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July 2006 

The network of writers associated with Women’s WORLD in Russia held four days of meetings in June, 2006, at which they discussed literary questions, shared their work, and made future plans. The meetings were organized by Svetlana Vassilenko, novelist and director of the Russian Union of Democratic Writers, and Nadezdha Azhgikhina, program officer of the Russian Journalists Union and vice-chair of Women’s WORLD.

The first meeting, sponsored by the Swedish Institute, was held in Tver on June 17, and included a spirited discussion of what it means to be a feminist writer in Russia. The second meeting, at the writers’ colony, Peredelkin, took place on June 18; in addition to Russian writers from many parts of the country, it was also attended by Meredith Tax, President of Women’s WORLD. Various forms of networking on the web were discussed, including the possibility of creating a Russian feminist literary magazine to be hosted on the Women’s WORLD website.

The third meeting, in Moscow on June 19, also sponsored by the Swedish Institute, was entitled “Gender and Media: Experiences from Sweden and Russia.” It covered subjects ranging from the new Swedish feminist party that is running candidates for Parliament to the gross differences in pay earned by male and female journalists in Russia. The meeting was followed by a reception for a new book by Nadezdha Azhgikhina about women in Sweden.

The fourth meeting, on June 20, consisted of an evaluation of the previous three days and a poetry reading by two participants, Lidia Grigorieva {Moscow/London) and Galina Umyvakina (Voronezh). Other participants in the meetings included Olga Lipovskaya (St. Petersburg), Nina Gorlanova (Perm), Galina Shekina (Vologda), Elena Yushkova (Vologda), Svetlana Svistunova (Moscow), Vera Ivanova (Smolensk), and Marina Yunitskaya (Moscow).