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Tag Archive for Foreign Agent Law

Bill Proposes Softening NGO ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 9, 2014) A legislative commission has approved a bill reducing fines for non-governmental organizations that fail to register with the Justice Ministry as so-called “foreign agents,” the government said in a statement Wednesday. The bill, conceived after the Ministry received complaints from the country’s human rights commissioner, proposes halving

Russia’s Golos Has ‘Foreign Agent’ Status Removed

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – September 08, 2014) The head of the independent Russian electoral rights group Golos (Voice) says a Moscow city court has overturned a decision that the organization had to be registered as a “foreign agent” with authorities. Grigori Melkonyants said the court accepted the appeal of Russian Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova, who asked

Justice Ministry Adds Nuclear Research Center to ‘Foreign Agents’ List

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry added a Moscow-based think tank that specializes in nuclear arms research to its controversial list of “foreign agents” on Wednesday. The designation means that the PIR Center, founded in 1994, has been found to receive funding from abroad and to conduct political activities, thus

Russian Human Rights Council Attempts to Scrap Fines for ‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 3, 2014) The Presidential Human Rights Council has prepared amendments to a controversial law that would stop nongovernmental organizations being fined for failing to register as “foreign agents,” Kommersant reported Tuesday. A law introduced by the government in 2012 requires NGOs that receive funding from abroad and are engaged

Russian NGOs Working to Fight AIDS Not ‘Foreign Agents’

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – August 15, 2014) Non-governmental organizations working to fight HIV/AIDS in Russia will not be required to register as foreign agents if they receive funding from abroad, Kommersant reported Friday, citing the results of recent inspections by the Justice Ministry. The inspections, which began in June at the

Putin versus the NGOs

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(opendemocracy.net – Pavel Chikov – July 3, 2014) Pavel Chikov is chair of AGORA, an association of human rights organisations based in Kazan. Agora, founded in 2005, provides legal advocacy for victims of suspected human rights abuses, in particular for journalists, political activists and NGOs. Since 1999 Chikov has been a leading human rights lawyer

Justice Ministry Adds Five More Russian NGOs to ‘Foreign Agent’ List

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 10, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has added five nongovernmental organizations to its list of “foreign agents” just days after President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing organizations to labeled as such without their consent. An official statement on the ministry’s website said the decision was made based on “court

Interfax: Golos association to contest inclusion on registry of NGOs-foreign agents in court

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – The Golos (Voice) association said it intended to contest in court the fact that the Russian Justice Ministry included it on the registry of non-governmental organizations (NGO) – foreign agents. “This will not affect our work in any way. The association is in the process of liquidating itself. As to

Interfax: “Foreign agent” NGOs compelled to post regular reports on their activity, expenditures

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MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – Non-governmental organizations listed as “foreign agents” have been compelled to post regular reports about their activities and expenditures, in particular, in the media, the Russian Justice Ministry press service said. “As soon as the aforementioned organizations are added to the register of “foreign agent” NGOs, they become subject to relevant

NGOs in Russia Could be Labeled ‘Foreign Agents’ Without Their Consent

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2014) President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing the Justice Ministry to register nongovernmental organizations as “foreign agents” without their consent, Interfax reported Wednesday. A law that entered into force in 2012 required all NGOs engaged in “political activity” to formally register as “foreign agents.” The designation itself

Russian upper house approves tougher “foreign agent” NGO law

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(Interfax – Moscow, May 28, 2014) The Federation Council [Russia's upper chamber of parliament] has approved a draft law giving the Justice Ministry authority to include a noncommercial organization [the usual Russian phrase for what is referred to elsewhere as NGOs] on the register of foreign agents, even if that same NGO has not applied

24 NGOs in Russia Labeled as Foreign Agents in 2013

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 29, 2014) The Prosecutor General’s Office said it identified 24 nongovernmental organizations as “foreign agents” last year, in line with a law that rights groups say is intended to limit dissent in Russia. In particular, a report by Prosecutor General Yury Chaika singled out human rights

Interfax: UK, US embassies interfered in Russian affairs by funding NGOs – top prosecutor

