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Russia’s new commissioner vows to use her experience to ‘make every child happy’

September 09, 15:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s newly appointed children’s rights ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova in her first interview with TASS said she would make every possible effort to achieve that
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Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova

© Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. Russia’s newly appointed children’s rights ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova has told TASS she plans to use all her experience of working in public organizations to solve the pressing tasks.

Kuznetsova, a public figure and a human rights activist, who was appointed earlier on Friday, said in her first interview on the post she was surprised by her promotion. "Of course, this came as a surprise. But wherever I am, whatever role I have, I will be still doing my job," she stressed.

The 34-year-old mother of six, who heads the Association of organizations for family protection and an executive committee of the All-Russia People’s Front in Penza, recalled that she began her activity in charity organizations dealing with abandoned children.

"Of course if anyone told me then that I would become an ombudsman, I would consider this as a joke, I didn’t believe this was possible," Kuznetsova said. "The volunteers in whom I believe very much do their job quietly on the ground, without cameras and television, without mass media, helping people - that’s the most important thing."

The new commissioner said she plans to "look around, watch the specific character of work and scrutinize all the issues, and gather a team." "We will try to do everything possible. I want every child to be happy, we will make every possible effort and use all experience," she stressed.

Kuznetsova reminded that as the head of public organizations she cooperated with commissioners, ministries and agencies, public councils and plans to continue this work, also coordinating the effort with institutions of Russia’s ombudsmen, including the human rights’ commissioner.

"All what concerns the protection of children’s rights is closely related to the social and political issues. I’m sure that we will be able to implement the tasks efficiently only by combining efforts," she said.

Kuznetsova said she has not talked to her predecessor Pavel Astakhov so far. "Of course, I will study the experience and what has been done and what has just started. Certainly, all details and nuances need to be considered," she stressed.

Astakhov, 50, who was dismissed earlier in the day, had faced public pressure to resign after asking a survivor of a deadly boat disaster at a summer camp in northwest Russia this June, "How was your swim?" Astakhov later said his words were taken out of context. He was appointed in late December 2009, becoming the first children’s rights ombudsman in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Friday appointing Kuznetsova as the country’s new children’s rights commissioner. Kuznetsova also heads the Pokrov regional foundation providing support for families, mothers and children in Penza. She is a member of the women’s council subordinated to the governor’s office and chairs a regional branch of the All-Russian public movement "Mothers of Russia" in Penza.

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