Bill to Double Russian Public Chamber’s Regional Delegates

MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) – A bill to double the number of regional representatives in Russia’s Public Chamber has been introduced to the Russian State Duma, the bill’s author said on Monday.

“[The bill] almost doubles regional representation in the Public Chamber, from 43 members to 83,” said Alexander Torshin, one of the bill’s co-authors and a Federation Council member. He said the legislation was aimed at increasing the chamber’s “status and importance.”

The bill envisages increasing the overall number of Public Chamber members from 126 to 166, to include 40 presidential nominees (currently 42), 83 nominees from public chambers (one from each Russian region) and 43 representatives of public organizations to be chosen in an online vote organized by a Russian Public Chamber working group.

Torshin said the bill reflects “present tendencies in the Russian society,” including the online vote designed to respond to the growing influence of the Internet on Russia’s public life. The bill, if approved, will set the first precedent of a Russian public institution being formed as a result of an Internet vote.

The Russian Public Chamber was first formed in 2005 to simplify interaction between citizens and state bodies, to defend citizens’ rights and freedoms and to exert public control over state officials and institutions.

Currently, one third of the chamber’s 126 members, or 42 people, are appointed by the president. The presidential appointees pick another 42 representatives from Russian public organizations. The 84 members, in their turn, select the remaining 42 members among candidates from regional public organizations.

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