The conference "Human Rights in Russia: the past and the present" was held in Perm city on the 21st - 23rd of June. Different scientists, human rights activists, teachers of human rights, including the participants of the Russian - American exchanges took part in the conference. It was organized by Kennan Institute of advanced Russian studies (Washington), Association of Kennan Institute of advanced Russian studies graduates, Center for the support of democratic youth initiatives (Perm), and Memorial museum of the history of Political Repression and Totalitarism and Perm State Pedagogical University. The financial support of the conference was organized due to the grants of the funds NED, IREX and Kennan Institute of advanced Russian studies.
The program of the conference contained reports of 44 participants, 21 of whom participated in the programs of Russian - American exchanges (Kennan, IREX, ASPRIAL, USAID, USIS, JFDP, Fulbright, Freedom Support Act, USIA Summer Institute), 10 human rights activists (including 4 former political prisoners). 13 teachers of the Human rights course and civil society course at schools took part in the conference. Besides more than 20 people came as guests to the conference, including the representatives of the administration of the Perm State Pedagogical University, Perm city and region, journalists and etc. The representative of the president of Russia G. A. Zaitzev, vice - governor V.G. Sergeev, vice - mayor of Perm city O.M. Zdanov opened the conference with the greeting.
The prepared reports were very interesting. They served as a basis for the subsequent discussions during which the participants could exchange their points of view on the acute problems. It was very important in particular that scientists could meet practitioners (teachers and human rights activists) and it stimulated lively disputes.
The third day of the conference was wholly devoted to an outgoing session in the Memorial museum of the history of political repression and Totalitarism which is on the site of the former political prison "Perm - 36" (Chusovoy district, village Kuchino). The extreme interest of the participants is explained not only by the visiting of the unique museum but also by the participation of the former political prisoners of this camp - Vasil Ovsienko, Michail Gorin and Victor Pestov who told the history of it.
The work of the conference was transmitted on Mass media (in press, TV and radio).
As a result of the conference, according to the words of the participants, there appeared new partnership relations between participants of the Russia - American exchanges, scientists, human rights activists, teachers of human rights course from Perm- Moscow, Jaroslavl, Novosibirsk, Kiev, Omsk, N. - Tagil, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Rostov - on - the - Don, Krasnojarsk and other cities.
Besides at the end of 1999 we plan to publish a booklet of materials of the conference and send it to the participants of the Russian - American exchanges, to the human rights organizations and teachers of the human rights course.