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Establishment of Human Rights Institution in Saint Petersburg

The idea to create an institution of Human Rights Ombudsman in the Russian Federation was for the first time officially expressed in the Declaration of Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen adopted by the Supreme Council of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on 22 November 1991.

The institution of the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman was provided by the Constitution of the Russian Federation in 1993 (Article 103 § 1 (e)). The Federal Constitutional Law "On the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Russian Federation" came into force in March 1997. It stated that the Human Rights Ombudsman is independent and not accountable to any state authorities and officials in exercising his/her mandate. According to this Law, institutions of the Human Rights Ombudsman can be established at regional level. 

In Saint Petersburg creation of the institution of the Ombudsman started in 1997 with the initiative of the Saint Petersburg Center for Humanities and Political Studies "Strategy", with support of associations of Saint Petersburg. Deputies of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg, representatives of city executive authorities, law experts from several European countries and Ombudsmen of Sweden participated in discussion and drafting of the Law. The first Russian Ombudsman Sergey Kovalev took part in the Concluding Conference on the Draft Law.

On 17 December 1997 the Legislative Assembly adopted the Law of Saint Petersburg "On the Human Rights Ombudsman for Saint Petersburg". Saint Petersburg became the fifth region of the Russian Federation where such law was adopted. However, the first Ombudsman - Igor Mikhailov - was appointed only 10 years after, in 2007. In 2009 Alexey Kozyrev became an Ombudsman but like his predecessor, he completed only a half of his five-year term. 

On 4 April 2012 Alexander Shishlov was elected for this position by the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg. On 5 April 2017 he was reelected for the next 5 years. In September 2021 he had been elected deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg and left the post of Ombudsman.

On 1 December 2021 Svetlana Agapitova became an Ombudsman for Saint Petersburg.