Awards for human rights and charitable work in Russia

Elena Topoleva and Faina Zakharova receive awards for their human rights and charitable work


On 9 June, Valery Fadeev, Head of the Public Chamber’s Civil Society and Human Rights Council (HRC), announced the prize winners at an online briefing at the press centre of the Russia Today news agency.

Elena Topoleva, Chair of the Federation’s Public Chamber Commission on the Development of the Non-Profit Sector and Support for SONGOs and Director of the Agency of Social Information (ASI), was awarded the State’s prize for outstanding achievement in the field of human rights.

“Ms Topoleva is an incredibly effective human rights activist who began her work in the 1990s. She established the ASI in 1994, an extremely important agency which holds information about human rights, charitable activities and civil activists”, said Fadeev.

Fadeev added that in 2020, Topoleva became the “main driver” in the creation of a support system for CSOs affected by the Covid pandemic which resulted in the introduction of a registry of not-for-profit organisations assisted by the State. “Elena Andreevna supports the systemic sector and always protects and defends the interests of CSOs in her dealings with the authorities”, said the Head of the HRC Council.

Faina Zakharova, President of the Lifeline charity, received a State award for charity work by Presidential Decree. “Faina began her charitable work in the early 1990s, initially in the field of environmental protection and rose to be one of its most influential figures, creating what has become part of our living landscape today”, said Fadeev. He added that the Lifeline charity had been helping children with congenital heart disease for 12 years and that Faina had developed a new area of medicine to help with their treatment.

The State award for work in the human rights and charity sectors was first presented in 2016. Previous winners were Elizaveta Glinka (Dr Liza), Director of the Fair Help Foundation, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, the actor Konstantin Khabensky, founder of a charity that supports children living with cancer, and Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko, founder of the first hospice in Russia.

The award is given to human rights activists and philanthropists who carry out tireless and influential work aimed at defending human and civil rights and freedoms, strengthening and developing civil society institutions, promoting a charity culture, patronage of the arts, volunteerism, providing selfless assistance to those in need and have received widespread national recognition.

Last summer, the government allocated 15 million roubles for an additional State award for philanthropists and human rights activists.


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