Yuri Shchekochikhin wears two hats, one as journalist, the other as president of a foundation dedicated to supporting the Russian intelligentsia.
It was as president of the International Foundation of Young Intellectuals that he was in St. Louis Monday to discuss plans with Webster University to publish in English a book declaring the human rights that Russian children should have, like the right to education and housing and even to parents.
"You can see children hanging out at the railroad stations - they have no place to go," Shchekochikhin said through a translator.
It is as a muckraker on Russian crime that Shchekochikhin is working on a separate project to track children spirited from Russia into this country, he said, as virtual slave labor. "It's one of the new aspects of the human-rights issue," he said.
He said, "There is a tremendous process of criminalization going on in Russia. It changes values and attitudes. That is why it is important for us to support young intellectuals who don't want to be subject to new rules imposed" by organized crime. …