Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation

Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation
Russia

Russia

Date of entry: September 15, 2006

Member of AICESIS
Member of ILO

Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation

Mission and attributions

 The Civic Chamber’s mission is to form and develop an active civil society and protect the interests and needs of the citizens.

Priority areas of the Chamber’s work:

• facilitating interaction of public associations and citizens with state power and local self-government bodies in shaping and implementing state policies;

• protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens;

• public review of draft laws and regulations;

• public control over the activities of state power bodies;

• interaction with non-governmental organizations.

 

Functioning of the ESC

The Chamber uses various forms of work: public hearings, roundtable meetings, and visiting sessions. The Chamber holds over 100 public events a year. The Chamber holds four to five plenary meetings a year, which are attended by all the Chamber members. They discuss the most important issues pertaining to the development of the country and civil society.

The Council of the Civic Chamber, consisting of the chairmen of the commissions, at its regular meetings makes decisions on major issues of the Chamber’s work.

Members of the Civic Chamber conduct hotlines and online conferences for citizens on a variety of subjects: the rights of conscripts, elections to bodies of power, Common National Examination, child abuse, health care, etc. The citizens of Russia contact members of the Civic Chamber with questions and requests by phone or e-mail.

Visiting sessions of the Civic Chamber commissions can be planned or emergency, when it is necessary to assess the situation on site. This happened, for example, after the conflict in South Ossetia.

List of Commissions:

Commission on health care and public health development

Commission on physical training and promotion of healthy lifestyle

Commission on ecology and environmental protection

Commission on public control and cooperation with public councils

Commission on territorial development and local government

Commission on charity, civic education and social responsibility

Commission on youth, volunteerism and patriotic education

Commission on public diplomacy, humanitarian cooperation and maintenance of traditional values

Commission on security and cooperation with public supervisory commissions

Commission on support of family, motherhood and childhood

Commission on harmonization of interethnic and interreligious relations

Commission on development of information society, mass media and mass communications

Commission on culture and preservation of spiritual heritage 

Commission on education and science

Commission on development of economy, entrepreneurship, service sector and consumer market

Commission on housing and public utilities, construction and roads

Commission on social policy, labour relations, cooperation with trade unions and support of veterans

Commission on development of nonprofit sector and support of socially oriented nonprofit organizations

Commission on agricultural sector and development of rural areas

Achievements of the ESC

  • Main publications/studies

The Civic Chamber conducts serious analytical and educative work. Every year, the members of the Civic Chamber prepare the Report on the state of civil society in Russia, which reflects the main trends in social life in the country, the level of development of social institutions, and public reactions to important events of the past year. The publication of the Report becomes an event of national importance.

Reports on the state of civil society in the Russian Federation in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Report on results of anticorruption measures and the role of civil society in implementation of anticorruption policy in the Russian Federation in 2011, 2012

Publications on major topics discussed during the plenary meetings and events organized by Commissions.

  • Best practices

Civil Society Institutions

The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation assists the establishment and development of regional civic chambers, public councils and similar structures.

By mid-2012 regional civic chambers act in 68 subjects of the Russian Federation, 5 chambers are being formed.

In 2011 there was set the Presidium of Council of Civic Chambers of Russia (public councils). The Presidium is directed by Evgeny Velikhov, the President of the Civic Chamber. Mikhail Ostrovskiy and Iosif Diskin are charged with functions of his deputies.  

Many members of the Civic Chamber are involved in the activities of public councils under the jurisdiction of federal bodies; some councils are chaired by Civic Chamber members. 

In 2012 the Civic Chamber gained the right to form the list of candidates to the Council of Public Television of Russia. Citizens’ and legal bodies’ applications with candidates being indicated are accepted in the Civic Chamber. The list of 25 candidates will be submitted to the President of Russia for approval.

Citizens’ Appeals

The Civic Chamber receives more than 20,000 hand-written and E-mail letters a year. People address the Chamber in search of justice and protection of their rights. The issues they raise before Civic Chamber members include mostly unfair court rulings, unlawful acts of law enforcement bodies and local officials, and poor housing and financial conditions. The Chamber has recently been receiving more and more letters with proposals for changing the current legislation.

Each letter receives individual attention, and the sender is informed about measures taken as a result of his/her complaint.

Since 2011 in the Civic Chamber has been operating the Internet reception, launched by the Civic Chamber member Diana Gurtskaya.

Public diplomacy

- Since 2008 members of the Civic Chamber have been engaged in the promotion of constructive dialogue and regular cooperation among the NGOs of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia.

- The Civic Chamber conducts permanent monitoring of the situation on the protection of rights of Russian-speakers in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, Estonia.

- Members of the Civic Chamber regularly exercise public control over election campaigns in different countries.

- In accordance with the AICESIS Board decision (December, 2011, Amman, Jordan), the Civic Chamber coordinates the preparation of the AICESIS Report “Global Crisis Impact: View of Civil Society” on the global civil society proposals aimed at overcoming the global economic and finance crisis consequences. The Report was presented to the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Vladimir Putin to be incorporated in the agenda of the G20 Summit in 2013 in Saint-Petersburg (Russia).

Public Expertise

Public reviews of federal and regional bills is one of the main functions of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (the Law on the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, Article 1, Clause 4).

By mid-2012, more than 200 reviews of socially significant bills were held. Under current law, the Civic Chamber automatically receives a bill for review as soon as the document is submitted to the State Duma.

Once the bill is submitted to the Civic Chamber for review, it is sent to lawyers and experts in the appropriate field. Members of the Civic Chamber initiate a public discussion of the bill and give their recommendations for its amendment before(!) the bill is approved by the State Duma. On several occasions, the Civic Chamber has already harshly criticized bills proposed by legislators, and the latter either rejected those bills or amended them following recommendations from the public.

Since 2011 members of the Civic Chamber have gained the right to present the results of public expertise during plenary meetings of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

Public control over prisons

On June 10, 2008, the President of Russia signed the bill “On Public Control over Human Rights in places of detention and on assistance to individuals in places of detention” into law.

The law establishes a legal framework for the participation of NGOs in public control and defines mechanisms for creating conditions for the social adaptation of ex-convicts.

Under the law, the Civic Chamber may approve or reject a candidate for a public monitoring commission.

Public monitoring commissions, thanks to the efforts of the Civic Chamber, have been established in 79 regions of the country. Commissions members regularly provide help to people in difficult situations. In 2011 the lawyers an experts undertook over 3000 visits to places of the detention and considered over 10000 appeals of convicts and their relatives.

Media

The Civic Chamber website publishes daily news, comments by Chamber members about landmark events in public life, Chamber members’ blogs, news from regional Civic Chambers, and full information about the structure and composition of the Civic Chamber.

The OPRF-TV Internet project offers the possibility of interactive communication: online broadcasting of the Civic Chamber events, hotlines with citizens, video blogs of Civic Chamber members, and videos provided by NGOs of Russia.

The Civic Chamber interacts with non-profit organizations on bills expertise. The Civic Chamber’s website contains a media resource for non-profit organizations, with the news referred to the non-profit sector being published.

 

Contacts

7 926 581 23 19/ (7-495) 221-83-90

(7-495) 221-83-64 (ext. 229)

ykolodin@oprf.ru / y.borzenkova@oprf.ru

www.oprf.ru

7/1, Miusskaya sq., Moscow, Russia, GSP-3, 125993