Rossiiskaya Gazeta – Interview with Ella Pamfilova
- Ella Alexandrovna, they know what is G8 in Russia but don’t know much about Civil G8 and consider it as a sort of PR for G8.
- When the President was forming the Organizational Committee he took a political decision – to support a tradition of the cooperation between the authorities and NGOs. He invitied me to establish such cooperation with NGOs. We have used the chance to strengthen the positions of the Russian NGOs.
- It’s for the first time that Russia is presiding in G8. Is there any new examples of what Russia could do in a civil sphere?
- First, we tried to raise the process at a new level. Within the framework of the March NGO Forum we organized a meeting of NGOs with the Sherpas and we discussed problems during 2 hours. In May we met with Sherpas for the second time in a narrow circle – there were several human rights experts. As a result we not only discussed the civil constituent of the G8 agenda, but also tried to suggest our issues for the discussion in St Petersburg. And we invited for our Forums not only the representatives of G8 civil societies, but also the representatives of international NGOs and non G8 members countries.
- Nevertheless, the civil society of the World are critical about our NGOs efforts. On the eve of the summit we saw a new rating of NGOs prepared by the “Freedom House” showing the lowering democracy in Russia.
- There is no need even to comment it. The “Freedom House” united several people suffering russo-phobia. Especially, high-rank CIA officials which became human rights experts.
Before we all were victims of the Soviet propaganda, now we are victims of anti-Russian propaganda. And it was complicated to establish contacts with some foreign colleagues first, but then thanks to the efforts of my colleagues we started moving.
- But there is critic also in Russian circles. Many people say that your Council is the only way of access to the authorities. And they say it especially often at the occasion of the new NGO law.
- There are always periods of “hate and love” in relations between the authorities and the civil society. During the discussion of a new NGO legislation it was a very cold period.
But the fact the President attended the Forum and frankly answered the NGO questions changed the atmosphere of non-understanding.
One must admit that the relationship between the authorities and the civil society were always difficult and complicated. And the main aim of NGOs is to see, to analyze the xituation, to speak loudly about the corruption etc. And when we speak about the form of such work, one shouldn’t confuse the human rights and the political organizations.
- How do you think, what recommendations of the civil Forum in Moscow can be included into the G8 summit agenda in St Petersburg?
- We have prepared the majority of our recommendations within the framework of the G8 priorities. As to our recommendations for the next G8 summits, we can mention such issues as migration and social integration as well as fighting terrorism and human rights.