Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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Moscow, 6 May: The Council for Promoting the Development of the Institutions of a Civil Society and Human Rights under the Russian president has ceased to exist, leaders of human rights organizations, who are the council's members, have announced.

"The council doesn't exist any longer. It has ceased to exist naturally because the incumbent president's term of office has ended, and the council was created by the president," Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Civil Assistance committee, told Interfax on Tuesday [6 May]. She added that the council is an independent body, whose members work as volunteers.

"The new head of state will decide whether Russia will have a human rights council under the president. I don't think this will be one of the president's first decisions," Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, has said. Svetlana Gannushkina and Lyudmila Alekseyeva said they had not received any offer of work in a human rights council under the new president.

"I said at the last meeting of our council that such a body under the president is necessary because it's the president who guarantees our rights and freedoms," Lyudmila Alekseyeva said.

"I'm grateful to the council and its leader, Ella Pamfilova. In my view, the council has helped many people," Lev Ponomarev, head of the For Human Rights movement told Interfax on Tuesday. Unlike Gannushkina and Alekseyeva, he was not member of the council. [Passage omitted]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has commended members of the council the other day. The head of state's press service reported on Sunday [4 May] that Vladimir Putin had commended 30 members of the council "for their great contribution to the development of institutes of a civil society and the defence of the rights and freedoms of the individual and citizen". [Passage omitted]