On December 8, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation hosted discussions on launching a large-scale training programme aimed at independent election observers. The first seminars will be held in January 2021. The Chairman of the Coordination Council under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Public Oversight of Voting Maxim Grigoriev spoke about the programme.
“The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation has been engaged in public monitoring of elections since 2012, and since 2018 the right of civic chambers to exercise public oversight of elections has been enshrined in law. Our ability to mobilize Russian civil society was demonstrated during public monitoring of the nationwide vote on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, when we, together with regional civic chambers, federal and regional public organizations, as well as political parties, assembled more than half a million independent observers. And now the Coordination Council is launching a massive programme to train independent observers. We are talking about more than one hundred thousand people,” said Maxim Grigoryev.
The Head of the Coordination Council said that the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation received numerous requests for the training of observers from both public organizations and political parties. “As usual, this programme will be completely open. We invite all public organizations and parties, whose volunteers, in accordance with Russian law, are ready to become observers and take part in our extensive programme aimed at training independent observers for elections at all levels in 2021,” he stated.
“We urgently need our independent observers to clearly understand their mission and know what their rights, duties and functions are,” he stressed.
The Deputy Chair of the Coordination Council on Public Oversight of Voting Alena Bulgakova
spoke about the website nom24.ru (LINK). The portal reflects all the relevant information about elections, violations revealed, and the results of inspections.
“We managed to create a platform that, throughout the current year, trained independent election observers both remotely and in person, observing all the sanitary and epidemiological requirements. We have also built constructive cooperation with small non-parliamentary parties. In each region there are more than 200 experts on electoral law, and we involve them for the training of observers. This allows for the multifaceted delivery of information to observers and the creation of methodological recommendations. Now we are introducing modern technological solutions in order to provide better training for observers,” said the social activist.
Member of the Council for the Development for Civil Society and Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation Alexander Brod
noted that public organizations and civic chambers in the regions were actively involved in the process of creating a corps of observers and they had successfully worked during various election campaigns.
In his opinion, thanks to a professional approach to the training of public observers, it is possible to avoid massive and gross violations during elections.
The expert drew the attention of all those present to new forms of the expression of will of citizens – multi-day and remote modes of voting – which, in his opinion, proved to be efficient during the nationwide vote on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
Member of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Charity and Social Work, Chairman of the Russian Youth Union Pavel Krasnorutsky talked about the involvement of young people in the process of public monitoring of elections. “Today, more than 10 thousand young people are involved in implementing public monitoring on site in their respective regions. The overwhelming majority of them are students from universities and secondary specialized colleges. It is important to involve young people in this process, as they are actively interested in the political life of the country."
According to the leader of the political party Rodina Alexey Zhuravlev, organizing independent public monitoring of elections is one of the most important functions of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. “The work of the Coordination Council ensures the transparency of the elections which is so crucial today,” he said.
The Deputy Secretary of the General Council of the party United Russia Yevgeny Revenko
noted that the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation was the most suitable platform for training personnel for public monitoring of elections. “We were participants and witnesses of the nationwide vote on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. People who come to polling stations as public observers must have the necessary competencies, they must clearly know and understand how the work of election commissions is arranged, and also what can or cannot be done at polling stations,” he said.
The Chairman of the Central Council of the Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice Vladimir Burakov
is sure that the initiative of the Civic Chamber to train independent public observers will be highly appreciated by small non-parliamentary parties since it will allow members of such parties to obtain the necessary competencies and take part in public oversight of voting.
According to the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists Alexey Vishnevetsky, public observers work closely with representatives of the media. This allows to quickly and objectively deliver information to citizens across the country.
Member of the Executive Committee of the observer corps “For Fair Elections” Alexey Peskov was quoted as saying: “At the moment, we have already accumulated a substantial methodological base that allows us to train public observers, actively involve them in the monitoring of the electoral process, and ensure the fairness and transparency of the voting procedure.”