Tag Archive for NGO’s

Russia Civil Society will Grow like ‘Blade of Grass through Concrete,’ Gontmakher Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 13, 2015) Yevgeny Gontmakher, a prominent Moscow economist and commentator, has invoked one of the most powerful images available about the ways in which the human spirit can overcome ever the harshest and most repressive regimes: “like a blade of grass breaking through concrete.” As anyone

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

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

‘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

Russia Fails to Make Headway in Global Corruption Ranking

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko- December 4, 2014) Russia slipped three places to rank a dismal 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s annual latest corruption survey, unveiled Wednesday. This is evidence that the Kremlin’s anti-graft crusade declared three years ago has not worked, the watchdog’s deputy chairperson Yelena Panfilova said in

Don’t speak, memory: Voice against Stalin’s crimes may soon be silenced

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – November 21, 2014) Russia’s supreme court is preparing to examine the lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Justice requesting to liquidate Memorial, Russia’s first organization dedicated to preserving the memory of Stalin’s repressions and victims. RBTH reports on who else is telling

Interfax: Russian Justice Ministry withdraws claims against embattled NGOs

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(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

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

RE: DJ: RIA Novosti is dead. Valdai Discussion Club?

Valdai Club Gathering at Long Tables in Large Hall

Subject: RE: DJ: RIA Novosti is dead. Valdai Discussion Club? Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 From: Alexei Ilyichev <a.ilyichev@valdaiclub.com> Dear Mr. Johnson, Valdai Discussion Club is now absolutely independent non-profit organization with no connection to RIA Novosti and its successor Sputnik. So please don’t worry about its fate. Best regards, Alexei Ilyichev Editor www.valdaiclub.com The

List of ‘foreign agents’ grows thanks to Justice Ministry

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galiya Ibragimova, RBTH – October 21, 2014) Since Russia’s Justice Ministry received the right to declare organizations “foreign agents” without their consent, the number of NGOs on the list has grown substantially In the two years since the passage of Russia’s controversial law on NGOs in July 2012,

Five Important Things That Memorial’s Done (And Is Still Doing) For Russia

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – October 13, 2014 – Daisy Sindelar) Russia’s Justice Ministry has asked the country’s Supreme Court to liquidate Memorial, the country’s oldest and best-known human rights organization, which groups together more than 50 bodies nationwide. Founded in 1989 under the auspices of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, Memorial has led efforts to uncover

Justice Ministry Moves to Liquidate Renowned Human Rights Group Memorial

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – October 13, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has filed a claim with the Supreme Court seeking the liquidation of the Russian Memorial Society, an independent human rights group. Critics say the move exemplifies the Kremlin’s ongoing stifling of non-governmental organizations. The Russian Memorial Society, which was nominated for

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

Oldest Russian NGO facing financial troubles – head

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, September 28, 2014) The oldest Russian noncommercial organization [the usual Russian phrase for what is referred to elsewhere as NGOs], the Moscow Helsinki Group, had to scrap the majority of its human rights projects due to a shortage of funds, Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alekseyeva told Interfax on Monday [28 September].

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

Most Russians Don’t Know a Single NGO

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 15, 2014) Most Russians cannot name a single nongovernmental organization, though public support for NGOs in Russia has greatly increased over the past decade, a recent poll shows. More than half of the people questioned by state-run pollster VTsIOM – 59 percent – could not provide

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

Interfax: Rasmussen’s claim Moscow funds “anti-fracking” environmentalists absurd – Greenpeace

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) – Greenpeace has rejected a claim made by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that Russia funds European environmentalists opposing shale gas production in Europe. “Greenpeace sees this suggestion as absurd because the Organization and many other environmental groups are calling for fracking which used in exploiting shale formations, to be

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

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

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

Building bridges in Russian civil society

File Photo of Russian Volunteer Effort, With Group of People Outdoors with Boxes

(opendemocracy.net – Louise Hallman – April 21, 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. Direct aid givers, civic activists, and political activists spend as much time arguing amongst themselves

Russian civil society is a 25-year-old work in progress

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

(opendemocracy.net – Sarah Lindemann-Komarova – April 21, 2014) A summary of the results of the recent Salzburg Global Seminar ‘Russian Civil Society Symposium: Building Bridges to the Future’ is simple: no easy answers, more questions. But that does not mean it was a failure. [Chart here http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/sarah-lindemannkomarova/russian-civil-society-is-25yearold-work-in-progress] A summary of the results of the recent

U.S. Education NGO American Councils Ordered to Cease Operations

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – April 11, 2014) The Justice Ministry has ordered the Russian branch of American Councils, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that administers student exchanges and other educational programs, to cease its operations indefinitely, in what appears to be part of an ongoing crackdown on NGOs funded by the U.S.

