Russia’s President Medvedev has promised to push through new laws to give human rights activists more support.
At a meeting in the Kremlin he reassured representatives of non-governmental organisations he would do more to encourage “not for profit – socially oriented” groups by making them eligible for direct state support. “Our mutual task is to support the NGOs in the community and support both the engagement of talented people in this sector and sponsoring by benefactors,” said Medvedev. Rights activists campaigners have heard it all before though. Medvedev was merely repeating what he said in his address to the nation earlier this month. And in April the President also said laws governing NGOs could be amended which analysts saw as a reformist move designed to distance himself from the policies of his presidential predecessor Vladmir Putin. But there has been no evidence so far of any change in policy. Despite optimism among rights campaigners over the budding “strategic partnership” with the government, Ella Pamfilova, Chair of the Kremlin council to promote civil society and human rights, said an end to the murders of activists and business people was “nowhere in sight”.