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(Interfax – April 28, 2014) Six foreign embassies, including those of Britain and the USA, interfered in Russia’s internal affairs by funding NGOs in the country, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka said in his report on the state of law and order in Russia, according to privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 28 April. “The study of

Russian civil society and the law

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(opendemocracy.net – Louise Hallman – April 22, 2014) Louise Hallman is the Editor at Salzburg Global Seminar, an independent non-profit organization based in Salzburg, Austria with a mission to challenge current and future leaders to solve issues of global concern Russia’s foreign agents law caused a great deal of controversy when it was introduced late

Human Rights Group to Close Over ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – April 10, 2014) The Constitutional Court has upheld the controversial law requiring some nongovernmental organizations with foreign funding to register as “foreign agents,” while an affiliate of the prominent Memorial human rights group faces closure after being labeled a foreign agent by a St. Petersburg court. The

Russian law on NGOs as “foreign agents” ruled constitutional

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – April 8, 2014) The Russian Constitutional Court has ruled that the controversial law that requires all non-government organizations to register as “foreign agents” if they receive funding from abroad and are involved in political activities is constitutional. However, the court said that the provision that lists fines for violating the law is unconstitutional

Foreign funding alone not enough to define NGO as foreign agent – judge

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(Interfax – April 8, 2014) The mere fact that a nonprofit organization receives foreign funding cannot provide grounds for identifying this organization as a foreign agent, Constitutional Court Judge Sergei Knyazev told reporters on Tuesday. Such an organization will however find itself in the group of foreign agents if it engages in political activities, he

When charity should begin at home

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Alex Jackson – March 31, 2014) Alex Jackson is a writer for Salzburg Global Seminar, an independent non-profit organisation based in Salzburg, Austria with a mission to challenge current and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. You can follow him on @salzburgglobal and @ajacko26 Civil society development in Russia has been

NPOs law could be further corrected – diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax – February 19, 2014) No more than 1,000 checks have been conducted with respect to nonprofit organizations (NPOs) operating in Russia, which were fined a meager amount, whereas the total number of NPOs in our country is 200,000, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Human Rights Commissioner Konstantin Dolgov said. The accusations against Russia over NPOs

RIA Novosti: Only One NGO Registered Under Russian Foreign Agent Law

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MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – Only a single NGO has registered as a foreign agent under a hotly contested 2012 Russian law to regulate the activities of foreign-funded organizations, the Justice Ministry said on its website Friday. The law, widely denounced by human rights organizations as an attempt to suppress political opposition in the

RIA Novosti: Local NGO Fights ‘Foreign Agent’ Status

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(RIA Novosti – February 5, 2014) The St. Petersburg-based Freedom of Information Foundation has filed a complaint against the prosecutor office’s request that it register with the Justice Ministry as a “foreign agent.” The request was issued after the NGO’s founder attended a meeting of human rights activists with US President Barack Obama during the

RIA Novost: Deputies Withdraw Bill to Label Media Firms ‘Foreign Agents’

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ A bill that would have branded Russian media outlets that receive more than 50 percent of their funding from abroad as “foreign agents” was withdrawn from consideration in the State Duma on Tuesday. The bill’s authors said they had decided to reintroduce the legislation at a later date with

Russia’s Memorial regional branch branded “foreign agent”

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(Interfax – December 12, 2013) Russian human rights activists have said that a St Petersburg court has upheld the Prosecutor’s Office’s claim that the antidiscrimination center Memorial is a “foreign agent”, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 12 December. The antidiscrimination center Memorial is a regional office of Russia’s Memorial human rights organization. The antidiscrimination

Interfax: Russian NGOs that won government grants won’t abandon foreign financing

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MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – The Russian civil rights organizations that have won in a tender for government grants are not going to abandon foreign financing. “These are our projects. We are pursuing them regardless of financing sources. We are not carrying out projects ordered by Russian or foreign funds,” Memorial historical and civil rights

Interfax: Hearing of Memorial, Golos Complaints Against Prosecutors Postponed Until February

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MOSCOW. Nov 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow Zamoskvoretsky Court has postponed until February 4, 2014 the hearing of the complaint filed by the human rights center Memorial about the prosecutors’ demand to register as a foreign agent. Thus, the court has postponed the hearing of the human rights activists’ until the Strasbourg court or the

