RHM: Tell us about Meeting Russia. Natalia Burlinova:
Meeting Russia is our flagship project. We adopted the practices of the Körber Foundation when devising it. And the Körber Foundation works intensively with young leaders (up to 40 years old and even older), selects them, invites them to Germany and arranges debating events for them. I used to participate in the events of the Körber Foundation and in the alumni network, but lately I have quit it because of my political views.
Meeting Russia is our Russian version of the German experience. We have invited young Western experts to participate in discussions of contemporary Russia and its foreign policy. Russian experts, diplomats and other officials have taken part in the discussions. Foreign participants have had opportunities to ask any questions, to debate, to visit governmental bodies. Meeting Russia is the only all-Russian public diplomacy project in the English language that has worked with the EU and U.S. I admit once again that we did not invent anything new – we used the foreign experience. The project has worked for four years and been very popular – which is why it has been included in the sanctions list. I view it as a kind of appreciation of the efficiency of our work. Now we are considering other directions for Meeting Russia.