The Boris Nemtsov Forum is one of the leading conferences which bring together Russian, European and American politicians, activists, intellectuals and journalists who share liberal values and have a strong interest in facilitating dialogue between global-minded Russians and Europeans. The Forum pays tribute to the legacy of Boris Nemtsov, former first Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government and opposition leader, killed in 2015.
Boris Nemtsov Forum 2019 discusses major fears which prevail in the Russian domestic policy, relations with neighbours and Russian-European dialogue. The Forum’s agenda included two plenary sessions and nine panel discussions on the most pressing issues related to Russia.
“Fighting Fear – in Russia and beyond”
Fear has become a defining factor of Russian social and political reality, and fear defines the relationship between Russia and her neighbours. While fear as perception of anticipated danger can sharpen one’s senses it also oversimplifies disparities, boosts stereotypes and distorts sober analysis of reality. In the memory of Boris Nemtsov the 4th Boris Nemtsov Forum gives young independent activists and academics from Russia a voice, to discuss perspectives of a liberal democratic future and overcoming fear, together with European participants. Warsaw is the venue for 2019 to support independent civil society links between Russian, Polish and other European citizens at times where official dialogue has been eaten by (sometimes founded) fear.
Spreading fear boosts stereotypes, weakens the checks and balances of democracy and increases violence. This forum shall fight stereotypes, find ideas to re-strengthen checks and balances and found a common European future of peace and liberty beyond fear. Boris Nemtsov often warned of the manipulations of people in power to use fear against perceived enemies from outside and within. He answered to politics of fear in Russia, where sometimes even the concept of democracy is declared dangerous and foreign: “Democracy is universal. Democracy means the right of citizens to elect their leaders and to dismiss the leaders when they fail in their duties. Democracy means the right of citizens to criticize their leaders. Democracy means the right of citizens to information and independent courts.”
The Forum is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland in the framework of the Public Diplomacy 2019 Program, the Polish-German Cooperation Foundation, the Polish-Russian Center for Dialogue and Cooperation, the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Warsaw, and the City of Warsaw.