PRESIDENT TURNS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FOR HELP... Meeting in the Kremlin with a group of human rights activists to mark International Human Rights Day on 10 December, President Vladimir Putin admitted that Russia has many unresolved problems in this area, newsru.com and other Russian news agencies reported. He said that the ignorance, corruption, and arbitrariness of many officials are preventing the government from implementing the human rights guarantees in the constitution. The president asked the activists, including Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of the presidential commission on human rights, and Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alekseeva to arrange an expert commission to evaluate all draft legislation connected with human rights and to assist the state in handling public petitions and complaints. VY From: RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 6, No. 231, Part I, 11 December 2002 I may be wrong but I think this is something of a first, or three firsts. 1) Admission that there is a real problem, 2) Saying he will do something about it, and 3) Dealing with people who have been highly critical of the government. Of course talk comes easier in Russia than action. We shall see if anything happens.