On 14–15 January 2015, Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Ella Pamfilova participated in the work of the National Forum ‘State and Civil Society: Cooperation in the Name of Development’. Recent amendments to the law on non-governmental organisations became the key issue of the forum.
On 15 January 2015, the Commissioner addressed the plenary session of the forum chaired by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
E.Pamfilova: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Dear participants in the Forum!
I will start from the good, then will continue with the bad, and will conclude with concrete proposals.
First of all, Vladimir Vladimirovich, the fact that we meet with you almost every month at various events with participation of the human rights society speaks volumes, and shows, above all, that you give much attention to the human rights problems as the acutest problems of the society, as well as to the development of state and public human rights protection. On the human rights defenders’ request you have founded a special grant program to support human rights projects of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). For the two years since the program has been created, it has become the factor of surviving for many NGOs: they were on the verge, while after receiving the grants they have managed to keep and develop their work. That is worth a lot, and I hope that the human rights protection program will develop further.
Here is one thing I would like to stop at: in view of the swiftly changing situations, both external and internal, our Russian society also gets more sophisticated — it is becoming more multi-layer and multi-dimensional. One can observe an increase of public groups of citizens who use various methods and forms of association, sometimes rather intricate ones, to protect their rights, practice charity and solve other vital problems. New public interests are being formed which require attention, comprehension and sometimes satisfaction from the state authorities. In these circumstances, the authorities of both regional and federal levels should not only discern the new emerging processes, but also learn how to respond to them in a fast and adequate manner. However, for the present, unfortunately, the reaction to everything new and incomprehensible is at best inactive and ignoring the going on; and at worst, it is just aimed at stifling the initiatives dubious and incomprehensible from the authorities’ point of view. It seems as if they act out of the principle «I hope nothing bad would come out of it».
That is why I would like to draw your attention to the fact (further I am going to refer to the results of survey that had been initiated by me and carried out together with the Public Opinion Fund and Levada-Centre) that the conflict between population and bureaucracy is the strongest social tension point underscored by 34 percent of respondents, which considerably exceeds even the rate of tension between the rich and the poor noted by 25 percent of those polled.