March 21-28, 2017
CGES, St. Petersburg State University
The Joint German-Russian Seminar “Russian Spring Academy” was held in Saint Petersburg for the fifth time as the continuation of the Summer European Academy organized with the same German and Russian students in July 2016. The St. Petersburg seminar was dedicated to different aspects of Russian politics and society.
15 German BA students came from Bielefeld University, Würzburg University, and University of Koblenz-Landau to take part in the “Russian Spring Academy”. The goal of the Seminar was to give the participants a better understanding of Russian politics, history, society, and culture in an international atmosphere and mutual learning from each other. In order to further the sustainability of this activity, students of St. Petersburg State University, who took part in the German-Russian Seminar in Otzenhausen in July 2016, also participated in the lectures and events of the Seminar.
The programme of the Seminar consisted of lectures delivered by professors of SPbSU, interactive training and group work, with excursions to different organisations in St. Petersburg such as the German Chamber of Commerce in St. Petersburg, creative spaces, Open Space for civil societies’ initiatives, Erarta Museum for Contemporary Arts, and the German-Russian Exchange.
As part of the Seminar, an open public discussion entitled “Current Public Agenda and Views on Russia in Germany and Europe” was organized on March 23rdin one of St. Petersburg’s creative spaces. The German guests Siegmar Schmidt, University of Koblenz-Landau, Verena Molitor, Bielefeld University, and Sebastian Zeitzmann, European Academy Otzenhausen, presented their visions of different factors determining the policy of Germany and the European Union towards Russia, changes of this policy in the recent years, as well as the representation of these changes in German media, in political and public debates, and in public opinion about Russia. The discussion was attended by about 40 participants. Evaluation feedback from the participants showed that the Seminar was very useful and successful, and that such exchange programmes for BA students are necessary in order to give them an early insight into international politics and to encourage their further interest in this field of study. The next Russian Spring Academy will take place in March 2018.