About two thousand Ulyanovsk residents to become public observers during Russian presidential elections

The agreement on joint work was signed between the working group of the regional Public Chamber that monitors compliance with citizens' electoral rights and public organizations of the region within the IX Ulyanovsk Region Civil Society Forum.

 On 15 December, the Federation Council officially approved date of presidential elections. About two thousand social activists of the Ulyanovsk region will monitor the election campaign, which culmination will take place on 18 March 2018.  More than 550 of them will come to voting stations in the regional center.

Amendments to the federal law "About the Election of the President of the Russian Federation", which provide the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and regional public chambers with the right to make their own lists of observers, was accepted by the State Duma in late November. By this time, the Public Chamber of the Ulyanovsk region had created a working group and signed an agreement on cooperation with Electoral Commission of the region.

“The document will allow to nominate public observers from among the most active and affluent public organizations. Our main task will be to carry out training of the candidates because monitoring of election campaigns requires special knowledge to inform the population, as well as the ability to deal with emergencies. I hope that through joint efforts we will be able to ensure fairness and transparency of the election. Independent public observers are members of the general society. They are not involved with any specific candidates and parties and they will guarantee compliance with citizens' electoral rights”, - noted Dmitry Travkin, the Chief of Staff of the Public Chamber of the Ulyanovsk region.

The agreement was signed by more than 20 social activists including the heads of labor union, veteran, youth and human rights organizations, as well as national and cultural autonomies. “I have been working in the sphere public control for several years and now I will master its new direction. Recently the role of the non-commercial sector in Russia has grown significantly, and citizens more often than not ask its representatives for help and advice. For me, the most important thing in the current election campaign is to improve credibility of the elections, so that Ulyanovsk residents would come to voting stations on 18 March and contribute to the future of the country”, - emphasized Elena Sibagatulina, the Chairman of the regional department of the Russian Red Cross.

During the plenary meeting of the IX Civil Society Forum, the Deputy Governor of the Ulyanovsk region Olga Nikitenko reported on implementation of the project for support of local initiatives in the territory of the region.

“The Civil Society Forum brings together all concerned residents of the region who implement crucial projects and initiatives on an annual basis. This year, the forum has become a unique platform for interaction between civic activists, non-profit enterprises, public and industrial associations, executive and legislative powers and the system of local self-government. Together participants resolve issues related to civic engagement in development of the region and social problems of inhabitants of settlements. One of priority projects for the Ulyanovsk region is support of local initiatives. The project has been running for three years and has already proved its relevance for the population of municipalities. In 2017, 100 million rubles were allocated from the regional budget for subsidizing of projects on development of municipalities. These projects were developed on the basis of local initiatives. The amount of support has grown by 12 times as compared to that of 2015”, - Olga Nikitenko noted.

An important part of the meeting was dedicated to summarizing year's results in the field of civil society development. According to Alexander Chepukhin, the Chairman of Public Chamber of the Ulyanovsk region, the year 2017 has become a milestone for the region. In June, a new Public Chamber was appointed, and Advisory Council was created in autumn. It consists of 140 active citizens.

“We have started "reset" of public councils under the regional governments; we have created the Children's Public Chamber and within the next few days we will begin forming new structures for five industry public chambers. Our forum is held in such conditions when leadership of the country pays increasing attention to activities of civil society institutions. During his speach at the active citizens' forum Community, which took place in Moscow on 3 November, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin emphasized the need to create favorable conditions for the non-profit sector and to broaden access of non-profit organizations to public social services, to support charity and volunteering, - said Alexander Chepukhin. - It is a welcome sign that the Governor Sergey Morozov actively supports trends set at the federal level. Largely thanks to initiatives of the head of the region, the Ulyanovsk region is developing a system for effective interaction between the power and civil society institutes. NPO and citizens' initiatives are provided with strong support. We are implementing programmes of initiative budgeting and have launched regional priority projects "Professional Citizen" and "Decade of Kindness"”.

Delegates of the forum identified a number of priority areas for civil society institutes. These include the tasks to increase activity at the municipal level and to encourage local authorities to seek new ways of interaction with the public, to improve mechanisms of public control, to provide informational support to NPOs with a social focus.

More than one and a half thousand residents of Ulyanovsk became participants of the IX Civil Society Forum. They had an opportunity to have a look at the interactive exhibition of non-profit organizations’ projects, which won grant tenders in 2017, to use services of the counselling center for NPO and civic activists, to participate in discussions concerning development of the non-profit sector's capacity, participation of territorial self-government in addressing social and economic challenges, increase in civil activity of youth.

Following the results of the forum, which first stage finished on 15 December, proposals will be developed for inclusion in the Civil Message to the Governor and the Government of the region. The Public Chamber will announce this document, as well as the next Report on the status of civil society in the Ulyanovsk region, in February next year.By this time, the analysis of implementation of previous Civil Messages will have been completed.