TRANSCRIPT: Meeting with Vladimir Lukin and Ella Pamfilova

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Kremlin.ru – February 13, 2014)

Vladimir Putin met with Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and Chairperson of the Presidium of the Civil Dignity national public movement Ella Pamfilova.

Mr Lukin’s term of office as Human Rights Ombudsman expires on February 18, and Ms Pamfilova has been nominated to this post. The new candidate must be approved by the State Duma within 30 days.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ms Pamfilova, Mr Lukin,

The subject of our meeting is well known and has been announced previously – we are on the threshold of appointing a new Human Rights Ombusman, and, as you may know, our leading human rights organisations, people active in the human rights movement, who are authorities in this area have almost unanimously supported Ms Pamfilova as a candidate to this post. However, before all the legal formalities have been dealt with, I wanted to meet and ask you a simple question: Do you agree to this? What will you say if we do this?

CHAIRPERSON OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE CIVIL DIGNITY NATIONAL PUBLIC MOVEMENT ELLA PAMFILOVA: I would like to begin by thanking human rights activists and you, Mr President, for taking the risk of nominating me. Of course, I accept and I hope that in my work I will have the assistance of all those who are interested in resolving these issues, if the appointment does take place. Thank you.

RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN VLADIMIR LUKIN: I have said on numerous occasions that since my term of office is expiring by law, I was very happy to hear and I supported this proposal of nominating Ms Pamfilova to the position.

Ms Pamfilova has all the personal qualities and the experience that this job requires. She enjoys respect and trust among various groups and has a very good reputation. Therefore, I have no doubt that Ms Pamfilova will be able to make a smooth transition and continue the work plus ultra, as they say in Latin – even further.

ELLA PAMFILOVA: Mr President, I must admit that since you said that I could “eat them all alive” I have become a little frightened of myself.

I would like to say that if it all works out, the main thing is to be honest in our work, that is all. Honest and consistent. You can count on this.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Being a human rights advocate is a very specific job. It envisages constant interaction with the authorities, and not just interaction, but also a critical approach to what the authorities at all levels are doing.

However, without this society cannot develop in harmony and the interests of our citizens cannot be protected in full, as much as this is at all possible. Therefore, I strongly hope to see the approach you described.

There is a constant competition of sorts going on, if I may say so in the context of the Olympic Games that are underway in Sochi…

VLADIMIR LUKIN: And the Paralympic Games.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, the Paralympic Games will begin soon. There are constant clashes with the authorities, which is natural.

However, the goal of both the government and the human rights organisations is the same – the good of the people. Therefore, I expect to always see an element of cooperation with representatives of the authorities, which will all be for the benefit of those who we work for.

ELLA PAMFILOVA: I fully agree with you. I hope that at all levels of power, and in the human rights community I will be able to find the support of those for whom these very issues are of primary importance. As I usually say, the best friend of an honest human rights advocate is an honest law enforcement officer. We will seek their support.

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