Interfax: Key human rights group: Russia must ditch ‘foreign agents’ law

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MOSCOW. Nov 15 (Interfax) – A prominent Russian human rights group has called for repealing the law on “foreign agents,” Russia-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive funding from abroad and pursue political activities. “This law cannot be amended. No amendment, not even one having the best of intentions behind it, would affect its essential concept

Interfax: Prosecutor’s office cannot suspend proceedings of civil cases regarding several NGOs

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MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – The Prosecutor General’s Office cannot satisfy the request of the presidential Human Rights Council to suspend probes of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). A letter from Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Malinovsky to head of the council Mikhail Fedotov says Russian law does not give prosecutors such rights. “Proceedings in a concrete case

RIA Novosti: ‘Foreign Agent’ NGO Forced to Stop Work in Russia

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KOSTROMA, October 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Russian rights organization that promoted public initiatives said Tuesday that it was suspending operations because it is unable to pay a $9,000 fine imposed for failing to register as a “foreign agent.” The NGO, based in the central Kostroma Region, said it was able to raise 100,000 rubles

Russian NGOs accused of being ‘foreign agents’ vindicated – report

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(Interfax – October 23, 2013) A report published on the website of the Human Rights Council under the Russian president says practically all the cases in which the Prosecutor-General’s Office (PGO) accused NGOs of being in breach of the controversial recent law on “foreign agents” have been thrown out by courts, privately-owned Russian news agency

Russian Rights Council Asks Prosecutor To Suspend Checks On NGOs

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(RIA Novosti – October 21, 2013) The Russian presidential human rights council has sent a letter to Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka, asking for checks on NGOs to be suspended until a complaint about the law “On foreign agents” is considered in the Constitutional Court, council head Mikhail Fedotov told state news agency RIA Novosti on 21

RIA Novosti: Russian Parliamentary Committee Approves NGO Snap-Check Bill

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(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, September 18, 2013) ­ A relevant parliamentary committee on Wednesday recommended that lawmakers pass a bill providing additional grounds for unscheduled checks of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The committee for public unions and organizations recommended that the bill, submitted by the Russian government in June, be passed in its first reading. According

Debate on NGOs as foreign agents continues in Russia; Deputies asked to explain the definition of “political activity”

Russian Duma Building

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – September 9, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Council on Civil Society and Human Rights on Sept. 4, during which he attempted to clarify his position on civil rights advocates in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). He reminded those present that the

Leader of Embattled Elections Watchdog Has Left Russia, Report Says

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 5, 2013) A leader of the independent election watchdog Golos has left Russia to continue her work abroad due to a lack of financial support from the state, a news report said Thursday. Lilia Shibanova said she saw no point in remaining in Russia after Golos was barred from

Foreign funding is no obstacle to provision of state grants to NGOs – expert

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(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 26, 2013) Non-governmental organizations that received funding from abroad are on the lift of recipients of grants from the state, Maria Slobodskaya, president of the Institute of Civil Society Issues and a member of the Russian Public Chamber, said. “The issue of who received foreign funding or did not receive foreign

RIA Novosti: Kremlin to Finance ‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs – Report

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(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 26, 2013) ­ The Kremlin will give grants to the Memorial human rights organization and several other opposition-minded NGOs that prosecutors earlier this year accused of being “foreign agents,” the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported Monday. Two regional branches of Memorial will receive a combined 800,000 rubles ($24,000) from the

22 ‘Foreign Agents’ Detected in Russia After Mass Searches, Prosecutor Says

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 22, 2013) Mass searches of NGOs across the country have helped to detect 22 “foreign agents,” a top official from the Prosecutor General’s Office said Thursday. The law, which requires non-governmental organizations that receive funding from abroad and engage in “political activity” to register as “foreign agents,” came into

Moscow Helsinki Group head says law on NGOs must be cancelled

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 2, 2013) Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva said she disagreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said he was opposed to toughening or liberalizing the law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) – foreign agents. “I think that this law must be cancelled over its absurdity,” Alexeyeva told Interfax on

