Photos by Maya Shelkovnikova.
Ashton Kutcher, an actor and a co-founder of The Demi and Ashton Foundation, formulated the expectations of the U.S. participants from the meeting by telling how his Twitter had helped him raise $100.000 to fight malaria in Sudan. The Russian side wasn’t prepared, though, to give any particular account of its activities to only resort to promising statements that in their work they use e-mail and plan to start creating websites.
We tried to somehow fix the situation, when Ilya Ponomarev, a member of the Russian Parliament, asked Howard Solomon, Director for Russian Affairs at the National Security Council, to call local bloggers - Elia Kabanov and Artem Loskutov.
Artist Loskutov told the audience about his involvement in the organization of the public campaigns called "Monstrations" and how it had attracted the attention of law enforcement to him. He described how the police had put a package of marijuana in his bag which led to the court authorizing his arrest. Loskutov described the chronology of the public campaign in his support, which had started in blogs and then with the help of the media came to the streets of many cities inside the country and around the world. Of course, a possible proximity of the conviction added up to the personal appeal of this story - the next hearing of Artem’s case will be held on February 24th; the prosecutor had demanded a suspended sentence sentence of one year.
During the Loskutov's monologue the Russian participants nervously giggled, some of them wished they could disappear at that very moment, whereas the Americans listened to him with their mouths open. Once Artem finished speaking, several of them told him they were ready to offer Loskutov help and support.
Probably, it was the main achievement which made this meeting worthwhile. It was certainly not the speeches of some fake volunteers, nor the moderator ignoring the participants, but a sincere reaction of foreign IT specialist and diplomats on the state of affairs in Russia.
Text by Elia Kabanov.
Edited by NovosibirskGuide.com, Ernesto Garcia Melijov.