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

RIA Novosti: Russia Won’t Let NGOs Be Used for Destructive Ends as in Ukraine – Putin

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MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday the country will not allow the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be used toward destructive ends as has recently happened in Ukraine. “Modern Russian legislation creates all of the conditions for the transparent and free activity of non-governmental social organizations, but we

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

Interfax: Russian NGOs have many issues with transparency – Transparency International

Map of Russia

(Interfax – February 11, 2014) The Russian branch of Transparency International has started studying the transparency of Russian non-governmental organizations (NGO) receiving EU grants, head of Transparency International office in Russia, Yelena Panfilova, said. “Due to the fact that Russia has many organizations receiving not just Russian budget funds but also EU budget funds, which

Russian academics protest Kennan closure

Woodrow Wilson Center Facade file photo

(Interfax – February 11, 2014) The Russian academic community reacted with shock and alarm to the recent decision by the Washington, D.C.-based Woodrow Wilson Center to shut down the Moscow office of the Kennan Institute. The oldest of the Wilson Center’s programs, the Kennan Institute brings together “scholars and governmental specialists to discuss political, social,

Interfax: Russia oldest rights group cuts staff, salaries – veteran activist

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – February 10, 2014) Russia’s oldest human rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, has been forced to cut its staff size by several times due to the notorious law on NGOs, Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax reported on 10 February, quoting the veteran rights champion, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, who heads the organization. “In connection with

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

A Quarter Century Of Rights Activism: Memorial Turns 25

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Kristina Gorelik and Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – January 29, 2014) Memorial, one of Russia’s most venerable human rights and history organizations, is 25 years old. Memorial began as a group of Soviet-era dissidents, including Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov, that formed during Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika in the late 1980s. It came

Media Watchdog Calls For Release of Opposition Journalists

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 3, 2014) Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has urged Russia to free opposition journalists locked up in the country’s jails, expressing concern that lesser-known cases would be forgotten after the recent release of high-profile prisoners. “The release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot and Greenpeace activists must not divert attention

Seven Greenpeace Activists Allowed to Leave Russia

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – December 26, 2013) As the last Greenpeace activist detained in the Arctic 30 protest   received notification Thursday that he was cleared of all charges under a recently passed amnesty, several other international activists who’d already been granted amnesty received permission to leave Russia. The news marks the

Public Chamber Report Says Russians Don’t Want More Human Rights NGOs

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 23, 2013) Russians would like to see nongovernmental organizations provide more help for socially vulnerable groups but aren’t interested in an increase in human rights advocacy, the Public Chamber said in a report. Russia has roughly 100,000 registered “socially oriented NGOs,” but only 5 percent of them are “really

Interfax: MHG head sees Khodorkovsky as spiritual leader, compares him with Gandhi, Sakharov and Havel

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

Moscow, December 20, Interfax – Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, will become a spiritual leader for Russia’s civil society, the country’s veteran human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva told Interfax on Friday. “I am convinced that Mikhail Borisovich [Khodorkovsky] is well-equipped to play the role of a

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

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with representatives of Russia’s human rights community

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(Kremlin.ru – December 10, 2013) Vladimir Putin met with Russian human rights activists, representatives of several non-governmental and non-profit human rights organisations, as well as the human rights commissioners from Russia’s federal districts. The meeting took place on Human Rights Day, which is celebrated on December 10. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues,

RIA Novosti: Putin Cautiously Urges Civil Society Role in Decision-Making

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MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that civil society should be more actively engaged in decision-making by government and parliament, but that NGOs should not be motivated by politically biased positions. All bills should be submitted to public review before reaching the State Duma, the lower house of parliament,

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

RIA Novosti: Human Rights Groups Critical of Kremlin Win State Funding

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) ­ State grants worth 200 million rubles ($6 million) allotted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for human rights initiatives have been distributed among 124 projects, including some organizations critical of the Kremlin. In early September, Putin ordered the Civil Dignity movement to hold a grant competition for socially important initiatives

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