President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We are meeting on Human Rights Day, which is, in fact, your professional holiday.
I just met – you are aware of this – with members of the Presidential Council [for Civil Society and Human Rights]. It was a very engaging discussion, very useful, I believe, and interesting.
You, in fact, are doing the same work, but from a quasi-state level, so to speak. You are not at a particularly high level, but this is precisely the point of your work. The work of the human rights commissioners – we have created this institute in almost all regions – is very important because it’s easier for people to reach you and to approach you with their concerns. Importantly, you work on the ground in almost all regions.
Of course, you have a better sense of what is happening locally, what people need, and how to better help them in certain specific situations.
This is important and very much needed. After all, human rights commissioners must have certain competencies. They must use their authority and commitment to help people resolve their problems. They must also use these competencies to achieve what we all – in this case, you – are working for.
I know it is not easy and, perhaps, sometimes even difficult to work with many government employees who believe they are the only people who care about others, but at the same time as they get focused on their everyday routine, paperwork and formal matters and the need to attend to necessary but often formal matters, they can, in a sense, lose contact with people and their everyday concerns and are unaware of what has to be done to make their lives better.
You have the opportunity, as you can put your position, the number of phones on your desk and any other signs of authority aside, to work directly with people and help them resolve their concerns through the right authorities.
Since we are meeting on Human Rights Day, which was established to observe human rights in various walks of life, I would like to wish you every success in your work. I want to say that, as far as I’m concerned, I will do my best to support you and put the officials at any level in the same frame of mind, so they can pursue the same objective: governors and their deputies in the regions and at the municipal level; I will urge chief executives to be attentive to what you say, what you suggest, because it is a very important part of relations with the public, with each individual.
When officials have no time to get down to the real business of addressing certain matters or do not have a feeling for what is happening around them, you should step forward (to assist them). Hopefully, this is what really happens. Once again, I wish all the best to everyone.
I know that my colleagues at the federal level are also involved in international activities that are in high demand and this is also done in the interests of our citizens, who might end up in a difficult situation while traveling abroad.
Our Commissioner for Human Rights (Tatyana Moskalkova) is regularly involved in these activities and she acts – so unexpectedly for me – persistently, fearlessly, and I would say effectively. I wish you all the best with your work.
Thank you very much for your efforts.