Putin presents awards for charity and human rights work
This prize is awarded to human rights activists, charity benefactors and leading campaigners for meaningful social work that defends the rights and freedoms of every citizen, as well as strengthening and developing civil society institutions, enhancing the culture of charity and volunteerism and providing free assistance to the needy which receives widespread national recognition.
The first winner of the State prize for achievements in human rights was Elizaveta Glinka, Executive Director of the Fair Aid charity and a board member of the hospice charity Faith. She is also President of VALE Hospice International and a member of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights. In 2014, Glinka won the Our Way prize dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Vysotsky in recognition of her work as a doctor, for her unceasing efforts in helping homeless and disadvantaged people, for saving the lives of children in South-East Ukraine, as well as winning the St. Andrew the Apostle prize for showing “personal courage and compassion for people and for her selfless work on behalf of the civilian population of the Donbass”.
“A person’s most basic human right is that to life, something which is being mercilessly trampled underfoot in these desperate times. I find it very upsetting seeing dead and seriously injured children in Donbass and in Syria. It’s hard to think of the traditional image of citizens when they’ve had to live for 900 days in a war where innocent people are being killed. I sometimes find it impossible to comprehend divisions in society where people stop listening to one another and use one-sided phrases such as “It’s your own fault” or “Be prepared to get killed because you’re in a place you shouldn’t be”. We’re human rights activists who work outside politics and there are people we seek to defend. We’re on the side of peace, dialogue and cooperation with all people”, said Glinka at the prize award ceremony.
The prize for services to charity went to Alexander Tkachenko, Director of the Autonomous NGO Children’s Hospice. We have a major challenge ahead of us, namely the need to change society’s attitudes to severely disabled people”, he said.
Tkachenko founded Russia’s first children’s hospice in St. Petersburg back in 2003 and won the St. Andrew the Apostle prize for his “outstanding charity work and for showing great kindness and compassion”. In 2014, he was awarded the State decoration For Good Deeds. “Father Alexander looks after children’s hospices and puts all his heart, soul and faith into helping seriously ill children. I expect State Agencies, the civil society infrastructure and representatives from religious organisations across the country to get fully behind Alexander’s work”, said Vladimir Putin.
The Russian President explained that these human rights and charity prizes have similar status to State awards given in the fields of science and culture which are presented on Russian Independence Day.
The decision to introduce the annual State prize for achievements in the charity and human rights arenas was taken by the Head of State in 2013 following a meeting with members of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights. Entries for these prizes can come from public associations and organisations, including NGOs, as well as from the Russian public.
Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner, has been assigned the role of Chair of the Public Commission which will decide on a list of candidates for these awards.