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Joint German-Russian-Belgian Seminar ‘Russian Spring Academy 2019. Post-elections, in a Different World… Germany/EU and Russia: Return to Better Times?’

February 26 – March 05, 2019

CGES, St. Petersburg University

The Joint German-Russian-Belgian Seminar ‘Russian Spring Academy’ was held in St. Petersburg for the seventh time as the continuation of the Summer European Academy 2018 organized at the European Academy of Otzenhausen, Germany. 21 German BA and MA students from Bielefeld University, Würzburg University, Gent University, and University of Koblenz-Landau took part in the ‘Russian Spring Academy’. The goal of the study trip was to give the participants a better understanding of Russian politics, history, society, and culture in an international atmosphere and mutual learning. 

The programme of the Seminar consisted of lectures by professors of SPbU, interactive training and group work, workshops, a field trip to Veliky Novgorod with the visit of the Novgorod State University and local journalists’ union, as well as of excursions to different organisations in St. Petersburg such as the ‘Memorial’ Information Centre, creative spaces.

As part of the Seminar, an open public discussion titled ‘How is the European Union Now Doing and Where Is It Moving?’ was organized on February 28th in the creative space Golitsyn Hall. The German guests Siegmar Schmidt and Alina Vinke, University of Koblenz-Landau, Gisela Müller-Brandeck Bocquet, University of Würzburg, Sebastian Zeitzmann, European Academy Otzenhausen and Anastasiia Shirokaya, St. Petersburg University, presented their visions on different factors determining the current policies and developments of the European Union connected with the electoral campaign for the European Parliament, Brexit, migration policy, etc. The discussion was attended by more than 60 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 2020.