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Sep 8, 2021
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“Conducted training for 250 thousand observers”

Since the beginning of the year, the Public Chamber has received 10 thousand complaints and appeals from Russians… Most of all, the citizens of the Russian Federation are worried about the problems in the spheres of housing and communal services, education, law enforcement and health care. The secretary of the OP Lidia Mikheeva told about this in an interview with Izvestia.… In addition, she noted that the chamber trained about 250 thousand candidates for observers in the upcoming elections to the State Duma, spoke about external interference, and also assessed the chances of 18 members of the OP RF running for the State Duma

“With the new convocation of the State Duma, it will be possible to establish working interaction”

– Lydia Yuryevna, the Duma campaign is at the center of Russia’s domestic political agenda today. How many public observers will there be in the elections? How big was the interest of public organizations in this process?

– To participate in it, you need to perform a number of actions. A person who wants to become a public observer applies to the OP of Russia or the region with such a request. After that, he receives the appropriate referral and certificate… Now it is difficult to name the exact number of observers who will conduct public control over the electoral process. The Coordinating Council for Public Control over Voting at the RF OP, working in Moscow and the regions, trained about 250 thousand people. We hope that all these people will be present at the sites

Besides, The OP interacts with a large number of NGOs – we have signed agreements with more than 30 public associations and non-profit organizations on how to organize the process of selection and training of observers. We and we are in close contact with political parties – 11 agreements on the organization of observation were signed… The EP teaches everyone the procedures of public observation. Everyone who is trained with us will be able to choose for themselves whether they will be observers from parties or receive a mandate from the public chamber of the region.

Secretary of the OP RF Lidiya Mikheeva

Photo: Press Service of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation

– During the elections, the OP’s situational center for observation will work. What is it for and what problems will it solve?

– We are not opening the Situation Center for the first time, and the practice of the past years has shown that this is a very successful decision. At the site of the Public Chamber there will be about 50 volunteers of the volunteer corps of the Chamber, their tasks include communication with observers at PECs in the regions, processing reports from them about violations. The hotline and the Public Observer mobile application will workwho will also become sources of information from observers. In addition, our volunteers will participate in video surveillance and monitoring of remote electronic voting. After the elections, together with the volunteers, we will be able to report on the results of the work of the situation center. On September 22, we plan to hold the All-Russian Forum of Public Observers, where the results of observation of the voting will be summed up.

– Can you mark the regions in which public observation is especially popular?

– It is very difficult to measure the popularity of public observation in the regions, because everywhere there are different numbers and density of the population. It is clear that, first of all, residents of large cities show initiative. In any case, public observation headquarters have been set up in all regions of Russia. This was done by the Public Chambers of the subjects with the support of the OP of Russia. It is rather difficult to single out any region.

– Many members of the chamber are running for the State Duma. How many such persons are there, and will the possible outflow of several active members of the OP affect the implementation of the plans?

Of our colleagues, 18 decided to run. However, first, they need to be elected. We wish everyone good luck, but we understand that each of them has a different chance of being elected.… In any case, regardless of how many of them may be in the ranks of the State Duma deputies, our work will not change, and its intensity will not weaken. In addition, the law provides for procedures for replacing outgoing members of the chamber. During the formation of the current convocation, there was serious competition among representatives of public organizations. There was only a few points difference between some of the applicants. I am sure that in the event of replacement of the retired colleagues, we will work with people who are no less energetic and active.

– After the elections, the new Duma will start working, where, in addition to experienced parliamentarians, there will be new faces. What are the main plans of the OP for interaction with the State Duma of the VIII convocation?

We plan to continue the work, the duty to carry out which is entrusted to us by law… The OP law assumes that interaction with the State Duma takes place primarily through public examination of draft laws. I would like to note that this year we have considered more than 270 draft laws and sent our proposals on them to the State Duma. In a number of cases, our proposals were taken into account, one of the latest examples is the legislation on the financing of PMCs. Some bills were changed for the second reading, taking into account the comments of our experts. I am sure that with the new convocation of the State Duma it will be possible to establish the same working interaction

Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze

– Both CEC members, politicians and public figures talk about active external interference in the upcoming elections. Are such attempts recorded by the Chamber and in what form do they take place?

– Our colleagues from the Coordination Council for Public Control of Voting can give more detailed information on this issue. They will tell you that there are such attempts. In particular, a member of the OP Ekaterina Mizulina with her colleagues from the Safe Internet League revealed a large number of inaccurate messages on the Internet and assures that this is one of the cases of such interference. Surprisingly, for example, are reports of the cancellation of the three-day observation at the elections. We try to promptly respond to such information and explain the procedure for public control.

“We are observing a partnership dialogue between the authorities and society”

– Many people talk about a poorly developed civil society in Russia. However, looking at the activity of public organizations, at least in large cities, a different opinion is formed. What is your position on this score and is there any way for us to develop in this direction?

If we compare the situation with the one that was 20 or 30 years ago, then it must be said that the civil society in Russia has developed… The civil activity of the population is high, and the events of the past year have very clearly demonstrated this. Volunteering has become a special phenomenon for us – sincere, honest, at the call of the heart, and not by order, as it was in Soviet times. Russians show great interest in the problems of ecology, education, health care, housing and communal services. There are many of those who are not indifferent to the life of their city, their yard. All these people are not silent, they actively interact with the authorities. Each of them is ready to spend their time and energy on solving common problems.

I would like to point out that now we are witnessing a partnership dialogue between the authorities and society. The Public Chamber acts as a platform for such a dialogue on various issues – both narrow, local and global… For example, we are actively monitoring the work of the executive branch on national projects. This is being done by our Coordinating Council, which has prepared a number of proposals from civil society on adjusting national projects. Not so long ago, the President of Russia, having considered the report of the OP on this issue, gave appropriate instructions for the implementation of our proposals.

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

– Speaking about the daily problems of Russians, I would like to clarify what are the main complaints received by the OP over the past period of 2021?

– Citizens often write to the Public Chamber. As of the end of August, we received 10,000 complaints and appeals. Traditionally, most of it concerns the sphere of housing and communal services, education, law enforcement and health care. Here are the main topics we work with… We try not only to help everyone who applied in his difficult situation, but also to analyze common problems for everyone. Based on the analysis of the array of complaints, we are trying to prepare proposals for the executive authorities to remedy the situation. Behind every appeal there is someone’s pain and trouble. We have successful cases of assistance provided by members of the chamber to specific families, but we must not forget about the importance of systematizing work on citizens’ appeals

– Politicians and experts talk a lot about changes in the labor market, the introduction of a four-day working week. Do you think the time is ripe for reforms in this area?

– It seems to me that the pandemic has contributed to a change in work organization. This issue should be discussed taking into account the lessons of the pandemic.… A huge number of the world’s inhabitants are accustomed to working remotely, and now it is difficult to control the number of hours they spend at work. It is convenient to perform your work function if you have access to the Internet, so people often work late at night and on weekends. However, at the same time, the rule of a 40-hour work week remains formally.… It is necessary to discuss the issue of working hours and working hours after a full analysis of the sudden and forced experience of a pandemic.

– Why was Khabarovsk chosen as one of the sites of the Community Forum, which is being held by the OP, and what problems can be solved on the site?

– There is nothing surprising in this. Two years ago, a national program for the development of the Far East until 2025 was presented. Of course, the population of the macroregion is interested in summing up the preliminary results of this work. The forum discusses the employment of the population, the affordability of housing, the urban environment, and the environment. There are also tracks in the program “healthy country”, “youth policy”. This is all that worries the residents of the district. I hope that our forum will help the authorities find the right solution to these problems.

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