Urban Pioneers for Russia and Belarus!
Young Actors Create Livable Industrial Cities
The project was realized both in Russia (Northwest and Baikal-region) as well as in Belarus (region of Minsk). A lot of industrial cities exist in these regions, which are often geared towards mono-production (mono-city). A typical problem of these urban regions is the lacking attractiveness for young people, which leads to a constant migration of qualified, very active young citizens.

In such cities (such as Murmansk or Ulan-Ude) there is often a lack of public spaces, which are necessary for creative self-realization and leisure time for the working youth. The weaknesses of civil society, the lacking will of the companies to invest in the social sector, the weakness and under-financing of the local administration, and the barely existing coordination across sectors to overcome challenges, all add together and stunt the development and reconstruction of urban spaces.

The main goals of the project were to improve the life quality of young people in cities in Russia (Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Murmansk) and Belarus (Minsk), to support active young people by developing their potential, to organize opportunities for civil and public participation, and to develop social infrastructure for the completion of different projects.

The project mainly aims to develop an active, young civil society, that communicates with interest groups and decision-makers about the key aspects of improving the standard of living and of gradual, sustainable transformations. At the center of the project stands the educational program of the School of Urban Pioneers, which combines proven and innovative training formats, the expertise of the partners from Germany, Russia, and Belarus, as well as the work of professional instructors.

Project manager:
Dr. Elena Stein CISR e.V. Berlin.

Project coordinator:
Olga Keller CISR e.V. Berlin

Experts and coordinators:
- Lilia Voronkova, CNSI St. Petersburg
- Ph.D. Oleg Pachenkov, University of St. Petersburg
- Candidate of science Anatoly Breslovskiy, Ulan-Ude.
- Vitaly Kukharenka, Erzprosvet Minsk
- CNSIO Irkutsk

The project was carried out within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Program with the financial support of the German Foreign Office.
The results of the project
  • More than 200 people from Ulan-Ude, Irkutsk, Minsk and Murmansk were trained at the School of Urban Pioneers.
  • A short film on the power and style of urban activism "Let's do it" was made as part of the project.
  • More than 800 people listened to online lectures and participated in the school's webinars.
  • Initiative and publication of the collection "Urban Activism in Eastern Europe an Eurasian", with articles, texts and photo reports of the project participants.
  • Urban communities were created at the project sites (e.g., the Ulan-Ude City Friends Club, more than 300 participants), and 80% of the project goals were implemented.
  • The final event of the project is the "Urban Activism Confest". - brought together over 70 experts and over 1,000 participants from 20 cities and four countries in December 2019.
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