Sentence first, verdict afterwards

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Kirill Koroteev – Aug. 1, 2013) Kirill Koroteev, a Russian lawyer, has worked with Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) and European Human Rights Advocacy Centre on numerous cases lodged against the Russian Federation with the European Court of Human Rights. He was also a charge de mission for the International Federation for Human

‘Foreign Agents’ fight for survival

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(opendemocracy.net – Yuri Dzhibladze – July 30, 2013) Yuri Dzhibladze is founder and president of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a Russian public policy and advocacy NGO. The Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights has achieved much in fifteen years, but now, like so many NGOs, it

Keeping calm and carrying on

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(opendemocracy.net – Anna Sharogradskaya – July 31, 2013) Anna Sharogradskaya is the director of the Regional Press Institute in St Petersburg, lecturer in Journalism and social activist. St Petersburg’s Regional Press Institute has defended Russian media rights for the last two decades. Like other similar organisations, it has been subjected to various forms of governmental

Audit Says Golos Owes 2.3M Rubles in Back Taxes

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 19, 2013) The Federal Tax Service has accused election watchdog Golos of not paying 2.28 million rubles ($70,200) in income taxes in 2009-10 on funding it received from USAID, in what rights activists see as the latest in a string of state attacks on independent observers. Auditors from Tax

Perm NGO Cleared Over Refusal to Register as ‘Foreign Agent’

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2013) A court in Perm has ruled not to punish local nongovernmental organization Grany Center for refusing to register as a “foreign agent,” a news report said Thursday. Prosecutors had asked the court to find Grany Center guilty of violating the controversial law passed in November requiring all

Golos hopes to receive state grant, to reset relations with authorities

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 15, 2013) The Russian voter rights movement Golos (Voice) said it counted on receiving 14 million rubles from the state budget for its program whose aim is to increase public confidence in elections. “We have drafted a project, which is aimed at increasing society’s trust in the voting infrastructure and have

NGOs refuse to confirm their ‘agent’ status’ Not a single organization has registered as a “foreign agent” in the past year

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – July 15, 2013) The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has conducted a large-scale inspection of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and discovered that more than 1,800 had received financing from abroad in the last year. A law requiring NGOs involved in political activity and receiving money from

Russian prosecutor calls for more NGOs oversight

Yury Chaika file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – July 11, 2013) Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has claimed that non-government organizations lack oversight and are capable of undermining state interests, after revealing that three NGOs were allegedly involved in terrorist activity, while 20 NGOs violated tax regulations. Chaika’s calls for more oversight have come amid

Half of Russians Support Tough NGO Sanctions

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 11, 2013) Over half of Russians support tough measures implemented against NGOs, while nearly a third don’t know what activities these organizations are actually engaged in, a Levada Center poll suggests. A controversial law was passed in November requiring all groups that receive foreign funding and engage in “political

Memorial refuses to be recognized as foreign agent

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(Interfax – MOSCOW. July 10, 2013) The Russian human rights and educational society Memorial has dismissed Prosecutor General Yury Chaika’s statement that Memorial has set up a ramified structure in order to evade registration as a foreign agent. “Memorial (branches) emerged in many cities and consolidated into one organization on its own, and it had

Russian rights ombudsman sets hopes on changes to controversial NGO law

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – July 9, 2013) Russia’s human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, has said he hopes the controversy over Russia’s “foreign agent” NGO law will subside if the legislation is amended to clearly distinguish between organizations engaged in political activity and those working on social issues, Russian privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 9 July.(1) “Everything

Russian NGOs received over 30 billion rubles of financing in six months – Prosecutor General

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(Interfax – July 9, 2013) Over 2,000 non-governmental organizations (NGO) operating in Russia received over 30 billion rubles since the new law on NGOs came into effect, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said. “Since the law came into effect – since November 2012 until April 2013 – NGOs received generally (…) 30.8 billion rubles,” Chaika

Veteran human rights defender: Russia should scrap ‘foreign agents’ law

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 4, 2013) A veteran Russian human rights defender insisted on Thursday that Russia ditch its law that prescribes “foreign agent” status for foreign-funded Russian nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that are involved in domestic political activities. “I am convinced that this law must be repealed,” Lyudmila Alexeyeva, leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group,

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