MOSCOW, November 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the new composition of the presidential council for the promotion of civil society and human rights (HRC) is scheduled for November 12, HRC chairman Mikhail Fedotov told Itar-Tass.
“I have no confirmation the decree has been signed, but I do hope this will happen in the near future,” Fedotov said. “All current and new members of the council have been invited to the meeting with the head of state in the Kremlin.”
The HRC chief did not rule out that the decree may be signed “at the moment the meeting opens, just as it was the case on February 1, 2011, at the head of state’s meeting with the Council in Yekaterinburg.”
“We would like the eight candidates whom we have recommended to become the Council’s reserve,” Fedotov told Itar-Tass, when asked if the eight candidates he had recommended at his recent meeting with Vladimir Putin, were included in the HRC.
Public Chamber members Iosif Diskin and Nikolai Svanidze have confirmed they were invited to the meeting with the president.
“I got an invitation to the meeting due on Monday, at 16:30,” Svanidze said.
Diskin and Svanidze were in the top troikas of candidates for seats on the advisory body. Diskin was number one in the nomination Judicial Reform and Public Control in the Judicial Sphere, and Svanidze, in the nomination Protection of Glasnost, Rights of Journalists and the Freedom of Information. Earlier HRC members objected to including in the council any members of the Public Chamber or State Duma deputies. HRC members argue that their work is not a protocol function but real public control of the observance of human rights in Russia. “The same kind of work can be done by a Public Chamber member or a State Duma Deputy,” they said in a message to the head of state.
At present the HRC includes 38 members. Its composition is authorized by the president. However, last spring and summer a number of the Council’s members declared their walkout for various reasons, leaving 13 vacant seats.
A new procedure was tested for forming a new HRC composition. The HRC declared a campaign among non-governmental organizations to nominate their candidates for seats on the council in several nominations that would correspond to specific fields of human rights activity. Then they were published in the Internet for a wide public discussion.
The Internet consultations were held on September 1 through 15. The results were then processed by HRC members. In the end there appeared a short list containing no less than three candidates in each of the 13 nominations. Fedotov presented the list to the president. He briefed the head of state on the nominations and the candidates and also told whom of the contenders the current HRC members would like to see as their future colleagues.
Putin suggested expanding the membership of the Council by including in it not one person from each troika, but the top three in each nomination who had got support in the Internet voting. He also came out with a proposal for introducing a rotating HRC presidium for regular working meetings.