Recently our friend Gleb Tyurin organized a high level meeting on innovative ways in rural development in the Region of Vologda (between Moscow and Archangelsk). A group of experts and local and federal policy makers awaited dialogue with external participants via videobridge. To my bad surprise, Gleb seemed to be very nervous in the morning when the conference started. We could only connect shortly and he said there were going to be troubles and cut the line. I witnessed hefty arguments in the room. Then I heard nothing any more. I went and collected Professor Gerlind Weber, one of Austrias leading experts on spatial planning, from her lecture in a nearby multipurpose cinema and lecture theatre. We sat before the black screen and there was no way to connect. Equally a number of members of our network in various parts of the world that we had alerted to this occasion also found no way to connect.
It turned out that the local administration was affraid not to violate a law that forbids public foreign connections that are not reported to the foreign ministery in Russia - especially if an event has official governmental status.
Later there was a sign of hope. The following letter is in English and has official character.араде на бланке Департаме.pdf