By A.B. Yezhov
Full Report of the delegate to the Circle of Settlements and the 7th Congress of Родная партия from structural group No. 1
From March 29 to April 1, another Circle of Family Homestead Settlements and the Extraordinary 7th Congress of Родная партия took place in the Yaroslavl Park Hotel, 20 km from the city of Yaroslavl.
29 March 2018
This day was a training day. A representative of the Yaroslavl Oblast Electoral Commission spoke about legislative aspects of elections (Родная партия plans to take part in elections for the Yaroslavl Regional Duma in September). Then the political strategist, O.I. Gaba, spoke about the organisational aspects of the campaign. Dmitry Taran briefly outlined the topics of lectures and classes that he attended on subsequent days: interaction with the media, creating campaign videos, and YouTube channels. G. S. Cheurin concluded the event, speaking about about solutions and agreeing on consensus, about three-sided conversations. After the closing, Gennady Semyonovich held a practical lesson, which I could not attend (it only finished at about 1 am, but I had to get to a remote hotel at Podolino ski base). I talked in person with Gennady Semyonovich for a short time on the sidelines.
30 March 2018
The Circle of Settlements began its work. The format was to have round tables on each of the agenda items, among which there were performances by amateur groups, individual authors, performers, and dances.
The day began with Dmitri Taran’s lecture on media, building up the structure of the conversation, and reporting to the media, primarily on the Internet. Dmitry Taran believes that it is now most promising to shoot information and promotional videos for YouTube channels, in terms of the number of viewers. Then it was getting to know one another. Circle members were divided into 3 groups. For one minute, each person presented themselves and their settlement. A total of about 220 people attended the Circle of Settlements, according to organizers’ calculations, so this limited time was justified. But as a way of getting to know each other, it still works.
The next event was a roundtable on cooperation in family homestead settlements. I also note that according to the agenda, there were two round tables held in parallel in two different rooms. There was also a time limit of one minute for each presentation. The facilitator offered to answer the question: “How to achieve mutual understanding in settlements?” The participants of the round table offered their solutions to the problem, based both on the practical experience obtained in the settlements and on theoretical assumptions. There were opinions that the attainment of mutual understanding in the settlement was facilitated by: the application of Veche principles, quickly understandable to settlers, such as Saturday working bees; holding joint celebrations, feasts, harmony in the settler families, etc. During the speech, the presenter wrote down the speaker’s proposal on a large sheet of paper, resulting in a set of proposals. (My suggestion: with such a large number of participants (70-80 people), they could be divided into 3 groups to discuss the issue, then each person would have three times as much time to speak, and the responses received from all groups could be written down, combining the duplicates).
At the end of the day, the results of the Circle events of the day were recorded, tallying all the answers to the presenters’ questions, affixed on the information board.
31 March 2018
At the beginning of the day, the topics of the leading roundtables were briefly announced. On the information board was drawn a pie chart showing the current strengths and weaknesses of the movement of family homestead creators. Entrepreneurship and electoral achievements were shown as weaknesses. The day opened with two parallel roundtables in different rooms: “Education in the settlement” (host A. Kanishchev), and “Economics in the settlement” (host E. Bondarenko). We chose “Economy within the settlement”. I also want to note that this is a difficult topic for us, requiring not only agreement and interaction within the settlement, but also successful interaction with other citizens, entrepreneurs, and authority structures.
The time schedule was again set by the organizers as one minute per speech. (In my view, this is not enough for a story about a real example of entrepreneurship in a settlement. In this Roundtable the facilitators also interrupted the speaker, and with it a valuable thought). Yevgeny Bondarenko was given time for a longer report, talking about an entrepreneurial project uniting three families. I note that Yevgeny has not yet reached a certain level of oratory (such as, by the way, Samokhin, Gladchenko, Shcherbakov), which hindered the perception of the report. V. Bugorsky asked the facilitator to give him 10 minutes to speak about entrepreneurship. This was not allowed, and he left the round table. The round table got a bit random. I decided to leave this event and go to the other one, “Education in the settlement”.
This topic is present at almost every Circle of Settlements. A lot of experience has been accumulated on education itself, and in carrying out similar round tables on this topic. I will note the skilful work of the presenter, A. Kanishchev. Although the time schedule was also set for one minute, most of the speakers managed to express their thoughts. Since I missed the beginning of this round table, I happened to take part in the discussion of the question: “What goals do we set for education in the settlement?” There were answers such as, to teach oneself to think, to develop the speed of thought, to learn how to be a Creator, to teach consensus in making team decisions, to teach applied skills and aptitudes, to obtain qualifications…
After lunch break, the Circle of Settlements continued its work. There were a few changes to the agenda. During a short pause, presenter Irina Vishnyakova gave me the right to make an announcement that Родная партия Structural Group No. 1 had prepared about 60 collections of materials about the Veche structure and Veche principles. To begin, two consecutive reports were presented from P. Shcherbakov and A. Gladchenko on the topic “The experience of creating FH and FHS”.
