The 4th Russian Social Forum took place from 1 to 4 May during the days of the World Social Forum in Mexico City and was closely linked to it — both thematically and in terms of the circle of participants.
The Russian Social Forum (RSF), took place under the difficult geopolitical and economic conditions that have emerged in the world and in Russia this spring, and in an environment where the threat of Covid still persists. Given these circumstances, the Forum was held mainly online.
The Forum was attended by social activists from Europe, Asia, North and South America. A distinctive feature of the RSF was the active participation of young people in its preparation as well as the fact that all work was carried out exclusively on a voluntary basis.
The aim of the Forum was to discuss and summarise the experiences of social movements, trade unions, and NGOs in order to create the basis for their future work in a changed world.
Main themes of the panels:
- socio-economic development strategy
- society and the state: shaping social policy in education, science, culture, and health
- science, culture, and education: heritage conservation and development
- trade union movement and labour legislation
- left-wing feminism under current conditions
- environmental issues in modern society
- protection of residents’ rights and development of territorial self-governance
- geopolitical and economic contradictions of modernity and future friendship of nation
- the future of left-wing information space
- social creativity as a driver of sustainable development
The most important results of the RSF include:
Firstly, the establishment of a constructive dialogue between independent trade union organisations in Russia as well as an exchange of experience in organising effective actions and cooperation under difficult conditions. At the trade union seminars, clear demands were formulated to amend the Labour Code, measures to support arrested activists, etc.
Secondly, the causes and conclusions of successes and failures in the struggle for the preservation of cultural heritage sites, scientific and educational institutions (especially the Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg), as well as the solution of environmental problems (the experience of successes in the fight against landfills, etc.) were elaborated.
Thirdly, the experiences and demands in the field of science and education developed by scientific and educational movements (especially the Congress for Education, Science and Technology) were summarised and systematised. These concern the implementation of the tasks of transition to lifelong education for everyone, the development of egalitarian educational principles, the decommercialisation and democratisation of education and science. The demands were formulated in the form of draft laws and resolutions, which were submitted to the deputies of the left fractions that participated in the RSF for enforcement in the Duma (Parliament of the Russian Federation).
Fourthly, forms of activity — using numerous internet resources and YouTube channels, adequate to modern conditions — have been developed in the left information media.