For a European Civil Society
They promote the German-Russian dialogue that plays a key part in the development of a European civil society and societies beyond the European Union. Europe is more than the European Union. They promote permeable borders surrounding the European Union. They oppose any ‘fortress mentality’ on either side.
A dialogue of people and societies
Meeting, dialogue and equal cooperation between the people of Germany, Russia and other countries within Europe are means that they build upon. Their foundation is the people and their willingness to engage. Although official relationships are important, the real and sustainable changes start as a democratic process with and within people themselves.
Learning with and from each other
Intensive contacts, joint work and a pluralistic exchange of opinions enable mutual learning, German-Russian understanding and lasting relationships based on principles of reciprocity. They, as well as their partners undergo changes. Critique and self-criticism go hand in hand. This learning process is one of their goals and never complete.
For a transparent, historically-aware picture of each other
They work to create a true image free from clichés and media hysteria. Many inaccurate preconceptions, in Russia as well as in Germany and other European countries still prevalent today are rooted in history. They hinder cooperation in other areas. Historical awareness and reappraisal (in particular of the German war of extermination and the dictatorships of both countries in the 20th century) are therefore just as important as a differentiated knowledge of the societal situation today. The memory dialogue serves the Europeanization of commemoration.
For public participation as the rule, not the exception
The peaceful intervention into domestic affairs of both, the own and the other country is typical for intergovernmental relations in the civil society field. They are therefore active in all matters related to civil, political, social as well as cultural freedoms and rights, defending them at home and abroad. Independent media, a pluralistic society and democratic institutions are their universal orientation points.
Information, education, networking as instruments for change
Dialogue, learning, social transformation: they work towards the implementation of these goals encompassing the areas of social and environmental protection; the media; democracy and human rights; European integration and memory; conflict resolution and antidiscrimination; inter-generational dialogue and support for disadvantaged groups. Their instruments for change are: civil society cooperation and non-governmental diplomacy; nation and sector-wide networking; education and exchange projects; advice from foundations, political figures and other relevant bodies as well as the participation in public debates.
Members and sponsors as their foundation
The idealistic participation and financial support of their sponsors and members is the basis of their organization. Their work is exclusively funded through donations and project-grants that guarantee their independence.