Project Activities of the Samara Civic Network
Executors of the Project
- Historico-eco-cultural association "Povolzje"
Director of the Project: Boris Z. Chertkov
Description of the Project
This project aims at creating Russian civil Internet network in Samara
region which will increase the interaction level among state, commercial
and non-state Internet sectors, as well as the interaction within the
non-state sector itself.
The primary strength of the Samara Civic Network (SCN) is in the broad
coalition of organizations involved in its organization and governance.
While the key partners are the historical-eco-cultural association
Povolzje and the Samara State Technical University (SSTU), the consortium
includes strong participation from the Samara regional administration, the
Russian Engineering Academy, a local Internet service provider, a local
federation of children's organizations, a local legal organization, a
local NGO association, and the Open Society Institute (which is providing
funds for small grants to attract/fund information resources development
for the SCN).
The consortium has developed a shared leadership responsibility which
assigns most of the technical and engineering responsibilities to the SSTU
and more humanitarian/social aspects of the project to Povolzje. But,
very importantly, the project provides a broader base of community
participation in governance through an executive board of directors, a
local user committee, and is currently forming a finance committee
representing local government, local ISPs, and local business and
finance. Project organizers have reached out to local and regional
government organizations to gain their participation and support.
Project organizers have established a good technical infrastructure for
the network (including hardware, software and telecommunications
capacity). All equipment provided by F&P for the project has been
received, installed and is now in use.
The SCN has developed a sizeable volume of information resources of
interest to the local community (including over 100 articles for the
"Samara Regional Ethnos and Culture" Web site as well as other resources
on the local community and local life); have helped local nonprofit
organizations develop and publish their content for the network, and
developed an overall structure and organization for the new SCN Internet
site. Local information content focuses on local nature, history,
regional industries, life and work of local artists and writers, theaters,
museums, architectural and cultural points of interest, and local places
of religious significance. A local directory of local nonprofit
organizations has been published as well. Organizers have already begun
publicizing existence of the SCN through distribution of two printings of
an information brochure on the project (2000 copies); a special
publication for local NGOs, and through word of mouth at local meetings
Four public access sites have been established (with a total of 13
workstations located in four different locations); a number of training
activities conducted (with over 100 participants); and free access to the
Internet and email services provided to over 20 NGOs.
Description of the Grand Opening Ceremony
The grand opening ceremony for the Samara Civic Network was held on March
19, 1999 in the Samara State Technical University. The event generated
wide-spread interest in the local community with more than 50 individuals
represented. These include Greg Cole (F&P), Tanya Stepanova (F&P), Boris
Chertkov (Samara State Technical University and SCN principal
investigator), Sergey Agapov (Povolzhje), Nickolay Saptsin (technical
director), Dmitry Latukhin (Chelyabinsk Civic Network), V.I. Astafiev
(pro-rector, Samara State University), Valery Alekseevich Kamynin (local
government), M.A. Kuziakin (TASIS project representative), P.A. Kulakov
(first pro-rector, Samara State University), L.A. Seryh (Open Society
Institute), Dr. Suhov (Internet chief, Samara Space Academy), L.M. Fridman
(pro-rector, Samara State Architecture Academy), J.A. Tihonov (Chamber of
Commerce), several user representatives of the Samara Civic Network
(representing different NGO organizations), two TV stations, Russian Radio
station, two local newspapers and two local magazines.
Several speakers presented their ideas on different aspects of the SCN
project. The local administration speaker devoted his comments to
problems of formation of a uniform local community information space for
science, education, culture and noncommercial organizations of the Samara
area as well as the value to this process of the SCN. The administration
of area supports development of the SCN as it represents one of the major
tools of construction of a democratic society and promotion and
development of mutual understanding between the population and bodies of
Project organizers have presented an aggressive agenda for further project
development in the next 3-6 months. These include increasing contacts
with local non-profit organizations; improving relationship with local
administration and gaining their greater involvement in project
development; formalizing a financial committee structure; focusing special
effort on fund raising and establishing a more solid financial footing for
the project; establishing a series of regular (at least monthly) meetings
for the local community; introducing special introductory courses on use
of the SCN (and the Internet generally); opening new public access sites;
dramatically improving local information content; installing additional
dial-up phone lines; publishing information from the local government and
increasing local NGO publishing activities.
The first page of the CIVnet website in Samara.
Pointers to information about what local government
offices and activities in Samara.
More information about Samara can be found at Russian Communities
on the Net page.