PhD ceremony: Ms. U.D. Pape, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Civil society and the politics of HIV/AIDS in Russia
Promotor(s): prof. H.W. Hoen
Isn’t the HIV/AIDS epidemic a thing of the past, something we worried about twenty years ago, but which is not a concern anymore? No, this is not the case, and definitely not in Russia where infection rates have been growing dramatically over the past decade. Today, about 940,000 people are living with HIV in Russia. Although there is a growing recognition among decision-makers that HIV/AIDS poses a threat to social and economic development, essential prevention strategies, particularly with regard to vulnerable groups, are still not conducted in Russia’s regions, or are too limited in scale and coverage to provide an adequate response to the epidemic. Ulla Pape’s dissertation investigates the role of civil society organisations in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Russia. Pape particularly focuses on the cooperation between these organisations and Russian state institutions and questions their ability to influence policy-making in the field of HIV/AIDS. Based on case studies in Tomsk, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Moscow, the dissertation aims to understand how civil society organisations have responded to social needs and to what extent they have been able to contribute to the fight against the epidemic. On a more general note, the study strives to investigate the organisations’ contribution to social change and civil society development in post-Soviet Russia. It thus aims to situate a specific type of civil society actors into a broader socio-political context and question the organisations’ ability to represent civic interests, e.g. by using transnational ties to exert influence on domestic policy-making, and thereby contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of state-society relations in present-day Russia.
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