Composition of new Civic Chamber

Composition of the new Civic Chamber now finalised

02.06.2014, Moscow

The online election for All-Russian civic associations and other NGO members to the Federation’s Civic Chamber is now over. 43 new members were appointed during the month’s long election (1-30 May), and will serve from 2014-2017.

According to the Chamber’s television channel, as of midnight on 30 May, 2,344,000 votes had been cast in the election. At the final meeting of the online election working group, the Chamber’s first Deputy Secretary, Vladislav Grib, said that this was “a seriously hard-fought contest. For many people, organising such an event was a high point in their lives. The successful candidates are all decent and reputable people”. The first meeting of the new membership of the advisory body has to take place no later than 1 July.

According to figures on the “Russian Civic Initiative (RCI)” website, Moscow was the most active in the elections, with 35.5% of those voting being Muscovites. Kursk came second with 8.9%, followed by Krasnodar district with just over 7%. The split between the male and female vote was 60.1% and 39.9% respectively.

During the month-long election, a number of names were removed from the list of candidates on the RCI website. At the last meeting of the election organising committee on 30 May, 3 candidates, Ali Totorkulov, Ruslan Kurbanov and Alexander Ryakin were immediately disqualified for using “technology designed to influence the vote”. Grib explained that representatives from the telecommunications operator “Rostelcom” had discovered significant levels of voting coming from a very small number of IP addresses on the last day of the election. There had earlier been an anomalous vote registered for Leonid Sharifov who removed his name from the list as soon as he was aware of the situation.  In order to put a stop to these irregularities, it was decided in mid-May to remove the registration section on the “Government Services” link (the online voting process was run using an account on the Government Services portal) which had previously been located in the main Civic Chamber building.

Among those newly elected from the NGO community are the former spokeswoman of the Russian youth movement “Nashi”, Kristina Potupchik; Director of the “Satyrikon” theatre, Konstantin Raikin; Co-Chair of the Russian Federation’s Consumers Union, Vladimir Slepak; Chairman of the All-Russian Trade Union of the Non-State Sphere of Security, Dimitry Galochkin; TV presenter, Nikolai Drosdov and others. Bogdan Novorok, Deputy Chairman of the Central Council of the “All-Russian Nature Protection Society” received the largest number of votes (43,314). The 43rd member of the Civic Chamber, Lyudmila Vinogradova, finished in fourth place, nominated by the All-Russian Civic Family Protection organisation “National Parents Resistance”.

Unsuccessful NGO candidates included the Co-Chairman of the Council of the Movement for the Protection of Voters’ Rights “Voice”, Gregory Melkonyantz; President of the Regional Civic Organisation working for the protection of children’s rights “The Right of the Child”, Boris Altshuler; Chairman of the International Human Rights Charity “Committee for Human Rights”, Andrey Babushkin; President of the Charity “Volunteers for Aid to Orphans”, Elena Alshansky; a popular Russian teacher, Efim Rachevsky; a public figure, Alena Popova and lawyer, Elena Lukyanova.

According to Gregory Melkonyantz, who for a long time had been among the leaders in the category “development of public control”, but then dropped out of the race, the NGO elections became a bit of a “farce”. He believes that the authorities feared that new members of the Chamber would be openly critical once elected. The expert added that a number of candidates could submit a joint appeal to the courts, but as neither the Civic Chamber nor its election organisation working group are legal entities, it is unclear as to who the defendant would be. “We’re left with the possibility that the elections will not be challenged” Melkonyantz added.

Elena Lukyanova, who for a while maintained a steady lead in the category “development of an information society”, said in an interview with “Moskovsky Komsomolets” that she’s not so much concerned for herself, but more for the fact that the whole online election procedure could be called into disrepute.  In saying this, Lukyanova stressed that she was not bitter about being unsuccessful in the elections, but feels “this voting format has dangerous implications for the Civic Chamber’s reputation”.

According to the Civic Chamber’s Press Office, after the election had ended, Vladislav Grib stated that those who had been unsuccessful in the online NGO election “would be in demand in the work of the Chamber’s scientific consultative council, one of a number of bodies currently being set up by federal agencies”. Grib added that “the Chamber considers those who took part in the election as reserves of federal staff, and we look forward to developing a close working relationship with them. We are always open to new contacts and ways of joint collaboration”.

A source from the Civic Chamber told “Izvestia” that a new code of ethics would be put in place for future online voting in the election of candidates to the Chamber. “Election results will be closely scrutinised in order to resolve any procedural problems, thereby increasing levels of security within the process”, the source added.

83 individuals have now been elected to the new Civic Chamber, and another 40 to the federal advisory body, according to the “Presidential” list.

The full list of NGO members elected to the Civic Chamber can be found on:

Author: Georgy Ivanushkin

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