Nordic-Russian co-operation for the social integration, prevention of marginalisation, and human rights protection for female prisoners

One-year pilot project (1.

8.2018 – 31.10.2019) funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers' Nordic-Russian co-operation programme.

The ambition of the project is to establish a Nordic-Russian experts network, ensuring exchange of experiences and best practices for human rights defense, social inclusion and prevention of marginalization of female prisoners. The project will strengthen civil society and foster cooperation between authorities, educational research institutions, and NGOs for combating gender discrimination, improvement social services, and wellbeing for female prisoners.

Rehabilitation is a key component in Nordic correctional treatment. Northern values of human rights are an integral part of the Scandinavian reputation. Russia also gets the first positive results, conducting a new prison reform, announced until 2020. Scandinavia has always represented for Russia both the best example of good European model of societal development and warning example of alien or even hostile civilization to the Russian civilization grounded on traditional values and norms. If we leave out the current freezing relations between the West and Russia, we can see that dialog and learning from the best practices would benefit in many respects Russia’s development including ongoing prison and legislation reform.

The objective of the project is to study the current situation of female former prisoners in Northwest Russia (St. Petersburg and Republic of Karelia), and to develop tools for their protection, social inclusion, and prevention of discrimination by strengthening civil society and cooperation between NGOs and local authorities. It will be done in cooperation with Nordic experts and research on the base of Nordic expertise, practice of relevant Nordic institutions, and Nordic principals of human rights protection.

It is, of course, not easy to export cultural and social values across borders, but systems and approaches that have proven functional, can at least act as an inspiration to others. Initially, it is clear that the mechanical transfer of the northern experience to Russian reality has no meaning. Therefore, it is important to convey some Russian knowledge on this issue to the Nordic countries.

The implementing body is Department of Cultures, Centre for Nordic Studies, at the University of Helsinki, which will be responsible for the coordination of the activities and organizing events in Nordic countries. Project leader is Dr. Larisa Kangaspuro, co-project leader is Professor Peter Stadius.

First expert meeting in Helsinki 31.10.-2.11.2018

The expert meeting included working meetings, discussion and a visit to the Vanaja prison´s female unit in Hämeenlinna to learn about Finnish practices of human rights protection of female prisoners and cooperation between NGOs and authorities.

Short note and programme of the first expert meeting

Third and final expert meeting in St. Petersburg 22.-24.8.2019

Ex­pert meeting and in­ter­na­tional sem­inar on wo­men's so­cial in­teg­ra­tion and prison in Nordic countries and Rus­sia.


NGO "Center for international and informational exchanges in sphere of human rights "Enlightenment", St-Petersburg, Russia

Stiftelsen Kvinnekollektivet ARKEN, Oslo, Norway

Petrozavodsk State University, Institute of Economics and Law, Petrozavodsk, Russia

IRES institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden

Nordic Russian Co-op for Social Integration, prevention of marginalisation, and protection of human rights for female prisoners in the Nordic Council of Ministers website.