Russian delegation learns about migration policy in Berlin

Meeting of the Russian guests with lawyer Rolf Stahmann at the German Bar Association
Meeting of the Russian guests with lawyer Rolf Stahmann at the German Bar Association

On 28 and 29 September 2017 the IRZ organized a study trip to Berlin as part of the bilateral cooperation with the Russian Federation covering the topic “Migration policy: regulation in the face of today’s challenges”.

The following persons took part in the study trip:

  • Vadim Korobov, first Deputy Head of the Head Office of the Investigation Committee of the Kaluga region,
  • Yuri Zelnikov, Commissioner for Human Rights for the Kaluga region,
  • Andrey Savinov, Head of the Office of the Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in Kaluga and
  • Oksana Shabarshova, Head of the International Affairs Department of the Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.

The Russian guests took the opportunity for an intense expert exchange with representatives from different institutions in Berlin.

At the General Secretariat of the German Red Cross they discussed issues of the German asylum policy and the role of the German Red Cross. The meeting with the German Bar Association covered in depth the legal aspects and challenges regarding the protection of refugee rights, also in view of the relation between German and EU law.

The delegation exchanged experiences and gained an insight into the work of the “Zentrum zur Unterstützung der Rückkehr“ (ZUR) (return support centre), which opened this year. The ZUR coordinates collective deportations and provides passport documents, especially in problematic cases, and clarifies identities. The ZUR also processes specific individual cases, e.g. of so-called “Gefährder” (potential terrorist attackers) or habitual offenders who are obligated to leave the country.

The Berlin State Office for Refugee Affairs (LAF) is responsible for registering, providing benefits for and accommodating refugees in Berlin. At the LAF, the delegation learned about the individual steps from registration via security screening to the provision of social benefits. They also learned about the challenges in the daily work at the LAF.

Conference on “Local self-Government and challenges for modern Society” in Moscow

On 20 April 2017, a conference on “Local self-government and challenges for modern society” took place in Moscow, organised by the IRZ in collaboration with the Kudrin Foundation for the Support of Civic Initiatives (KGI) and the European Club of Experts in Local Self-Government.

The conference was opened by the Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations and KGI member, Prof. Evgeny Gontmakher. Among the more than fifty conference participants were representatives from scientific institutions, city councils and municipalities, the media and experts in local government law.

After the welcome by the organisers‘ representatives, the conference participants were grouped into three round tables. The first round table discussed the issue “Starting point: today’s role, situation and problems of local self-government”. The German expert Dr. Thomas Stöhr, Mayor and Head of the Municipal Administration of the town of Bad Vilbel, gave one of the three initial keynotes, which were followed by a discussion dealing with the experiences with and opinions about the situation of local self-goernment from the participants’ points of view.

The round table “Perspectives: challenges for modern society and tasks of local self-goverment“ considered approaches for tackling current problems. In this round table, the presentation by the German expert Prof. Dr. Jochen Franzke, Professor for Public Administration at the University of Potsdam, led to a lively discussion about the demographic change and migration in Germany and Russia, which are a challenge in both countries.

The last round table shed light on the role, opportunities and tasks of the expert community in the field of local self-government. Finally, future cooperation was discussed which was expressly desired by all participants.

The 14th edition of German Week in St. Petersburg

The 14th edition of German Week was held in St. Petersburg from 5 to 12 April 2017 under the motto “Gateways to the world”. The week included a glittering and varied programme of attractive events in the fields of culture, education, society, economy, law and science.

This series of events is organised by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in partnership with the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Northwestern branch office, and the Goethe Institute and it offers platforms for strengthening and enhancing the many relations between German partners and partners in St. Petersburg. The partner state for this year’s German Week was the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which in 2017 celebrates the 60th anniversary of its partnership with the city of St. Petersburg.
The IRZ also once again supported the German Consulate General in St. Petersburg, the Russian Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice for the Russian Federation and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation as they prepared and developed the programme for a forum on “Constitutional justice in Russia and Germany” which was held on 7 April 2017 at the Ministry of Justice.

The high-profile conference was opened by the Consul General for the Federal Republic of Germany in St. Petersburg, Dr. Eltje Aderhold. On the Russian side, the participants were welcomed by Walerij D. Sorkin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, Dmitry J. Smirnov, Head of Central Office of the Russian Ministry of Justice for St. Petersburg, and Vadim A. Vinogradov, Head of the Chair for Constitutional Law and International Law at the Russian Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice for the Russian Federation.

On the German side, Friedrich-Joachim Mehmel, President of the Constitutional Court of Hamburg, Jes Möller, President of the Constitutional Court of the State of Brandenburg, and Anke Müller-Jacobsen, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the State of Berlin, contributed to the conference with presentations on comparative law.

German and Russian law professionals discussed current issues concerning constitutional justice in Russia and Germany, such as the legal framework for the activity of constitutional courts in the Russian Federation and the state constitutional courts in Germany. The discussions also covered the legal status of judges in constitutional courts, the question of when a citizen can apply to a constitutional court and the constitutional right to silence of the accused.

The areas of discussion were of enormous practical relevance to the Russian experts present and were immediately met with great interest. Lively discussions and intense exchanges of expertise between the Russian and German sides meant that the successful cooperation, which as far as legal collaboration is concerned has existed for years, could be continued and further enhanced with new content.
In future years, the IRZ will continue to play an active role in organising the traditional German Week in St. Petersburg.

Download: Programme and brochure for German Week