Humanitarian of the Year

Sergei Parkhomenko

Sergei Parkhomenko is a Russian publisher, journalist and political commentator.

The author and initiator of the project "Last address," which aims to perpetuate the memory of our compatriots who have been victims of political repression and state tyranny in the Soviet era. He took as its basis the famous European project "stumbling block," which involves the addition of brass plaques on pavements and walkways with the names of victims of the Nazis — lest they be forgotten. This project has already spread to 650 cities in 11 European countries, and has more than 45,000 plaques in memory of Holocaust victims.

Sergei Parkhomenko adapted the idea to a Russian format. Its purpose is to erect thousands of personal memorial signs of a single style on the facades of houses, the addresses of which were the last known addresses of victims of political repressions in Russia. The underlying principle of the project is "One name, one life, one sign." Each memorial sign, which is a plate made of galvanized steel measuring 11 by 19 or 12 by 17 centimeters (tablets little larger than the palm of your hand), is devoted to one person.

It is a very simple, block font manually applied using stamps, a few lines of basic information about the victim of political repression — the name, occupation, date of birth, death and rehabilitation. On the left of the plaque is an empty square like a bullet hole. Like a place for a photograph — but it does not exist, and the person is long gone. The only thing that descendants can do is to preserve the memory of that particular repression.

Funding for the manufacture of each specific memorial sign, application of the text and its erection at a particular address is provided by the targeted donations on behalf of the initiator of the installation of this particular sign. The amount of such donations to a single character is no more than 4,000 rubles.

The project involves the creation of a public database in which anyone can carry out a search, starting from an interest in any of the addresses or from an interest in a name.

The first memorial signs from the projects were erected in Moscow on Dec. 10, 2014 — Human Rights Day. Now Russia has more than 100 such signs. The applications for their manufacture number about 1,000.

Natalya Rostova

Natalia Rostova is a graduate of the Faculty of Journalism and senior correspondent at She highlights problems in the media in Nezavisimaya Gazeta,, Gazeta and Novaya Gazeta.She was a staff writer at the Sevodnya newspaper.

By the 25th anniversary of the abolition of censorship in the Soviet Union, Natalia Rostova had launched a website, "The birth of the Russian media. The Gorbachev era (1985-1991)." The project is dedicated to the history of the media in the last six years of the Soviet Union, in the years of perestroika and glasnost, when Mikhail Gorbachev was in power in the Soviet Union.

On Aug. 1, 1990, the first law "On the Press" came into effect in the USSR, which put an end to the practice of control over the media, which the creators of the new Soviet Union pledged immediately after the victory of the Bolsheviks. On the website, Natalia Rostova placed materials about events in the country, that influence the media, about the key publications and campaigns in the press.

Around the time of its appearance, freedom of speech in Russia is presented in the form of a selection of news headlines, magazine and newspaper covers and descriptions of the television programs, new for the time. In chronological order, it describes the key events that shaped the face of the era.

It gives a detailed review of the decision of the USSR leadership in the ideological sphere and the sphere of control over the media, the creation of new publications (Kommersant, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, The Courant, etc.), radio stations (Radio Russia, Ekho Moskvy and others) and television (Projector Perestroika, The View, 600 Seconds, The Fifth Wheel and others).

Hundreds of names of journalists, new broadcasts, resonant issues of TV programs, publications in the press, which literally shook society, opened the unknown, especially taboo topics.

This project is addressed to all who care about our country's recent history. Today in Russia, freedom of expression is not in the best condition — the important thing is to remember, as well as to give thanks to whom it originated in Russian society.

Polina Gershberg

Friendship Park in North Tushino is one of more than 200 Moscow parks where local residents are fighting illegal construction. On the initiative of city authorities – not at the request of its citizens, as usual – construction was begun in that park on a soccer field in the summer of 2015, in the heat of the runup to the World Cup. In response, local residents began to hold meetings on protecting the field. One of the most active fighters for the public space was Polina Gershberg, a handicapped person and cancer patient in remission.

On the night of September 8, defenders of the park from nearby houses tried to stop bulldozers from moving dirt into a pit on the field. As a result, Polina was beaten by security guards from the Cobra private security company, which had been hired by the builder, the Magnum company. Polina received a concussion in the melee. A criminal case was initiated. Representatives of the developer claimed that they knew nothing about the security company, nor about fights or any criminal occurrences, and that their construction was legal. However, the bulldozer left. Gershberg and other activists continue to protest, fearing commercial building in the neighborhood’s favorite open space.

Natalia Vodianova

Natalia Vodianova is a Russian supermodel, actress, and philanthropist. She worked on the catwalk for Gucci, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Chloe, Valentino, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Miu Miu, Hermes, Kenzo, Viktor & Rolf, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and many other fashion houses. She took fifth place in the Forbes ranking of the highest paid models in the world in 2015, her fortune is estimated at $7 million.

In 2004, she founded his own foundation "Naked Hearts" for the construction of playgrounds in Russia and abroad. Since 2011, the foundation has been engaged in the program "every child deserves a family," aimed at the breaking of the current Russian tradition of the abandonment of children with disabilities.

