Powers of Head of Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov to be Cut

Source: HRO.org (info), 22/06/12

· Human rights defenders

The Izvestiya newspaper writes: “The Kremlin intends to cut the powers of the head of the Presidential Council on Human Rights by changing the basis on which the Council is formed. Izvestiya has been told this by sources within the Presidential Administration. The Kremlin believes it is not right that the head of the Council, Mikhail Fedotov, has exclusive powers to propose candidates for membership in the Council to the President.

A source in the Kremlin complained: “It is really quite beyond belief how Fedotov pushed through the current regulations governing the Council. Why did he usurp the right to propose candidates to the President?”

Mikhail Fedotov himself said that it was thanks to his own efforts that the regulations became as they are today. They were approved by the President of the Russian Federation, Infox.ru reports.

The head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, member of the Presidential Council on Human Rights Ludmila Alekseeva, is on the side of Mikhail Fedotov. She says that each member of the Council had the opportunity to add their candidates to the list of potential members. “The list that we hand over is consultative,” Ludmila Alekseeva asserted.

Anatoly Kucherena, a member of the Public Chamber, has criticized the current make up of the Council: “A Council has been created that is in confrontation with the President...Of course there should be a range of different people in the Council, including some who disagree with the head of state, but these disagreements should be of a constructive nature. And when a disagreement between the President and the chair of the Council is conducted via the media, what kind of an advisor is he? That’s why I believe common sense says that if you don’t agree with the President, you should leave,” Vzglyad writes.

According to Echo of Moscow, it is expected that the final list of the Council members will be given to Vladimir Putin for confirmation over the next week and a half. According to Vedomosti among the new nominees for membership of the Council are the writer Boris Akunin, the Blue Bucket activist Petr Shkumatov, the doctor Elizaveta Glinka, and the TV journalist Leonid Parfenov.