A full time resident in the village of Manzherok, Altai Republic, Sarah Lindemann-Komarova is a writer and researcher. As an activist and expert, she focuses on promoting democracy bottom-up through community development. She first traveled to the Soviet Union in 1988 as part of a citizen diplomacy group training for and running the Moscow Marathon. Another citizen diplomacy trip brought her to Siberia in 1990. She returned in February 1992 for a teaching job at Novosibirsk State University. That turned into a full time job using English language classes as a means of civic education at Universities throughout Siberia with support from Western donors.
In 1994, she created an NGO and established an active citizen’s information center that included the first public access Internet node in Siberia. A year later, she received funding to expand her work into the Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center and Siberian Network of civil society development centers. These organizations were responsible for introducing and promoting good governance practices in Russia such as government competitions to support to NGOs and independent evaluations of government and NGOs programs. In 1997, the “Cooperation” NGO was established to support her civics education work through the development of a Russian community school model. This model promotes schools as the center for community development through democratization of schools and classrooms, volunteerism, and community/school partnerships.
Lindemann-Komarova has conducted seminars throughout Russia and in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. She authored or co-authored numerous methodological books including “A Guide to Creating Community Schools: The Approach and Experiences in Five Countries”, “Step by Step: On the Path to Effective Local Self-Governance”, and the “Participatory Evaluation Toolkit”.
In 2010, Lindemann-Komarova shifted her focus to writing and research. She is co-author of two academic articles and her reporting has been published by The Nation and most recently in a PONARS policy memo: https://echosiberia.medium.com/.