| JRL Home | JRL Simple/Mobile | RSS | Newswire | Archives | JRL Newsletter | Support | About
Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Appointment of new head of Russian rights council receives broad welcome

Russian PoliceRussian President Dmitriy Medvedev has appointed Mikhail Fedotov as head of the Council for Promoting the Development of the Institutions of Civil Society and Human Rights. Fedotov will replace Ella Pamfilova who resigned from this position on 30 July this year.

The appointment of Mikhail Fedotov, former head of the Russian Union of Journalists, was widely welcomed by human rights campaigners and liberal politicians in Russia. The Communists recalled that in the early 1990s Fedotov had advocated the abolition of the Communist party but said the party was ready for a "sensible dialogue" with the new head of the human rights council.

"Good choice" says human rights ombudsman

"This is a very good appointment. I will be happy to cooperate with the council under his leadership," Vladimir Lukin, Russian human rights ombudsman, told Interfax.

"Mikhail Aleksandrovich (Fedotov) will be able to unite very independent and independently thinking people who are members of the council under the president and point them towards the main thing - i.e. introducing recommendations and proposals to the president on modernizing civil society and our political structure, and protecting human rights," Lukin said.

"Mikhail Aleksandrovich is a man who has a lot of experience in all the spheres needed for a chairman of this council. He is undoubtedly a man of democratic convictions, which is extremely important for work in the council. He is one of the authors of one of the most democratic Russian laws - the media law," Lukin recalled.

Duma "looks forward to fruitful cooperation"

Sergey Popov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organizations, also described the appointment as a "rather good choice".

"Mikhail Aleksandrovich (Fedotov) is a member of the council who has been in the thick of the problems (facing the council). He is well known in civil society and enjoys very high respect," Popov told Ekho Moskvy radio.

Popov said his committee would "definitely cooperate with the council". "We are looking forward to fruitful cooperation," he stressed.

Liberal parties welcome appointment

Leaders of Russian liberal political parties welcomed the appointment.

"In my view, this is a very good choice by the president," Sergey Mitrokhin, leader of the Yabloko party, told Interfax. He added that Fedotov "is an independent, honest and very highly respected person and a specialist who understands well the problems facing civil society, as well as media problems, and in this quality he is a worthy successor to Ella Pamfilova, who was in this post before him."

For his part, Leonid Gozman, a co-chairman of The Right Cause party, expressed his full support for Fedotov's appointment. "Had all appointments by the head of state been like this one, we would have been living in a different country for a long time already. It does not happen often that I fully approve of the president's choice," Gozman told Interfax.

He pointed out: "In his work over many years Mikhail Fedotov proved his allegiance to liberal principles and his understanding of the importance of the observance of human rights. Moreover, he has an enormous organizational talent and experience since in the past he was a press minister, represented Russia at UNESCO and headed the Russian Union of Journalists."

Veteran rights campaigner says Fedotov suitable for the job

Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the head of the oldest independent human rights organization in Russia, Moscow Helsinki Group, supported the president's decision.

"Fedotov suits me. He is a man of firm democratic convictions," Alekseyeva told Interfax.

"Fedotov is suitable for this most difficult job which involves constant balancing between two hardly compatible worlds - the world of civil servants and the world of democratic public," Alekseyeva said.

Communists "can't forgive" Fedotov

The Communists expressed readiness for a "sensible dialogue" with Fedotov but recalled that in the early 1990s Fedotov had advocated the abolition of the Communist party.

"In my view, this is a rather out-of-the-ordinary decision by the president bearing in mind that in the mid-2000s Fedotov joined Committee-2008, which spelt 'suicide' according to the norms of the current political system in Russia," Ivan Melnikov, first deputy chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and deputy chairman of the State Duma, told Interfax. The opposition Committee-2008: Free Choice demanded free and democratic presidential elections in Russia.

"Of course, at the beginning of his career Mr Fedotov did a lot in the field of anti-Soviet activities and advocated the abolition of the Communist party. This can't be forgotten and the Communists can't forgive him for this," Melnikov stressed.

At the same time, he admitted, Fedotov, "as a man who has persistently defended the real freedom of the media and human rights, inspires respect". He added that the CPRF "will be prepared to establish a sensible dialogue with him".

Ella Pamfilova

Ella Pamfilova, a prominent and highly respected rights campaigner, resigned amidst criticism of President Medvedev's lack of support for the council's activities. In an interview following her resignation to editorially independent Ekho Moskvy radio she said that "it has become increasingly difficult to push things through" and that after eight years in the post she felt she could not continue.

Keyword Tags:

Russia, Human Rights - Russia, Law, Crime, Corruption - Russia, Government - Johnson's Russia List - Russia News - Russia

Bookmark and Share - Back to the Top -        


Bookmark and Share

- Back to the Top -        

  Follow Johnson's Russia List on Twitter Tweet