Network – East
Partner Organizations: Organization of Marxists, Ukraine, Institute for Global Research and social movements, IGSO, Russia, United Left Party Fair World, Belarus
Activities: Developing cross-border networks between left-wing forces in the region.
Project Started in: 2007
Project Budget: 400 000 SEK for the period 2009-2010
Cross-border network among left forces in the region
Since 2007 VIF and left organizations in the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus have had a project to establish a political network in the region. The network facilitates exchanges between the different countries and promotes the organizations’ possibilities for taking part in the democratic process in their respective countries.
Weak democracies and political systems
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the former soviet republics took different paths with respect to the formation of their respective political and economic systems. At the same time, the majority of the OSS states were bound together by a common historical heritage and similar social, societal and economic problems. Mass media in the OSS countries are often controlled by the state and or the oligarchy, often Russian, and private interests. In all of these countries the opposition and the independent unions are divided and weak. And the democratic structures are not well anchored among the general public. However, in all of the countries of the region there are popular movements and other volunteer organizations that try to create alternatives and point out possible paths to democratic and socially just development. But the democratic opposition is largely marginalized and is not infrequently the target of repression. The most difficult conditions are those faced by Belarus organizations, which are held back by overt repression and are carefully monitored by the authorities.
Network conferences and a web portal
The goal of the project is to establish a cross-border network that can strengthen the democratic left and ultimately even promote peace and democracy in the region. The project includes, among other things, network conferences, exchange visits and a common web portal for the exchange of information among Russian-speaking left groups. Through these exchanges, the organizations even receive support for carrying out opinion building activities and integrating a gender equality perspective in their work.
In this project VIF cooperates primarily with three organizations:
1. Belarus United Left Party "A Just World” (former PKB) is one of the most important opposition parties in Belarus. The party is a member of the European Left Parties. The party has cooperated with VIF and the Left Party (of Sweden) since 2005.
2. For several years now, the independent Institute for Global Research and Social Movements (IGSO) has functioned as a link between different parts of the Russian left. IGSO has even functioned as a bridge between Russian politics and European arenas, thanks to its publishing and conference activities.
3. The Marxist’s organization, OM, is an independent left organization in the Ukraine, with roots in the renewal wing of Ukraine’s Communist Party (KPU). OM has developed into a nationwide network of regional and local popular movements. Since the autumn of 2007, OM has cooperated with VIF.
Facts about the Region
Region/Countries: East (Mainly Russia, Ukraine and Belarus)
Belarusian, Russian (Belarus)
Ukrainian, Russian (Ukraine)
Population: (2010, estimated)
140 million (Russia)
10 million (Belarus)
46 million (Ukraine)
BNP/capita: (2009, estimated)
15 100 USD (Russia)
12 500 USD (Belarus)
6 300 USD (Ukraine)
17 098 242 km² (Russia)
207 600 km² (Belarus)
603 550 km² (Ukraine)