On the background of the democratization and socio-economic reforms in Russia in 1993 a group of jurists from Kursk and Belgorod established a public remedial organization "Central-Chernozyom Human Rights Research Center" in the Kursk region.

In 1994 the organization was registered as a juridical person, and it was then that they formulated the organization's initial aims and tasks, which still find their importance.

The Human Rights Center Main Objectives are:
  • To develop the system of public law service, to support the remedial organizations and initiatives.
  • To develop people's legal awareness.
  • Looking for gross and mass breaches, and defense of the citizens' rights and freedom.
  • Familiarization with the world's positive experience in the field of human rights.
  • The fusion of Russian remedial movement to the world's remedial process.
  • Elaboration and implementation of the preventive measures that help to find and eliminate the reasons for the breaches of the human rights.

At present, the Center is an interregional public organization that has 5 offices within the Kursk region and branches in the Belgorod and Bryansk regions. This Center includes jurists, professional lawyers, research officers, students of law, etc.

Center activity background

In October 1993, a group of Kursk and Belgorod men of law, activists of the Democratic Russia movement came up with the idea of creating an interregional public remedial organization. The Central-Chernozyom Human Rights Research Center was registered by the Kursk region Administration of Justice on October 24, 1994. Elizavyeta F. Kalinina was elected the Center's first Director. In August 1995 she was replaced by Alexander A. Grachov who is the Director up to now.

Legal assistance

In 1995 the Center staff opened the first free legal advice office in the Kursk region. Since September 1995, the Center lawyers have received 4 584 people. In the citizens' defense there were brought 640 writs, 162 complaints, 25 enquiries, 65 petitions and 15 addresses. The Center attorneys have represented 441 cases in civil trials and 49 criminal cases.

As a result of the Center lawyers' activity, when they had to apply to the Office of Public Prosecutor a number of times and to the court in 1995-1997, the defrauded depositors of one of the local "financial pyramids" were paid back 380 000 000 non-denominated rubles. In 1999 there was opened a "legal advice clinic" which involved students of law departments as well. The Clinic has given over 3 000 consultations.

At present moment, the free legal advice help is provided within the Student Legal Consultation program.

Educational Activity

Besides the legal advice service the Center is also providing legal education. The Center associates were giving lectures in schools and higher education institutions, spoke before the public representatives and officials. The Center has conducted a few remedial seminars, exhibitions and an international conference on the problem of human rights and freedom defense and the relations between the jurists and the state.

On May 15-17, 1997, in association with the first non-state higher education institution (Regional Open Social Institute) in the Kursk region, the Center has organized an international scientific and practical conference "Human Rights While Building Civil Society".

On September 25-27, 1997, the Center in association with the Moscow-Helsinki group has organized an international scientific and practical conference "Legal Matters of the Mutual Relations of the State, Enterprise and the Remedial Organizations in the Regions" and an international seminar "Human Rights and Law Machinery".

In February 1999, in association with the Civil Society Problems Institute (Moscow) there was prepared an exposition and a round-table discussion "Charity in the Kursk Region: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow".

In January 2000, in association with the Criminal Justice Reform Assistance Public Center (Moscow) there was made an exhibition "Man and Prison", and also a round-table discussion "A Teenager in the Criminal Justice System".

In March 2001, in association with the Human Rights and Legal Awareness Youth Center, there was conducted a seminar for Kursk secondary school teachers, named "Teaching Students Human Rights".

Since 1999, the Human Rights Center in association with the Kursk Regional Branch of the Russian Young Lawyers Union is realizing the Street Law program. In 1999, with the methods and information support of the St. Petersburg Oldenburg Law Institute, the volunteers have taught the course "Daily Law" in four schools of Kursk to 92 students.

In 2001, the Center Director, A. Grachov, and the Center member A. Kunitsin published the book "Human Rights and Russian Legal Thought (XVII- beginning of the XX century)" (388 pages long) as a teaching aid.

Lawmaking and Analytical Activity

In 1997, the Center developed a bill "About the Human Rights Commissioner in the Kursk Region" and introduced it to the Kursk regional Duma.

In 1998, the Center began to put into practice the project "Public Control over the State and Local Lawmaking Activity" in the Kursk region. For a year this project was supported by the Eurasia Fund. As a result, 300 local statutory acts were checked on being in accordance with the federal legislation, there was prepared a model statute of the municipal unit of the Kursk region, there were published over 10 articles devoted to the issue of the local government legal bases.

Being the Moscow-Helsinki group's partner, the Center is participating in the Human Rights Monitoring program in Russia. As a result of this monitoring, in 1999 and 2000 there were published the digests, named "Local Remedial Organizations Reports on the Human Rights Situation in the Russian Federation".

Law Students Education Activity

The Center has always been the "firing pad" for the students of law. In the Center they gain their first professional skills and become the first-rate lawyers and legal defenders. One of the first Center members were the students of the Kursk State Technical University Evgeny Popov and Ruslan Shulga. Presently, both of them have Doctor's degree in Law being professional lawyers and legal defenders. The Center executive director Yaroslav Ivanov was involved in the Center work in 1997, being a third-year student of Law department.

In 1999 the Human Rights Center organized the regional round of the All-Russian Students Contest - 99 which involved more than 40 students from the four Kursk higher education institutions. Also in Kursk there was held the interregional round of the contest that involved the students of law from Kursk, Tambov, Belgorod and Voronezh.

Since 1999 the Center's director A. Grachov has taught the Human Rights course (36 hours) for the students of law. Under his supervision the students write term-papers and graduation theses on the problems of human rights.

Places of Detention Humanization Program

In 1999, with the support of the Open Society Institute and the Pro Civil Society Fund there was put into practice the Places of Detention Humanization project. Within this project there was published the bulletin, there were conducted consultations for the individuals who serve time in prison and investigating agencies, there were held round-table discussions involving representatives of public, church, Penalty Execution Administration and other bodies of law-enforcement machinery.

Grants Received for the Time of the Center's Activity

Name of the Project
Time of performance
Supporting Fund
Total grant
Legal redress for the low-income citizens of the Kursk region
Pro Civil Society Fund
Legal redress for the low-income citizens of the Kursk region
Way of Freedom Association supported by the Government of Switzerland
Legal Initiative Center
01.03.1997 to 01.03.1998
Open Society Institute
$10 000
Public control over the lawmaking activity of the state and local bodies
01.04.1998 to 31.03.1999
Eurasia Fund
$16 026
Places of Detention Humanization
01.02.1999 to 31.01.2000
Open Society Institute
$20 000
Places of Detention Humanization
Pro Civil Society Fund
Center Activity and Programs Support
01.07.2001 to 30.06.2001
$10 000

The Center at Present

Today the Center is a public organization that involves three staff members and 35 volunteers (which include four professional lawyers, six associates having Doctor's degree, two post-graduate students and more than 20 students of law).

For more detailed structure of the Center view...

When carrying out the projects the Center staff has always been in contact with the judicial authority, state executive bodies and the Kursk regional Duma.

The Center is also an active participant of the Civil Forum Organizational Activities in the Kursk region.


Administrative office:
Hutorskaya 16/2, Kursk, Russia, phone/fax: 50-12-80,
contact person: Yaroslav Ivanov, e-mail:

Likbezator project:
Dzerzhinskogo 49a, Kursk, Russia, phone/fax: 2-67-21, 51-45-16,
contact person: Shatalov Ivan, e-mail:

Student Legal Consultation program
Dzerzhinskogo 19, Kursk, Russia, phone/fax: 2-60-78,
contact person: Nelyubova Angelina.

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