Civil Forum Opens In Kremlin

A two-day Civil Forum opens in Moscow on Wednesday. It was decided to hold a forum during the meeting between President Vladimir Putin and non-governmental organizations' representatives on June 12, the Day of Russia. Organizers of the event noted in an interview with a RIA Novosti correspondent that the Civil Forum was first of all aimed at "discussion of development ways for the civil society in Russia and its interaction with state authorities." The Forum's crucial tasks comprise establishment of public, state, and political forces' interaction on strategic issues of the country's transformation: legal, military, education, municipal services reform, development of local self-governance, provision for the nation's health, real protection of human rights, etc. At the same time, the Organizational Committee members emphasize that the Forum is "politically neutral". "The Forum does not intend to form a kind of a 'public parliament' - a representative body having the right to speak on behalf of the entire civil society," the organizational committee noted. According to Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the Kremlin administration, the government is ready to discuss any issues with public organizations "in an open manner." Surkov admits at the same time that the sides would not necessarily find common ground in all the issues." Around 5,000 representatives of Russian public organizations are expected to participate in the Forum.

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