Overview In 2012, the Russian Red Cross (RRC) celebrated its 145th Anniversary with more than 200 different events organized by RRC branches during 2012 – exhibitions, mass campaigns, lectures, meetings with youth and volunteers. On that occasion, the Russian RC founded its anniversary medal to be granted to the most active RRC staff and volunteers.
In September 2012, IFRC President Tadateru Konoe paid visit to Moscow on the occasion of the 145th RRC Anniversary, and met with RRC staff and volunteers, and the diplomatic corps accredited in Russia. The IFRC President had official meetings with Russian high ranking officials: Mr Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dr Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Health to discuss the further strengthening of the dialogue between RRC and Russian public authorities.
In the reporting period, IFRC through its Regional Representation in Moscow and Europe Zone Office in Budapest has continued rendering technical support to the process of the Russian Red Cross` development in its role - a member of the IFRC Governing Board, having invested special efforts in several international and regional initiatives, namely in the sphere of migration and the promotion of the Russian language as the fifth working language of the IFRC.
The following major issues were focused on:
Strengthening of the dialogue between Russian Red Cross and the Russian state authorities. In the framework of implementation of the resolution of the 31st International Conference of RCRC, IFRC Moscow office facilitated a dialogue between Russian RC and Russian Government, aimed at increasing the legal base of the National Society with its auxiliary role to the Government as a leading national humanitarian organisation Enhancement of the operational capacity of the Russian Red Cross based on the priorities, identified by Strategy 2020 of the Russian RC: a) Dissemination of International Red Cross Red Crescent Fundamental Principles and Values among staff, volunteers and general population; b)Health & Care and social services with special focus on health life style, complex TB and MDR TB control actions, support to people leaving with HIV (PLWHIV), First Aid, and child protection; c) Disaster preparedness and response, based on cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) at federal and regional level; d) Migration, with special attention to anti-stigma and anti –discrimination as well as health and legal support to labour migrants; e) Blood donors recruitment, youth and volunteers.
Support to the organisational development of the Russian Red Cross by starting the process of Organisational Capacity Assessment and Certification process lead by Geneva- based OCAC team, as well as increasing technical knowledge and skills of staff and volunteers on program development;
Facilitation of Movement coordination, aimed at the provision of targeted support to the Russian Red Cross according to its Strategy 2020;
Establishment of cooperation with the Inter–Parliamentary Assembly of Commonwealth Independent States and other inter-state CIS institutions based in Russia.
International and national political context in the Russian Federation In 2012 the Russian Government continued to enhance its role as a significant international player in the humanitarian sphere:
In April 2012 the Russian EMERCOM established its first joint Russian–Serbian Humanitarian Centre in Serbia, aimed at the coordination of humanitarian response activities in Europe.
In response to the severe humanitarian situation in Syria, the Russian Government has allocated CHF 2 million for the emergency operation implemented by ICRC in Syria, having taken into account the fact that the Syrian RC and ICRC are the only organizations having access to the population affected by civil unrest.
Also, in response to the extreme winter conditions in Central Asia, the Russian Government provided immediate humanitarian assistance to the Government of Tajikistan in the amount of USD 38 million;
On 1 December 2013 Russia took over the presidency in G20. The President of Russia addressed the leaders of the G20 member states on a new concept concerning the use and protection of the results of intellectual activities on the Internet. Russia`s presidency in G20 will open a good opportunity for IFRC humanitarian diplomacy and explore cooperation within this high level international body and establish humanitarian cooperation on social issues of the G20 Global Agenda.
The internal social and political context of Russia was full of important changes related to the parliamentary elections in December 2011 and the presidential elections in March 2012, when Mr Vladimir Putin was elected for his new 6-year presidential term. According to the law a new Prime Minister was appointed (Mr Dmitry Medvedev, former President of the Russian Federation), who formed the new Cabinet of Ministers. In the framework of this process, structural and staffing changes were effected in those two Ministries which are crucial for the Russian Red Cross and RCRC Movement in Russia: the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) and the Ministry of Health and Social Development. The latter was split into two (the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour) and EMERCOM has got a new head. Mr. A. Puchkov was assigned for the post of EMERCOM Minister, and Dr. V. Skrotsova became the new Minister of Health.
In September 2012, the Russian MFA officially requested the U.S. State Department to terminate USAID activities in Russia and close all USAID funded projects until 31 December 2012. Due to this fact the USAID funded IFRC/RRC program also came to an end.
In 2012, the Russian State Duma (Russian Parliament) adopted a “Law about Foreign Agents” requesting from Russian NGOs, receiving financial support from foreign funds and institutions for its political activities, to register in the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation and submit special narrative and financial reporting.
In November 2012, President Putin approved the new composition of the Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights under the President of Russia. As a result of a successful internet election campaign, Red Cross Chairperson Raisa Lukuttsova was assigned to this Council. This successful appointment demonstrates the highly respected and recognized auxiliary role of the Russian Red Cross to the Russian public authorities as the widest national civil society organization. The participation of the Russian RC in this very powerful top level Council will contribute to the further development of the Russian Red Cross.