‘Attitudes to Disability in Russia Today’

Talk by Irina Yasina

Irina Yasina belonged to the Russian élite for most of her young life. Daughter of a government minister, she was a respected economist and successful politician. She transcended the thick Russian glass ceiling to become head of the department of public communications in the Russian Central Bank and played an active role in formulating Russia’s macroeconomic policy. Just a few short years later, however, she lost everything.

After the 1998 financial crisis, Yasina was dismissed from the Central Bank. Vladimir Putin’s arrival to power and the shifting élite structure led to the arrest of Michael Khodorkovsky, founder of a philanthropic organization and Yasina’s boss. Her association with Khodorkovsky turned from asset to liability overnight. In the midst of these misfortunes, she was diagnosed with an incurable, fast-evolving neurological disease that robbed her of the use of her legs. This young, attractive woman – who had soared to great heights in chauvinistic Russia – was now an outsider grounded in a wheelchair. Yet despite this tragedy, Yasina has spent the latter part of the past decade staging a comeback. And she’s doing it by fighting for the disabled. In modern Russia, virtually no facilities exist for wheelchair users. Indeed, Russian society scarcely understands the lack of such amenities to be a problem. The disabled consequently face a tough existence, without the support that they might have taken for granted if they were born in America or Europe. Yasina has spearheaded a national movement to change this sad state of affairs.

TO BOOK FOR THIS TALK PLEASE EMAIL: membership@gbrussia.org

Tickets: £7, conc. £5 (for GB Russiamembers)


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