mushrooming of media outlets, and a wave of public debate. The Law on Print Media and other Mass Media adopted in June 1990 opened up real opportunities by providing a legal framework for this process.
The post-Perestroika years were a controversial period in the history of the Russian media. While the media enjoyed freedom of speech, their professional standards slipped and the gutter press gained disproportionate influence, with journalists losing moral fiber under market pressure and many media organisations developing irresponsible attitudes; the journalistic community started to virtually disintegrate. The more recent and growing dangers to glasnost and freedom of expression include the erosion of boundaries between reporting and propaganda, and attempts to bring back censorship and self-censorship.
So what is happening today to glasnost, freedom of expression and the journalistic trade? How effective is journalism in Russia? What are the ways to engage those with different views? Are social media an obstacle to this or part of the solution?
Speakers at the Round Table included: 
Leonid Nikitinsky (Novaya Gazeta),  Nadezhda Azhgikhina (Russian Union of Journalists), Andrey Arkhangelsky (Ogonyok), Mikhail Berger (Professor at National Research University Higher School of Economics), Leonid Blekher (social scientist), Lyubov Borusyak (National Research University Higher School of Economics), Tikhon Dzyadko (TV Rain), Olga Zdravomyslova (The Gorbachev Foundation), Natalia Ivanova (Znamya), Dmitry Kazmin (Media Standard), Maria Lipman (independent political analyst), Leonid Parfyonov (TV Rain), Sergey Parkhomenko (journalist), Nikolay Svanidze (Silver Rain radio),  Mikhail Sokolov (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), and others.
Hosting the Round Table were Maria Lipman (independent political analyst)and Olga Zdravomyslova (The Gorbachev Foundation).


Photos by Dmitry Belanovsky / The Gorbachev Foundation