Medvedev approves new fund to protect rights of Russian compatriots

Dmitry Medvedev with members of Russia’s security council (RIA Novosti / Dmitriy Astakhov)
The Russian president has signed a decree establishing a special fund for Russian compatriots abroad, which will be formed and exist under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry.

The fund will help Russian compatriots defend their rights. Another federal body that will be involved is the Federal Agency on the Affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation.  

"I expect that at the beginning of next year, the fund will constitute a permanent, systemic and effective system to protect the interests of our compatriots,” Medvedev said at a meeting of the Russia’s Security Council on Wednesday.

The new organization will be based in Moscow, but engaged in defending any Russian compatriots living in other countries if their rights or legal interests are violated.

Primarily, the assistance is of a legal nature. According to Medvedev, the fund will be guided by Russian legislation and international law and conventions, as well as laws of the countries where Russian nationals are living. “It is an important issue, and I’ve received a huge amount of requests in regards to this issue,” the president said.  

The fund will be financed from the state budget and private donations and administered by the council and director. It will also have a board of trustees, recommended by federal agencies, the parliament, the Public Chamber, non-governmental organizations and the mass media.  

Medvedev first supported the idea to create such a fund during the Third World Congress of Russian Compatriots held in Moscow in December 2009. He noted then that protecting the rights and interests of Russians living abroad would remain a top priority. Rights violations “should not go unnoticed in Russia,” he stressed.

Congresses of compatriots are held once every three years. In October this year a world conference of compatriots will be held in Moscow.