For the first part, Pavel Shcherbakov talked about the experience of creating and developing his FHS in Crimea. Pavel is a skilful speaker, and spoke in detail about the stages of developing the project. For me personally, the verbal depictions created a sunny and radiant picture of life in a settlement. It also seemed that Pavel didn’t finish talking about everything. In part, this came up when the question was asked about the composition of settlers when the settlement was established. Among other things, Pavel mentioned that 19 sites were taken by single women, who voluntarily left the settlement after the collective creation of a STRONG SETTLEMENT IMAGE. Anton Gladchenko also informed us about the legal peculiarities of forming a settlement.
Then two more events were announced in parallel time: a report on the topic of “Entrepreneurship” by Nikolai Smirnov, and a practical training about filming information and campaign videos under the leadership of Dmitry Taran. Since all the events were videotaped, I went to Taran’s training according to my priorities at the time. Taran clearly, lucidly, interestingly spoke about shooting a video, how to attract and retain the attention of viewers. As homework assignment for this lesson, Taran asked us to write the text for a video on a topic of our choosing. Among us, a few short videos were shot on the benefits of living in a family homestead. I also prepared a video on the topic, announcement of the group on Veche principles, to achieve agreement in the community. It was quite interesting and fun. Taran skillfully removed some psychological blocks and tenseness that had been keeping performers (and authors) from taking the central role in the video clip.
Then there were reports on the theme “Strategy of the FH movement”, mostly from the chairman of the Federal Coordinating Council, A. V. Samokhin. An analysis was made of a large and difficult road, already traversed by Родная партия. Benefits were expressed of having some Veche principles already in force in Родная партия., in particular, a broad party discussion on the main issues and collective decision-making. This made it possible to reflect on the attempts of other political parties and figures to imperceptibly exert a significant influence on our party, to control its thoughts and actions, and then to proceed to the party’s administration.
In connection with the acute situation around the demolition of the house of the family of Vladimir and Ekaterina Saburov in the settlement “Dobrynya” of the Sverdlovsk region, the floor was given to Vladimir Saburov himself. Vladimir carefully outlined the situation, assessed Samokhin’s actions in negotiations with the authorities on the topic, and thanked all like-minded people for the information, organizational, moral and material support provided to him and his family.
Alexander Samokhin devoted time to the story about the preparation for the forthcoming elections of various levels, including local elections, where only a few dozen signatures are needed to participate. Alexander noted that with the organization of the Circle and the Congress, there were changes for the better in comparison with the previous Congress of Родная партия held in Vladimir. The team of event organizers is more coherent in Yaroslavl, although many questions still remain. (My note: there is no limit to perfection!)
Alexander Samokhin read out the Orders of the Circle of Settlements of Родная партия. Alexander ended his speech with an optimistic phrase “Everything will be fine …”. (It will be good if we are good at thinking, acting, interacting). After the speech of A. Samokhin, the circle of settlements smoothly began to close. There were warm thanks to the organising team, and the Circle participants hugged and exchanged good wishes. At the end of the official program of the Circle, an event about consensus was held under the leadership of Sergey Sarafanov (Yaroslavl Region). In general, community cooperation, reaching agreement and unanimity was present throughout the entire Circle of Settlements and the Congress, in one form or another.
Sergey Sarafanov briefly talked about the experience of holding a full-fledged Veche in his settlement. Then he offered a practical task in reaching agreement and unanimity by discussing an assigned topic. Those present (about 50 people) were divided into three groups and performed the following tasks:
- formulate a definition of “consensus”
- indicate factors contributing to the achievement of harmony
- indicate factors that impede agreement
- identify the reason that someone had violated consent in his settlement, where after the unanimous decision to pay and the amount of common contributions, one person stopped paying these fees and ignored the demands to come explain himself to the settlement’s Veche
- find a solution to the situation above
The decisions of all three groups were read aloud and recorded on the information board.
Tatyana and I received practical experience of working in the community both according to the Veche’s principles developed in the group, and away from the Veche principles. I came to the conclusion that when withdrawing from Veche principles, the quality of collective thought during the discussion drops off.
1 April 2018
The 7th Extraordinary Congress of Родная партия was held. The official guests at the opening of the Congress were: an employee from the Yaroslavl Regional Election Commission, the Director of the Anastasia Foundation for Culture and Creative Support of the City of Vladimir, M.V. Ladilova, and V.N. Megre on the phone.
In the official part of the Congress, amendments to the Charter of Родная партия prepared by the FCC were discussed and adopted. The amendments concerned the creation of local branches of the party, the issues of exclusion and subsequent restoration into the ranks of Родная партия, and a probationary period for the newly elected members of Родная партия. One question was sent for revision, the rest were adopted by a majority vote. According to the spoken information of the organizers, delegates from 44 Regional Offices were present. With that, the Congress had finished its work.
First published in Russian, 7 April 2018