2020 through the eyes of the Russian Human Rights Commissioner
Report: 2020 through the eyes of Human Rights Commissioner
2 April 2021
On 1 April, Tatyana Moskalkova submitted her report on human rights in Russia and abroad to Vladimir Putin.
According to the report’s opening statement, “Today’s world is characterised by an overall fall in quality of life, an increase in unemployment, restrictions on travel and the public expression of rights, digital inequality, and ever-shrinking personal space”.
Human Rights in the last 5 Years
The report provides not only a summary of 2020, but of the five years that Tatyana Moskalkova has been in her role.
Over the course of five years more than 200,000 cases were referred to the commissioner, who met with over 20,000 people for a personal consultation. In total more than 1,000,000 people received help from the commissioner’s office.
Moskalkova reported that in her tenure a “sophisticated system” of human rights advocacy had been established. Around 500 events promoting human rights awareness had been held, among them the Ediny urok (Common Lesson) series of events on human rights.
Following the meeting between Putin and Moskalkova, the president gave his backing for her to continue as commissioner for the next five-year period.
Human Rights in the Pandemic
The report states that over half of Russians surveyed thought that the government had observed human rights during the pandemic. Half of the survey’s respondents stated that they had faced social injustice, mainly concerning pensioners, the elderly, and people in difficult life circumstances.
Participants in the survey concluded that society as a whole, as well as the government, must engage in the fight against social injustice. According to the commissioner, this points to a demand in society for “the development of social engagement”.
Regarding healthcare, Russians experience a lack of accessible medication and medical staff, as well as a shortage of paramedics and midwives in remote and rural areas.
On education, 65% of respondents noted the detrimental effect of moving to distance learning. While higher education was labelled “satisfactory”, problems were cited relating to fee-paying studies and a lack of bursaries, low quality of teaching, lack of motivation to study, and low levels of employment after graduation.
A third of participants in the survey thought they could lose their jobs in the pandemic and would be unable to find work again quickly. More than a third find employment in unofficial jobs.
35% of respondents consider pensions, bursaries, and benefits to be too low.
On the other hand, Russians thought that the state of the environment had improved, while they also rated the police and the law courts higher than before.
“As a result of the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19, the problem of domestic violence has particularly come to the fore, as victims (overwhelmingly women) are stuck at home with their aggressors”, stated the report.
“Meanwhile, 25% of respondents consider domestic violence to be an internal family affair and do not believe it should warrant severe punishment by the judicial system”.
The report notes that human rights protection is only achievable with renewed efforts on behalf of the state together with human rights organisations and other civil society organisations.
The report was published in full by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.