INDEX ON CENSORSHIP | VOL.50 | NO.2
A VERY TOUGH MENTOR
NATALIA TYSHKEVICH, a student journalist who has been placed under house arrest for participating in a video about freedom of expression, describes how the feminist activist and researcher NADIA PLUNGIAN shaped her views
THE WOMAN WHO is my inspiration is the most difficult friend I’ve ever had and the toughest mentor. But looking back I see now that she helped propel me out of the academic world into media activism. I met feminist activist Nadia Plungian during the summer I graduated from the Moscow 57th School, considered to be one of the best schools in Moscow. Nadia was a well-known figure within Russia’s feminist community. She was also an alumna of my school, and she had a strong position against the sexual abuse that had been happening there for years.
In September 2016, that situation became public and exploded into a vast media scandal, much discussed on
Nadia was a well-known figure within Russia’s feminist community...and she had a strong position against the sexual abuse that had been happening there for years
Free speech in numbers
2.5million The number of people arrested in London during so-called Kill the Bill demonstrations against UK government plans to increase police powers The number of vexatious lawsuits still active against Maltese investigative journalist Daphne
The number of followers on Weibo of popular blogger Qiu Ziming, who has been jailed for eight months for questioning the Chinese death toll in Indian border clashes in 2020
Caruana Galizia, who was murdered in 2017
The percentage of convictions against journalists in Turkey in 2020 which were for alleged terrorism-related offences
ABOVE: Russian feminist activist Nadia Plungian
Russian social networks and in media such as Meduza and BBC Russia. However, student voices were absent from the conversation. I interviewed my schoolmates who were survivors of sexual abuse, but only for an internal investigation that was never finished. We trusted neither the school administration nor journalists.
We needed a different type of approach. We started meeting Nadia to discuss the issues of gender and social practices in the post-Soviet context. The comparison of contemporary society with the Soviet one gave me an understanding of where the institutional control and the prohibition of criticism came from.
For years, Nadia existed in different worlds – academic, artistic and activist, experimenting with all these fields, provoking new situations. She was a
C R E D I
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T y s h k e v i c h ) I v a n
V o d o p ’ j a n o v /
K o m m e r s a n t / S i p a
U S A ; (
N a d i a
P l u n g i a n )
V a l e r i j L e d e n e v / F l i c k r