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UNRISD Flagship Report Launched In Moscow

20 Jun 2002



Visible Hands in Russian was launched at the Russian Academy of Sciences on 22 January 2002, in Moscow, in the presence of high government officials.

The event, which took the form of panel presentations followed by an animated discussion, was organized in collaboration with Russian academician Valery Tishkov, a former UNRISD Board Member. UNRISD was represented by Nicolas Bovay (information officer) and Krishna Ghimire (research co-ordinator).

The Russian Federal Minister of Labour and Social Development, Alexander Pochinok, the Russian Federal Minister of Health, Yurij Shevchenko, and the Deputy-Head of the Committee on Nationalities of the State Duma gave thought-provoking presentations on the issues covered in the report. There were about 90 participants, including heads of parliamentary committees of the Russian State Duma and other governmental representatives, non-governmental organizations, academics and representatives of universities, civil society and the media. UNRISD placed particular emphasis, in it's presentation, on the role of civil society movements, which in the Russian context, are a nascent but vibrant phenomenon.

Government officials expressed enthusiastic support for Visible Hands and stated that it was particularly relevant in light of the problems faced by Russian society today. Minister Pochinok voiced his appreciation of the report's discussion on pension, as his government was presently looking for initiatives and solutions in the area. The Deputy-Head of the Committee on Nationalities endorsed the analysis presented on ethnic conflicts, especially the argument that ethnic conflicts become worse when ethnic groups get politicised. A university professor voiced appreciation of the report's 'understandable' endorsement of a greater role of the state in social development. Yet he reflected on past failures of the state to deliver in that area. Another commentator remarked that the title of Visible Hands was very appropriate. As he said: "Markets are not only visible, they are dormant: So you don’t know when it can wake up and strike you".

Widespread distribution of Visible Hands in Russian has been undertaken throughout Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

We warmly thank Ms. Natalja Kulakova for all her invaluable assistance before and during the conference.

The English language version of the UNRISD's flagship report Visible Hands was launched during the Geneva 2000 summit. Since then the report has been translated into French, Spanish and Russian, with the Arabic version announced as imminent. A Portuguese version of the report's summary was translated in time for the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in 2002. It is expected that the Farsi and Chinese versions will follow at a later date.