“Echo” did not reach the Public Chamber – Gazeta Kommersant № 54 (7255) from 30.03.2022

In Moscow, 30 members of the new convocation of the Public Chamber (PC) became known, including the famous doctors of the capital’s hospitals Maryana Lysenko and Denis Protsenko, who became famous during the pandemic. For the first time since the establishment of the OP, among its members delegated by the mayor, there was no former editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow and the current deputy deputy chairman of the chamber Alexei Venediktov, who since 2013 also heads the capital’s public headquarters for election observation. Experts believe that the seat in the OP was a confirmation of the status of the well-known journalist, rather than a channel of influence, but they believe that the headquarters headed by him brought real benefits.

OP Moscow was established in 2013, its composition is renewed every three years. In the first two convocations, 20 members of the OP were appointed by the mayor, 24 were elected in the administrative districts of Moscow, and together these 44 people selected 20 more colleagues. In 2019, the composition of the OP was reduced to 45 members: the mayor and the Moscow City Duma delegate 15 people to it, who then elect another 15 members of the public.

On March 29, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin signed a decree appointing 15 members of the OP under his quota. Among the most notable newcomers to this list are Denis Protsenko and Maryana Lysenko, chief physicians of Moscow hospitals who gained notoriety for fighting the coronavirus. ), as well as the director of the park “Charge”, former TV presenter Ivan Demidov. Earlier, the Moscow City Duma approved its part of the OP, and now 30 members of the new convocation have to elect another 15 members of the chamber on the basis of proposals received from public organizations. The term of office of the current convocation of the OP expires on April 26.

For the first time since 2016, Sobyanin’s list did not include former Echo of Moscow chief executive and current deputy chairman of the OP Alexei Venediktov, although he still has the opportunity to join the new membership if he is elected by 30 already approved members.

In 2013, before the mayoral campaign, Mr. Venediktov headed Russia’s first public election observation headquarters, established under the Moscow OP, and has since led it almost invariably. year. Since 2019, Alexei Venediktov has been actively promoting remote electronic voting (DEG) in Moscow and even established a prize from his own funds for hackers who found vulnerabilities in the Moscow system. .). The journalist also actively advocated the option of “deferred voting”, which allowed the voter to change his choice several times a day (only the last vote was preserved). And although this option was the reason for distrust in the results of DEG-2021 in Moscow, Alexei Venediktov continued to insist on its further use. However, this did not happen: the new federal law allowed Moscow to use its own DEG platform, but without the possibility of a re-vote.

On March 5, 2022, the board of directors of Echo of Moscow terminated the employment contract with Mr. Venediktov, who had held the position of editor-in-chief of the radio station since 1998, for another two years. Prior to that, the Prosecutor General’s Office demanded to restrict access to the radio station’s content, allegedly due to the spread of false information about the military operation in Ukraine. As a result, Echo of Moscow was disconnected from the air, and Gazprom Media Holding, which owned the radio station, decided to liquidate it.

Alexei Venediktov did not answer Kommersant’s questions about his non-inclusion in the new OP and the possibility of continuing to lead the public election headquarters.

Grigory Melkonyants, co-chairman of the Voice movement (entered in the register of unregistered foreign NGOs), who was a member of the public headquarters for observing the State Duma elections in Moscow, believes that Alexei Venediktov’s the role of the mediator. “In these conditions, the benefit of the work of the headquarters, of course, was, as far as possible in our political system, and the main merit in this – Venediktov. It was possible to promptly resolve conflict situations at the polling stations, and to cancel the voting results in case of serious violations, ”the expert recalls. Although, according to him, the situation with the influence of the staff on the process of registration of candidates was more difficult. “I have something to compare with. Subsequently, the model of the Moscow headquarters was copied in other regions, but there it all became imitative, “- said the co-chairman of the” Voice “.

According to the head of the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation, Mikhail Vinogradov, Alexei Venediktov’s place in the OP was a confirmation of his status rather than a channel of influence. “Public chambers do not play a significant role today at the federal or regional level,” explains the expert. He believes that Mr. Venediktov’s readiness to “reputational self-sacrifice” on the topic of electronic voting in Moscow showed that he has a high motivation to get involved in urban politics: “But the forms of this possible involvement are not completely clear, especially against the background of serious federal political uncertainty.”

Elena Rozhkova

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