Regional Civic Initiative – Right to Life and Human Dignity

Louchnikov By-Street
4 Moscow 103982

Russian Federation
Victor Kogan-Yasny
+7 095 206 85 89
+7 095 206 88 53

The public organization “Right to Life and Civic Dignity” has been active in Moscow for nearly ten years.

It was formed on the basis of the “group against the death penalty” in 1989, and was called “Society against the Death Penalty and Torture” from 1992 to 1994. In due course, people active in the organization arrived at the conclusion that they had chosen much too narrow an arena of battle, fighting for the life of a few hundred of those sentenced to death, and this at time when many thousands are losing their life in the country owing to violation of human rights. Today, therefore, one the goals of the organization is to look for ways and means of resolving various types of extreme social situations. The basis here is the following moral principles: “Everyone has a right to life,” and “No one must be subjected to tortures or cruel inhuman or deaming treatment or punishment.”

The statutes of the organization provides for active promotion of special stability and civic peace.

The organization was an active peacemaker in Tajikistan, protested against violations of human rights during the events in Moscow in autumn of 1993, came out against the introduction of Russian troops to Chechnya and took an active part in working out peaceful proposals.

In Chechnya Elena Petrova, an activist of the organization, did charity work; after the 1996 armistice she disappeared in unknown circumstances.

The organization prefers not to resort in its work to noisy protests. We prefer to act through the mass media, working with deputies of the State Duma, the law-enforcement agencies, and individual citizens. Priority goes to analytical processing of the situation in the entire complex of human rights, and this because of the general political and economic situation in the country as a whole, and its separate regions. We keep in our field of vision various legal nonsense and aim to overcome them by means of legislative and political initiatives. Here we are helped by our close cooperation with the Yabloko association and continuous contacts with a number of other politicians and political leaders.

Our organization was the first that published European conventions in Russian translation in 1992 – 1995, including the European Social Charter that has been not ratified in Russia to this day. Later, the conventions were published in large printings by the federal powers.

In 1999, we issued one of the first Russian mass publications in favor of simplifying the taxation system and a single social tax. At present these submissions are part of the basis of laws and are universally accepted.

Their Work: 

The propaganda of the need to abolish the death sentence is as before one of the priority areas of our Society’s work. Shooting a criminal who has already been made harmless will not improve matters. Justice is not practiced to provide citizens with a one-minute sense of pleasure on learning about a death sentence to a dastardly criminal. The important thing is to isolate a person dangerous to society, so that he ceases to be dangerous.

We also seek actively to propagate the idea of television exchanges between Russia and the European Union and abolition of barriers to the freedom of travel.

With the object of securing mutual connections between particular precedents and the general situation and working out constructive proposals, we are working on a project conditionally called, “Information Center on Humanitarian Issues,” in the framework of which we are collecting information about the fulfilment of democratic legal norms and maintenance of individual rights and freedoms (including the subjects of education and ecology) in different regions of the former Soviet Union; an attempt is being made to reveal the dependence between the political atmosphere in regions, their stability and their development, above all in terms of real observance of human rights of every man. We never fail to work out recommendations for overcoming important crises.

Information for analysis comes by correspondence and other forms of communication of citizens, through the mass media, working with documents, and in the course of special trips.

The major part of today’s plans of our organization is enlightenment. We intend to translate and print in Russian a number of the more solid foreign publications of the academic and publicistic type devoted to the urgent problems of mutual connection between human rights and state policy. It is also planned to film and disseminate at DVD and CD short politico-publicistic films.

A lawyer regularely meets with people seeking charitable legal assistance

Program Priorities: 

1. To continue expertise of the situation Russian regions, particularly the North Caucasus region, and making propositions on development in framework of democratisation and humanisation
2. Assistance in overcoming the war and non-development psychology in Northern Caucasus through non-partisan (not supporting war sides) cultural and enlightenment activities
3. Publishing the “Dosh” (“Word”) journal for both Chechen and Russian reader
4. Publishing the “Regional Civic Newsletter”
5. Translation into Russian the general human rights handbooks and materials for campaigning for the democracy and humane relations in the state
6. Distribution the video materials on cultural and social life
7. Starting to build an all-Russia network
8. To continue charity aid, including legal assistance and aid to the victims of the war in Chechnya