Human Rights Defenders

“Foreign Agents”. Who are they?

anna dobrovolskaya

The idea of a video documentary project about human rights defenders was conceived in the beginning of 2012, when the so-called “Law on Foreign Agents” was not yet adopted. However, a heated discussion in mass media was already going on; the “agential” rhetoric was spreading in the public sphere and became a part of human rights defenders’ vernacular.

We felt that people did not really understand what we were doing, and, starting from January 2012, we had to begin virtually every conversation by stating that we were not “foreign agents”. Of course, in a sense, every person, let alone a human rights defender, is an agent of some social process – we certainly accept such a role.

This project is, on the one hand, our own attempt to explain to the world who we are and why we are doing what we are doing. On the other hand, this is a moment of self-reflection – are we really some kind of agents, and if yes, then the agents of what? What are we “agenting”, and who are we “agenting” this for?

What do we expect from the audience? Questions. And feedback. Our stories will most likely arouse some kind of reaction – from empathy to aversion. Please, share those with us. Comment on the videos in social networks, contact us, and ask questions. We will try our best to communicate with each and every one.