Many smart, talented, well-educated and successful Russians have left our country over the years for a number of reasons. Whatever those reasons may be, they have learned to adapt in a different culture and have thrived in the free societies of the United States and Europe.
The challenge of the Diaspora Engagement Program is to unite Russian diaspora in the United States, raise its public voice and engage them in social and political processes back home. Our people represent entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and social disruptors. They still have roots firmly in Russia and care deeply about our homeland. Despite popular myths about Russians, they are not indifferent to the recent deterioration of rights and freedom under the leadership of President Putin. We all live in hope the freedom to succeed. Together with the growing and vibrant Russian diaspora, we want to drive the agenda for change and believe strongly that it can only happen when Russian voices living outside of our country can speak in unison. We want their success to return to our Motherland. Free Russia wants to utilize what the best and brightest of our Russian diaspora has produced to unify and propel our community to be agents of social change and activism. We will do so through a series of programs that will:
- Engage our diaspora in crowd sourcing and crowd funding for pro-democracy causes, advocacy or awareness campaigns.
- Promote a positive Russian agenda among policymakers, the international media, the public, and community organizations and showcase people of success.
- Train in the use of best practices of social changes and communities development for entrepreneurs and civil society leaders.
- Use diaspora support to educate social and political activists in Russia and abroad on the best advocacy and communication tactics.
- Provide financial assistance and information to recent asylees. Russia and abroad on the best advocacy and communication tactics.
- Provide financial assistance and information to recent asylees.
The Russian diaspora hasn’t always acted as a unified force. Many people found they way abroad from events spanning different times in Russia’s history. The latest wave of Russian immigrants, however, is nearly unified in the belief that they’ve left our homeland because it no longer provides for a free and fair society. They’ve left because we want greater opportunity to succeed, to escape a repressive political system and to be able to raise our children in a more tolerant society. Most of them want to be able to return to our country, but not under the current oppressive regime. Our mission is to coordinate those people and to engage them into public agenda in the United States.
Free Russia unites not only political and social activists or experts, but we also engage people of success with post Soviet descent: businesspeople and technology entrepreneurs. Fifteen years of Putinism left Russian human resources in deep crisis. It is visible on all level of governance, both in public and private sectors. At the same time Russian-speaking specialists and entrepreneurs had found their success in the West. Free Russia Foundation is committed to work with these “new generation Russians” to:
- Engage Russian-born intellectuals to develop and push forward the strategic vision of democratic reforms in the country.
- Develop technological and social projects targeted to create cross-border communities and engage existing social groups to grow new Russian-born leadership.
- Invest in socially disruptive and transformative projects back in Russia and help them to grow.
- Create “shadow government” to be returned in Russia after the beginning of social and political changes in the country.