On August 11, Natalia Vodianova's sister, who has autism and cerebral palsy, was driven out of a cafe in Nizhny Novgorod. The management of the establishment maintained that a girl of her appearance was scaring away the customers. Natalia's mother, who intervened on behalf of her daughter, was taken to the police station, where they took a statement.

After the incident, criminal charges were initiated against the cafe's chef Ahmed Bayramov on the charge of humiliating treatment. The park director stated that the lease with the owners of the cafe would be terminated, and it will be closed. The accused admitted guilt in full and asked for special consideration in the case.

The aggrieved party forgave her offender, Natalia Vodianova has asked attacks against the perpetrators to stop. In an interview, she said: "I do not think, for example, the that a fine changes anything in the heads of the coffee shop administrator or administrative guards. What I would suggest is to replace the fine with volunteer work in one of our camps." The case of insulting her sister was stopped with the reconciliation of both parties.

Svetlana Gannushkina

Svetlana Gannushkina is the founder and chairman of the “Civil Assistance" committee, boardmember and a director of the network of "Migration and Rights" of the "Memorial" human rights organization.

The "Civil Assistance" Committee is a regional civil charity that provides help to refugees and displaced populations, founded in 1990 by a group of Muscovites in order to help the first refugees from the "perestroika" era and the collapse of the Soviet Union — the Armenian victims of pogroms in Azerbaijan.

In 2015, Svetlana Gannushkina's "Civil Assistance" is operating in the following areas: a rights school for migrants: educational courses for refugees and migrants, where they learn how to defend their rights in our country, which will help them to participate in society and facilitate their integration into Russian society;

Legal and social assistance for migrant workers: to draw public attention to the situation (often slavery), which migrant workers find themselves in, improving treatment of migrants, informing the migrants themselves about the rules on how to register and find employment in the Russian Federation, available means to protect their rights, provision of assistance to migrant workers in defending their rights, requiring law enforcement and administrative authorities to carry out their duties to protect the rights of migrants, the formation of a more favorable legal environment in Russia for migrant workers;

Human rights in the North Caucasus: raising awareness of human rights and the principles of building civil society among the youth and teachers of the North Caucasus, as well as attracting active participants in further social and civic roles;

Protecting the rights of the inhabitants of the North Caucasus in penitentiary institutes (funded by the Swedish Embassy and the charitable organization "Secours Catholic — Caritas France"): a telephone hotline, a personal welcome and consultation, jail-visits to prisoners by lawyers and attorneys, legal aid for disabled convicts with special needs and appeals to local authorities and to the European Court regarding violations.

Elena Ol'shanskaya

Elena Ol'shanskaya is president of "volunteers to help the orphans," a charity foundation for children without parental care.

The goal of the foundation is to contribute to the eradication of child abandonment and to ensure every child in our country of its basic rights — to life and upbringing within a family. Elena Ol'shanskaya is sure that it is impossible to stop the stream of child abandonment without this kind of corrective word with families. Therefore, the fund works with families under the threat of withdrawal or abandonment with the program "Prevention of child abandonment."

Volunteers of the foundation also provide assistance to children without parental care, in hospitals, providing them with the necessities (the program "refuseniks in hospitals"), communicate with children in orphanages and shelters (the program "be there"), assist in the treatment of children, left without parents when they need it (the program "children in need"), help children to find a new family (the program "promotion of the family unit").

The fund makes websites for guardianship bodies and regional databases, organizes seminars, provides consultations and families who take children into foster care.

Nyuta Federmesser

Anna (Nyuta) Federmesser is a Russian public figure, the founder and president of the "Vera" charitable foundation, for the support of hospices, a boardmember of non-governmental organizations to protect the rights of patients under the Department of Health in Moscow. On April 16, 2015, during the direct line with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nyuta Federmesser asked him a question about the need to create a system of palliative care and pain relief for people in their place of residence, rather than registration. The list of directives signed by the head of state as a result of a direct line, there is an item on the organization of palliative care for patients in their place of actual residence.

"If a person can not be cured, it does not mean that he can not be helped" is the motto of "Vera." "Vera," Russia's only foundation dedicated to hospices and their patients, was founded by Nyuta Ferdmesser in 2006. Now it supports more than 30 hospices in Moscow and other Russian regions, it helps families with terminally ill children in Moscow, the Moscow region and the regions (in total more than 350 families), it teaches staff, hospices, it informs the public about the aims and objectives of hospice care, it promotes changes in legislation, aimed at protecting the rights of terminally ill patients, it is also building "House of the lighthouse," the Moscow's first hospice for children.

Since the autumn of 2013, the outpatient service of the children's hospice "House of the lighthouse," has been working in Moscow and the Moscow region. Now there are approximately 300 families on the services register. The figure is approximate as every month 8-10 children die and 15-20 children are added, someone moves, etc.

In 2015, the foundation received permission to begin construction of the "House of the lighthouse." It will be the first fully-fledged children's hospice in Moscow.

It will be erected on the site of a former boarding school at the address Dolgorukovskaya Ulitsa, Dom 30. "House of the lighthouse" will have a swimming pool, computer labs, a games room, a living area with animals, a sensory room with lots of glowing sound objects, mats, starry sky projectors and arms and legs can move interactive images. The child's parents and grandparents can live with the child in the hospice, and relatives and friends can always go there to visit. Patients will be provided with free care, regardless of their place of residence and citizenship.