Re: Restrictions on Foreign Orgs in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

Subject: Re restrictions on foreign orgs in the U.S. Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:09:46 -0400 From: Thomas M. Callahan <tom.callahan@yandex.com> There has long been an American statute in place regulating the work of organizations working “in the interests” of foreign powers on American soil. However, it is quite short and, anyway, is a single provision compared to Russia’s extensive […]

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Putin Hurts a Think Tank by Not Banning It

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is nothing if not cunning when it comes to dealing with his adversaries. When he signed a law allowing the government to ban any nongovernmental organization deemed “undesirable,” it was clear some foreign NGOs would suffer. What was less obvious — though, in hindsight, inevitable — […]

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U.S. embassy in Moscow concerned about NED’s designation as ‘undesirable organization’ in Russia

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is concerned about the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s decision to designate the U.S. nonprofit organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED) an undesirable foreign organization in Russian territory. “We are deeply concerned about the effect of the so-called law on undesirable organizations,” U.S. embassy spokesperson Will Stevens told Interfax when asked […]

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Russian human rights activists lodge appeals against law on “foreign agent” NGOs

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) A number of Russian human rights advocacy organizations have lodged court appeals against their classification as “foreign agents”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Earlier the Russian Justice Ministry released a statement saying it had sent messages to a number of NGOs working in the human rights sector and included on the […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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Human rights NGOs hope to prove they are not foreign agents after Justice Ministry warning

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) Leading Russian human rights organizations that have received warnings from the Justice Ministry intend to go to court to seek their removal from the register of NGOS classed as foreign agents. “We disagree with being entered on this register. We will go to court,” Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the committee Civil Assistance, told Interfax […]

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NEWSWATCH Deutsche Welle: Russia less-than-charitable toward charities.

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

Deutsche Welle covers governmental threats to charitable activities in Russia, including the saga of Dynasty and “foreign agent” labeling. … A law that calls those who receive funds from outside the country ‘foreign agents,’ an economic downturn that’s seen the market contract by 10 percent with no end in sight … sanctions that have seen the value of the ruble plummet to … anywhere […]

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Russian Senators Propose Ban of 12 Foreign NGOs, Reining In Civil Society

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 9, 2015) In what experts see as Moscow’s latest bid to rein in civil society, Russian senators released a list Wednesday of 12 foreign NGOs whose work they believe poses a threat to national security, and who should thus be declared “undesirable” and prohibited from operating in the country. The Federation […]

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Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights slams law on “foreign agents”

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Interfax – Moscow, July 7, 2015) The Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights insists on the immediate cancellation of the Justice Ministry decision to include Dynasty [Dinastiya] and Liberal Mission foundations in the list of NGOs that are foreign agents and review of the law on NGOs. “Since the first days of the existence of this very approximate and therefore […]

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Beleaguered Russian Science Foundation Dynasty Delays Decision on Closure

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 9, 2015) Beleaguered science organization the Dynasty Foundation, which has been grappling in recent days with whether or not to shut its doors, announced that a decision on the matter will be delayed to provide time to wrap up ongoing projects, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday. Following its inclusion on […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: For fear of ‘foreign agents,’ Kremlin blacklists a Russian charity

St. Basil's Domes

Dynasty, which promotes scientific education, is funded almost entirely by Russian communications tycoon Dmitry Zimin. Because he’s using offshore accounts to do so, he’s run afoul of Kremlin bureaucrats. Critics say it’s time for a rethink.

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Russian Constitutional Court says election monitor not “foreign agent”

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2015) Russia’s Constitutional Court has again stated that a non-governmental organization (NGO) does not have to declare itself as a “foreign agent” if it has not used funds sent to its accounts from foreign sources, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 May. The court made the statement, published on its website, in response to […]

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Russian Rights Activist Alexeyeva Returns to Kremlin Council

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 28, 2015) One of Russia’s best-known human rights advocates and the founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, has rejoined the Kremlin’s human rights council, saying she intended to look into the persecution of nongovernmental organizations under the country’s “foreign agents” law. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday appointing […]

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Rights Groups Condemn ‘Dangerous’ Russian Undesirables Law

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) Rights groups named as potential targets of a new law allowing the government to brand international organizations “undesirable” and shutter their Russia operations have criticized the legislation, calling it a “dangerous” new weapon in a Kremlin campaign to suppress civil society. Activists expressed concern on May 26 that the […]

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Russia agrees to remove some NGOs from its “foreign agents” register

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Interfax – May 25, 2015) Three nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have become the first to be taken off the Russian government’s register of “foreign agents” after changes to the law made their removal possible, Interfax news agency reported on 25 May. In autumn 2014 an NGO in St Petersburg complained that it could not get itself off the register because there […]

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Dmitry Zimin plans to stop financing Dynasty Foundation

