Interview with Nikolay Petrov

Nikolay Petrov, a political analyst from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Russia Today about the formation and the role of the Public Chamber in the structure of civil society in Russia.

Russia Today:  President Putin is actually  in meetings with the Public Chamber. Could you please explain to me exactly who it is that makes up the Chamber and how are they elected? 

Nikolay Petrov:  Actually the Chamber consists of three thirds, and the first initial third which is the most important one, is appointed by the President himself. Then there is pretty complicated procedure on how they  select  the second third of the Public Chamber, which represents  different organizations at the Federal level. And finally, two thirds of the Chamber form the third, last part of it,  which represents regional organizations.

RT: How can you describe a body of which a third is nominated by the President, as  truly independent and public, if that third then goes on to select the rest of the members?

N.P.: To be honest it is not truly independent and the President himself defined it as bridge between the authorities and the society. So this bridge is constructed and designed   by authorities but it depends upon the society whether it will operate in two directions or in one direction only.

RT: Could you briefly tell me then about some of the work of the Chamber actually achived so far? Is it filling its mandate? What issues is it tackling and how effective is it?

N.P.:I would say that it is pretty effective project from the point of views of the authorities and of the society as well. And the main feature of it is connected with  the fact that unlike the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, the Public Chamber is important not only as the whole body but each of its members can operate on his own and that