Our work in Russia

Updated: 29 May 2017

Cooperation with Russia is today limited to contributions that support democratic development, help to increase respect for human rights and improve the environment in the Baltic region and north-western Russia. Russia’s development into a modern and democratic state is both in the interests of Russian citizens and in those of Sweden and the rest of Europe.

Sweden currently pursues international collaboration* with Russia in two sectors:

  1. Greater respect for human rights; and strengthened democratic development and citizen influence
  2. A better environment and limited climate impact in the Baltic region

In light of political developments in Russia, priority is to be given to area 1.

Democracy and human rights

Sida supports contributions to increase the participation of citizens in political processes, strengthen the capacity of change agents, promote the equal rights of women and men and to strengthen the capacity of mass media to promote a public dialogue.

Through the Olof Palme International Center (OPC), Sida supports work to help other trade unions in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region to become more democratic and gender equal.

The strengthened capacity of change agents and civil society to pursue democracy, human rights and non-discrimination is an important prerequisite for driving the democratic process forwards. Sida supports organisations working to protect rights and provide legal support to Roma, ethnic minorities, migrant workers and LGBT people.

Sida supports work with gender equality in Russia, including Men for Gender Equality, which works against violence in the home together with a number of Russian organisations. This support has also helped to bring about a unique cooperation between the Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches in Russia on gender-based violence and violence in the home.

Through support to the Institute for Further Education of Journalists, Fojo, Sida has helped to increase the knowledge that independent media organisations in Russia have regarding leadership methods and social media. This has led to a number of media outlets managing to increase their number of readers, despite a tougher climate in Russia as regards freedom of expression and access to independent information.


Sida supports the work for emissions reduction in the Baltic Sea, energy-efficient heating, environmentally sustainable waste management and for greater environmental accountability in state, local and civil bodies.

Sida has previously provided support to major environmental investments in Russia, but due to economic sanctions against Russia in connection with the Ukraine conflict, no new environmental investment agreements are being entered.

In 2014, Sida performed an environmental and climate analysis for Russia in order to identify potential intervention opportunities. The analysis indicates that many Russian environmental organisations are not achieving their full potential due to regulations and a lack of resources. They need to be strengthened in order to become better at exerting pressure, increasing environmental awareness among the general public and networking.

*International collaboration (expenditure area 5 in the Swedish Budget Bill) covers issues regarding Sweden's relations and agreements with other states and international organisations. The previous support to Russia was based on expenditure area 7, international development assistance.

Page owner: Department for Europe and Latin America

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