The Ion Ratiu Democracy Award 2010 to be presented in Washington DC

9th November 2010

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Russian Democracy Activist OLEG KOZLOVSKY to receive 2010 Ion Ratiu Democracy Award

The Ratiu Foundation is pleased to announce that Oleg Kozlovsky, a political activist and co-founder of Solidarnost, United Democratic Movement in Russia, will receive the 2010 Ion Ratiu Democracy Award on Thursday, 2 December, as part of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Workshop “Democracy: New Tools for the Struggle” at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. Versiunea in limba romana a acestui text o gasiti aici. Oleg Kozlovsky is the Co-Founder of the Solidarnost United Democratic Movement and a Co-Founder of Oborona, a democratic youth movement in Russia. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Other Russia Coalition from 2007-2009 and Co-Chairman of the youth union of the Union of Right Forces (SPS) political party between 2006 and 2007. Currently, Kozlovsky is the Executive Director of Vision of Tomorrow Foundation and an analyst with the Anti-Corruption Policy Lab at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Oleg was the organiser of many nonviolent actions and rallies in defence of democracy and human rights in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova. He has been arrested and detained multiple times for this, and even conscripted illegally into the army, released only after an international civic campaign of support. During his latest detention in May 2008, Oleg was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International and was fully acquitted after serving the sentence. The purpose of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award is to bring visibility and international recognition to the ideas and accomplishments of individuals around the world who are working on behalf of democracy. The event expresses the deep commitment to democracy of the late Ion Ratiu through his contributions as a Romanian politician as well as his interest in democratic change worldwide. Ion Ratiu (1917–2000) was the most outspoken and consistent voice of opposition to Nicolae Ceausescu, whose regime he opposed for years from London as the democratically elected leader of the World Union of Free Romanians. Journalist, broadcaster and author, he was also a successful businessman in shipping and property, while simultaneously operating as a kind of Scarlet Pimpernel, assisting in the rescue of many who fled from Ceausescu’s dictatorship. After fifty years in exile he returned to his homeland in 1990 to contest the presidency. Although he won a seat in Parliament, and was to serve his country for his last ten years, his failure to win the presidency was a disappointment to many. Even nowadays, on Romanian streets, Ion Ratiu is remembered fondly, often referred to as “the best president Romania never had”. The Ion Ratiu Democracy Award aims to replicate for campaigning democrats today, whether in exile from repressive regimes or representative of today’s emerging democracies, the life-changing experience in Washington DC of the Romanian democrat, Ion Ratiu, in the 1970s and 1980s. This year, the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award reaches its sixth edition. Past awardees include Sergio Aguayo (Mexico, 2005), Saad El-Din Ibrahim (Egypt, 2006), Anatoli Mikhailov (Belarus, 2007), Eleonora Cercavschi (Moldova, 2008), and Adam Michnik (Poland, 2009). Starting with 2010, The Ion Ratiu Democracy Award offers a month-long scholarship at the Wilson Center that allows the awardee to take advantage of the Woodrow Wilson Center's and Washington's unique resources. Awardees will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the scholarly, policymaking, and NGO communities in Washington, D.C. The 2010 Awardee will present the results of this experience at a workshop at the Woodrow Wilson Center, to be held on 2 December. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the national, living memorial honouring President Woodrow Wilson. In providing an essential link between the worlds of ideas and public policy, the Center addresses current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. The Center promotes policy-relevant research and dialogue to increase understanding and enhance the capabilities and knowledge of leaders, citizens, and institutions worldwide. Created by an Act of Congress in 1968, the Center is a non-partisan institution headquartered in Washington DC. and supported by both public and private funds. Details on The Ion Ratiu Democracy Award is funded by the Ratiu Foundation. The Ratiu Foundation is a charitable organisation established in 1979 by the leading Romanian dissident and democracy campaigner, Ion Ratiu, and his wife Elisabeth Ratiu. The goals of the Foundation are to further education and research in the culture and history of Romania in particular, and also to stimulate and support civil society in its understanding and application of democracy and democratic principles the world over. Details on Photo: Oleg Kozlovsky arrested during a ‘Dissenter’s March’ in 2007. Source: Oleg Kozlovsky’s English language blog Help us spread the word on the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award 2010: send this release in your network, join the event’s Facebook page, link or embed on your blog or website the YouTube trailer, or Tweet about it.