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Russian Jurists Association Seeking Increased Presence In Public Life

Pavel Krasheninnikov is considered Russia's second most influential lawyer, after Dmitriy Medvedev.

The Russian Jurists Association, which is close to President of the Russian Federation Dmitriy Medvedev, intends to step up its participation in the country's public life. The association's leadership is drawing up a new concept of information activity that implies more active cooperation with journalists, the organs of power, and public organizations. The association's chairman Pavel Krasheninnikov, who is described as the main initiator of the expansion of the jurists' PR activities, is to travel to Yekaterinburg for an unofficial visit on 17 August.

The draft of the new concept of PR activity, whereby the organization is to adopt a more active position in the information space and in the country's public life, will most likely appear in the Russian Jurists Association apparatus as early as next week. According to a spin doctor who is familiar with the situation, the association is tasked with expanding its presence in the mass media, including the regional media. In particular, it is proposed to create regional pools of commentators drawn from the association's members, to open schools of legal literacy for journalists, to hold regular high-profile events, and so forth.

Yakov Rozin, secretary of the Jurists Association, confirmed to URA.ru that the concept is indeed being drawn up, but he would not give specific details: "At the moment it is more a collection of proposals, and it would be premature to discuss it in this form," Rozin believes. However, he agrees that the association is indeed currently facing the problem of expanding its PR presence. "At the moment a single legal information community does not exist," Mr Rozin says. "Attorneys have one sphere of communication, prosecutors another. Apart from our association, there are no entities that could influence the situation."

According to Rozin, the association is also trying to follow the instructions of Dmitriy Medvedev, who called for a fight against legal nihilism. "There is also a third task -- like any public organization, we have an interest in our own publicity, public relations, PR," Rozin explains.

In the regions, they have not yet heard about the increase in the association's information activeness. Andrey Kuzmin, head of the apparatus of the Sverdlovsk branch of the Russian Jurists Association, told URA.ru that this information has not yet reached the regions. "But we can see that the association's new leadership is seeking a more public position," Kuzmin says. "There is the Zakon-TV (Law TV) television channel (in the NTV+ package), there is the magazine Zakon (Law ). The association regularly places an insert in popular publications. Our branch has a plan for events on legal themes; for instance, we have planned competitions for the media."

Andrey Belyanskiy, member of the Russian Jurists Association, believes that the new concept should show the country's population the principles of "normal" application of the law. "Today the media most often present lawyers in a heartrending context that has as much to do with everyday life as a novel does," Belyanskiy says. "We need to explain why the life of a normal society is impossible without the legal community." Belyanskiy also points out that the role of lawyers in the country's life has increased recently and more professionals from the field of jurisprudence are working at every level of power. Therefore the community's desire to have greater representation in the information space is natural.

Russian Jurists Association Chairman Pavel Krasheninnikov arrives in Yekaterinburg 17 August. He is a very important person in Russian politics, one of the few who has a direct telephone link to the president. It is not a public visit -- Krasheninnikov will meet with the legal community and activists in the Jurists Association. Pavel Vladimirovich (Krasheninnikov) is a graduate of the Sverdlovsk Legal Institute and is currently regarded as the second most influential professional lawyer in the country (after Medvedev). Significant statements are expected from him about the new role of the legal community in the country's life -- as well as a presentation of the new information policy.

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