The term gendernaya demokratiya (gender democracy) evokes little in the way of warm feelings in Russia, even among its few supporters. The words sound too technical, foreign and inaccessible. Until recently, books and articles on this subject have been written by only a small number of experts for a small number of readers. Accordingly, the influence of the roughly ten Russian gender science centres on public discourse is very slight, even in NGO circles.
In contrast, the word chainik (kettle or tea-pot) has appealing and warm associations. When applied to a person, the word means “beginner”. So, to attract as many people as possible, the Moscow office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation has published a little book titled “Gender dlia Chainikov”. A collection of essays and articles written by Russian experts for Russian readers, it contains just about everything that you ever wanted to know, or ought to know about gender.
Popularization, feminist debates, direct assistance, practical implementations – these are the methods that will allow the politics of women’s rights to be perceived more acutely in Russia as what they actually are: serious politics.