Tag Archive for Foreign Agent Law

Russian civil society and the law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(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”

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

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

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(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,

Golos NGO pays both fines for refusal to register as foreign agent

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) The Golos non-governmental association has paid fines imposed by court for refusing to register as a foreign agent. “We fulfilled the court ruling categorically and paid both fines imposed,” Golos Deputy Director Grigory Melkonyants told Interfax on June 27. On April 25, the magistrate precinct of Moscow’s Presnensky Court fined

For Human Rights engages in political activities, gets foreign funding – prosecutor

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) Moscow prosecutors inspected the movement For Human Rights because its leader Lev Ponomaryov organized political actions and there is information that this NGO is receiving money from abroad. The organization “has been found to receive money from foreign organizations and engage in political activities,” a representative of the Moscow prosecutors

Russia Gets First Official ‘Foreign Agent’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 28, 2013) ­ The state roster of “foreign agents” among Russian nongovernmental organizations finally added its first entry on Thursday, a year after it was established, the Justice Ministry said Friday. The first organization to voluntarily sign up as a “foreign agent” was the Supporting Competition in CIS Countries noncommercial

Independent Russian Election Watchdog To Create Replacement Despite Suspension

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, June 26, 2013) The suspension by the Justice Ministry of the operation of the Golos (Voice, or Vote) association will not prevent its leaders from registering a new and similar organization; moreover, Golos has recently launched the winding-up procedure, deputy executive director of the association Grigoriy Melkonyants has told RIA Novosti.

Law on foreign agents is not repressive – Naryshkin

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 20, 2013) Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin believes it is important that society should understand that the legislation on NGOs is not restrictive in nature and the state is interested in increasing the number of NGOs and their unimpeded work. “As for NGOs, it is, of course, important that society

Interfax: Russia can liquidate ‘foreign agent’ NGOs but cannot force them to register

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, June 18, 2013) Russian Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov has not ruled out that the register of non-commercial organizations – (serving as) “foreign agents” will never contain a single entry because there is no legal mechanism to forcibly register NGOs as such. “In accordance with the law, there is a chance that the

Unscheduled inspections trigger push to amend NGO law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – June 18, 2013) The Law on Nongovernmental Organizations will be adjusted and its provisions dealing with unscheduled inspections will be amended, the Russian government said on its website citing its resolution of June 17. Article 32 will be amended and it will list the following reasons for ordering unscheduled inspections on nonprofit organizations:

Law on NGOs-foreign agents must be nullified, not elaborated – Memorial head

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 14, 2013) Head of a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) in Russia, the Historical, Enlightenment and Human Rights Society Memorial, Arseny Roginsky, said he did not see any sense in elaborating the law obliging NGOs with foreign financing to register as foreign agents. “It is impossible to elaborate this law. It violates

Kremlin official proposes to amend NGO law

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – June 13, 2013) The law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) acting as foreign agents may be amended, says Ksenia Yudayeva, the chief of the Russian presidential expert directorate. “I think a lot of laws we adopt are later discussed and subjected to an adjustment process,” Yudayeva told journalists at the Civil G20 Summit in

NGOs Find Loophole in ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 13, 2013) Non-governmental organizations in Russia have found a way to bypass the law requiring them to register as “foreign agents,” a news report said Thursday. An official in one NGO told Kommersant that his agency is planning to set up a commercial organization which will officially receive foreign

Russian justice minister seeks wider range of grounds for NGO checks

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, June 11, 2013) Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov has supported the need for a new bill, which is currently being debated, to provide a wider range of grounds permitting inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country. “The bill that broadens the range of grounds for such inspections is in the

Russian rights veterans issue statement in support of ‘foreign agent’ NGOs

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, June 6, 2013) A number of Russian rights activists have stood up for the Golos NGO and other organizations that have been labelled foreign agents, saying that their work should not be labelled political. “Accusations about NGOs taking part in political activities strikes out citizens’ constitutional rights,” reads Rights Council statement released

In Russia, World Environment Day Marred By Pressure On Green Groups

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Lyubov Chizhova and  Claire Bigg – June 5, 2013) On June 5, “green-minded” people around the planet are marking World Environment Day, created in 1972 to raise awareness about the need to protect nature. But in Russia, the mood among ecologists is sour. Russia established its own Ecologist Day, also held

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