Alumna 2018: Nataliia Donskova

Alumna 2018: Nataliia Donskova

Journalist, Project “Women.Society.Prison” (Russian Federation)

Could you describe yourself in 3 words?

  • To be keen on something
  • To communicate
  • To learn

What drives you in your everyday work?

In my everyday work, I’m driven by the general principle of our project: positive transformations in the executive system could occur in 20 years, but if we do nothing today, they won’t come even in 40 years. Sometimes it might be tough, for instance, when risks, pressure and other difficulties appear. In such situations, I feel the strong support of Leonid Agafonov, the founder of the project “Women.Society.Prison”, where I work. In my mind, supervision is very important for activists. Moreover, participation in events like Europe Lab really gives inspiration.

What kind of change do you want to bring to your local level?

We are struggling for systemic changes in the executive system of Russia. Our core aims refer to an increase of non-custodial sentences for pregnant women and women with children, improvements in health care for prisoners and a possibility to get released for prisoners with serious illnesses. Furthermore, we are engaged in research on the current situation of LGBT people in Russian prisons.

What idea of Europe do you wish and fight for?

We would like to see human rights being respected in the process of interaction with law enforcement and the criminal executive systems. In general, we welcome the idea of reducing the prison population and expanding the probation and rehabilitation system.

What inspired you the most about being a part of Europe Lab?

I was inspired by the human rights agenda, and especially by the gender workshop (led by Bianca Constantin, among others). I had the opportunity to meet colleagues from Russia and other countries. In addition, a friend of mine participated in the Forum a few years ago and highly recommended this event to me. I liked the fact that the Piteşti Prison Memorial, as a symbolic place, was chosen for holding the event. The director of the museum, Maria Axinte, welcomed us very warmly.