Ella Pamfilova: I would like to start with a piece of good news for a change.
We are still receiving quite a lot of letters and proposals (I would like to pass this on to you) from major international organisations expressing their thanks for the unprecedented meeting (with representatives of non-governmental organisations) organised under the aegis of the G8 last year, and saying that they hope a meeting of this kind will take place again during Germany’s presidency of the G8, as they had discussed with you.
President Vladimir Putin: A Russia-European Union summit is coming up in May. Germany also holds the presidency of the EU at the moment, so I will be meeting with the [German] Chancellor, and I will speak to her and tell her about our agreement.
Ella Pamfilova: This is very important, all the more so as a large delegation from Russian NGOs will be going to a similar summit in Germany at the end of April – a meeting with all the sherpas is taking place there. I hope and I think already that our NGOs will participate more actively than ever there and have already marked out their place on the stage.
In this respect, I would like to follow on from the meeting you had with the Council in January, during which among other problems we discussed implementation of the new law on NGOs. Following this meeting, we took your recommendations into account and held extensive meetings with senior officials from the Presidential Executive Office, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and the Justice Ministry taking part, and we heard the views of members of the Public Council, the Human Rights Ombudsman and the NGOs themselves.
This was a serious and frank dialogue that enabled us to establish common ground and outline some common positions. Our common position, expressed by state representatives, and by NGOs opposed to the law, is that there is not yet sufficient material to make an objective assessment of the situation. This will not be possible earlier than August. We have drafted proposals that reflect the common positions we reached with the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and the Justice Ministry. I hope that these proposals – proposals on simplifying administration and registration requirements for NGOS – will be examined.
Vladimir Putin: As far as I understand the situation, no serious problems have been noted as yet?
Ella Pamfilova: The organisations will begin reporting only as from April 15. We are continuing our monitoring.
Vladimir Putin: So, some more time is needed in order to properly analyse the situation and draw conclusions?
Ella Pamfilova: We need time to understand exactly what is happening. But some common positions have been established: simplifying registration; simplifying oversight procedures to make them a help and not a hindrance to organisations’ survival; and simplifying reporting requirements – these are a few of the positions on which we have reached common ground.