Executive Director, retired
What was your personal agenda during the Civil G8 Forum?
I had two main points in my agenda. First, not to allow the G8 to discuss the energy security without discussing the ecological security. The climate issues should be the priority while discussing energy issues. Second, to help Russian colleagues to act under conditions of pressing and new legislation.
What was the atmosphere during the discussion?
It was mainly positive. The participants felt like working together. The G8 is a very strange creature, because it leads non-formal negotiations. All we recommend it and all we receive as a result is an improvisation. And every year it’s different. This year the procedure of civil constituent before the summit was most complicated – it was a unique event and, of course, there were some slips. But the organizers managed to involve the wide spectrum of NGO representatives from abroad.
Was the event successful – both for the authorities and for NGOs”
We’ll be able to consider it after the G8 summit results – depending on what part of our recommendations will be taken into account. But the first reportage that I saw on the Forum results was dedicated to the new NGO Law. The reportage said that Putin admitted that the law is far from being perfect, that it should be improved. So, I think that our voice was heard. But what he will really do about it after the 17 of July – we shall see.
The main disappointment for me was the impression that he is skeptical about the climate change theory. It’s not right. There is no doubt about it any more. I think he isn’t being informed correctly about the matter.
What civil society does Putin intend to build?
He has to admit – and there are signs, that he understands it – that it is impossible to build it. He can create conditions for its growth, to respect it such as it is.
But when he entered the congress hall, several young activists made a sort of protest action and his guards got nervous. Putin said: Everything is all right. Everyone has the right for his opinion”.
Maybe it was his willingness to show it for the cameras, maybe – his understanding that peaceful protests are part of any civil society. But anyway he showed his openness, tolerance and readiness for a dialogue. My Russian colleagues were a bit ironic about it but I think he understands that the civil society doesn’t endangers him.
Putin is a leader of the big country which lives in a very difficult situation of human rights, economic development and enormous oil incomes. In such conditions the Russian civil society is developing. From another hand there are repressions against Media and pre-planned attacks against the biggest companies.
But the fact of organizing the Civil G8 Forum and Putin’s participation shows that he tries to be a modern politician, able to listen to the wide spectrum of opinions.