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

(Interfax – May 26, 2015) Founder of Russia’s non-profit Dynasty Foundation Dmitry Zimin has announced plans to stop providing money to the organization after it was assigned ‘foreign agent’ status by the Russian authorities. “Certainly, I will not spend my own money acting under the trademark of some unknown foreign state. I will stop funding Dynasty,” Zimin told Interfax on […]

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Persecuted Russian Lawyer Finds New Ways Around Foreign Agents Label

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sergey Chernov – April 29, 2015) The life of St. Petersburg human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. After his American wife was deported as a “threat to national security” in August, the family moved to Prague, but Pavlov returns regularly to lead high-profile cases and manage a group […]

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Civil Assistance NGO defies ‘foreign agent’ status, ready to go to ECHR

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

(Interfax – April 21, 2015) The Civil Assistance human rights organization will appeal the Russian Justice Ministry’s decision to assign it ‘foreign agent’ status. “Naturally, we will lodge an appeal against this decision with the district court,” the organization’s lawyer Kirill Koroteyev has said. “We will also request a suspension of the Justice Ministrys ruling because the filing of a […]

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Putin Urges FSB: Harder, Faster, Stronger

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 27, 2015) Western governments will attempt to discredit and destabilize Russia, but their efforts will be futile, President Vladimir Putin told Russia’s top security officials Thursday. “We have always had and always will have a proper response to all internal and external threats to national security,” Putin told senior officers of the […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New law will allow NGOs to lose ‘foreign agent’ tag – on certain conditions

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 3, 2015) Non-governmental organizations that were forced to register as “foreign agents” under controversial legislation will soon be able to lift that status – but only if they meet certain conditions that some NGOs say are unrealistic. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has taken action to free NGOs from […]

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Interfax: Putin proposes bill on removing NGOs from foreign-agents list

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(Interfax – MOSCOW, Feb 4, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a bill on how to remove nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from the register of foreign agents. The bill has been registered in the lower house’s electronic database. Under the federal laws concerning public associations and NGOs functioning as a foreign agent, public associations which are legal entities and other […]

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Russian NGOs need to rethink their strategy

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(opendemocracy.net – Andrei Jvirblis – December 10, 2014) Russia’s voluntary sector, faced with growing government interference, needs to be more open about its aims and operations if it wants more public support. Opinion polls show a long-term decline in public trust in the Russian voluntary sector, which has become less open about its operations, in fear of media attacks. This […]

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Justice Ministry Adds Moscow School to List of ‘Foreign Agents’

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 11, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has added a Moscow school to the federal register of “foreign agents,” a move that the school’s founders decried as “baseless,” and vowed to fight in court. The Moscow School of Civic Education has become the 18th nongovernmental organization to wind up on the controversial list, which sees nonprofit […]

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‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs Won’t Be Allowed to Monitor Russian Elections

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 8, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has worked out a procedure that would allow non-governmental organizations to remove themselves from the federal register of “foreign agents” if they appeal the move and pass a snap inspection, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The move comes days after President Vladimir Putin conceded that there were […]

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Interfax: Russian Justice Ministry withdraws claims against embattled NGOs

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, November 19, 2014) The Russian Justice Ministry has withdrawn claims against two foreign agent non-commercial organizations over their reports on foreign financing; only the non-commercial organization Soldiers’ Mothers of St Petersburg will be held responsible for not presenting its report, the ministry’s press service has reported. “The Russian Ministry of Justice had notified the Freedom of Information […]

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Interfax: Putin backs proposal to devise procedure for NGOs’ removal from foreign agents register

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(Interfax – November 17, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has backed Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova’s proposal to devise a procedure of removing nongovernmental organizations from the register of foreign agents after their foreign funding ends. Pamfilova told Putin that the Justice Ministry cannot remove NGOs, no longer financed from abroad, from the foreign agents register in the absence of a […]

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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 the minimum penalty for officials […]

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Russia’s Golos Has ‘Foreign Agent’ Status Removed

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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 the Moscow court to review […]

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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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 meeting two criteria that require […]

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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 in loosely defined political activity […]

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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 government’s request, covered dozens of […]

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Putin versus the NGOs

Vladimir Putin file photo

(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 and head of a number […]

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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 decisions confirming that the organizations […]

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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 the regional organization, it has […]

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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

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 provisions of the Federal Law […]

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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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 carries strong, negative associations with […]

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Russian upper house approves tougher “foreign agent” NGO law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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 for inclusion on the register. […]

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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 group Public Verdict Foundation for […]

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

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(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 sources of foreign funding of […]

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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 last year. But the woes […]

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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 Kremlin has argued that the […]

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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 because it says that the […]

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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 said. “The status of foreign […]

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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 hampered by restrictive laws and […]

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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 checks are baseless, he said. […]

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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 country, obliges organizations receiving foreign […]

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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 G20 summit last September, the […]

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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 a lower threshold for qualification […]

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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 center operates in St Petersburg […]

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