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Public Chamber ofthe Russian Federation toOpen its First Plenary Session

The first plenary session ofthe Public Chamber ofthe Russian Federation took place inThe Georgiyevskiy (St. George’s) Hall ofthe Grand Kremlin Palace.

Academician Yevgeny Velikhov was unanimously elected Secretary ofthe Public Chamber, chairmen ofthe 17commissions ofthe new body were named aswell.

Interros president Vladimir Potanin was elected chairman ofthe commission for developing ofcharity, mercy and volunteer work and member ofthe Public Chamber council.

In his address tothe members ofthe Public Chamber President Vladimir Putin stressed that the new body will significantly contribute tothe creation offavorable conditions for the activity ofphilanthropists, Maecenas and charity bodies. Charity isa real social program, which has animportant, but still undervalued, potential for positive changes,- the President said.

Now Iam seriously concerned that inour country the attitude tophilanthropy issimilar tothat ofan attitude tothe neighbor who borrowed money from you and does not return the debt, said Mr. Potanin atthe press conference onJanuary 23. Inhis opinion such anattitude towards the philanthropists should bechanged. If wemanage tobreak the stalemate and achieve afriendlier attitude ofthe society tothe philanthropists and Maecenas, itwould become anoteworthy result ofthe initial stage ofthe Public Chamber activities, headded.

RF President proposed toset upthe Public Chamber during the Cabinet meeting onSeptember 13, 2004. InMarch 2005the State Duma and the Federation Council approved the law On Public Chamber, which took effect onJuly 1, 2005.