YD attends workshop in St. Petersburg

Singapore Democrats

Young Democrats Frederique Soh and Clarence Zeng attended a workshop in StPetersburg, Russia to learn more about effectivepolitical campaigning. $CUT$

The workshop, held from 6 – 8 Dec conducted by the Swedish InternationalLiberal Centre (SILC) and hosted by the RussianUnited Democratic Party (YABLOKO), saw a diversity of party delegatesand activists from Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Egypt, Lithuania, Serbia,Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Sweden.

At the course, the delegates were givena primer on the basic foundations of a political campaign. YABLOKO Youth, also gave a presentation of the uniquecampaigns that they have run in St. Petersburg.

Participants from Belarus, Venezuela, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine and Syria also presented their electoral campaigns in 2012, while the restproceeded on to present their most recent successful politicalcampaigns.

Notably, Safa Doghri, a medical doctor and activist in Syria, spokeof her campaign for the transitional justice system in her country: “Eventhough there is a huge number of things to do in Syria, we takethings one at a time, and ensure that the campaign’s cause goesthrough successfully.”

The course proceeded with a tour of theParliament House in St Petersburg, and YABLOKO’s office in StPetersburg, where Maxim Reznik, a St Petersburg MP,talked about the initiative to stop the building of askyscraper in St Petersburg.

Thecampaign strikes a familiar tone with our local efforts to prevent the removal of the BukitBrown Cemetery, and the OldSchool in downtown Singapore. 

Over the duration of the course,participants were able to see the similar difficulties that theruling regime has placed upon them. The issues of vote-buying,threats, media blackouts during electoral campaigns were terms alltoo familiar with each and everyone. There were also campaignspresented by the activists, whose causes and progress bear a closeresemblance with the campaigns held in the participants’ owncountries.

The participants understand thatrepresentatives of these regimes often visit each other to find outways to ensure that their way of governance will not be broken downby efforts pushed through by the people.

Similarly the oppressed will find a way to stand in solidarity, and pushagainst this tide.

The course was a very good example of ideas beingexchanged between people of different origins, to fightagainst similar forms of oppression.

The course was also a good chance tofind out from the participants, first hand, the politicalsituations in their countries. Young Democrat, Clarence Zengremarked, “The course was an eye-opener.”

“Even though theparticipants were far apart geographically, we were able to relate toeach others’ struggle for free and fair elections in our owncounties.”

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