March 20-27, 2018
CGES, St. Petersburg State University
The Joint German-Russian Seminar ‘Russian Spring Academy’ was held in St. Petersburg in March 2018 for the seventh time, as usual – in continuation of the Summer European Academy in Otzenhausen organized with the same German and Russian students in July-August 2017.
The St. Petersburg Seminar was dedicated to different aspects of Russian politics and society.
17 German BA and MA students came from Bielefeld University, Würzburg University, and University of Koblenz-Landau to gain a better understanding of Russian politics, history, society, and culture in an international atmosphere of mutual learning. 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 also participated in the Spring Academy.
The programme of the Seminar consisted of lectures delivered by professors of St. Petersburg State University, interactive training and group work, and excursions to different organisations in St. Petersburg such as the ‘Memorial’ Information Centre, creative spaces, Open Space for civil societies’ initiatives, Museum of the Political Prison in the Peter and Paul Fortress.
As part of the Seminar, an open public discussion on the ‘History and Current Views on Russia in Germany and Europe’ was organized in one of St. Petersburg’s creative spaces. The German guests Julia Renner, University of Koblenz-Landau, Nora Sefa, University of Würzburg, 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 the German media, in political and public debates, and in the public opinion about Russia. The discussion was attended by over 50 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 February-March 2019.