Project Activities of the Samara Civic Network

Executors of the Project

  • Historico-eco-cultural association "Povolzje"
  • Samara Internet Ltd. *

  • Samara State Technical University *

  • Samara State University *

  • 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 and seminars.

    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 state authority.

    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.

    Samara website 1

    The first page of the CIVnet website in Samara.

    Samara website 2

    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.

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