Russian rights activists, U.S. secretary of state did not discuss Magnitsky bill, Bolotnaya case

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Separte Podiums, Kerry with a Visible Earpiece; Adapted from Photo at state.gov

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 8, 2013) Russian human rights activists did not discuss the work of NGOs in their meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Moscow Helsinki Group Chairman Lyudmila Alekseyeva told reporters on Wednesday.

“We discussed the persecution of NGOs. Kerry was impressed by our story. We did not discuss financing,” Alekseyeva said.

“We did not discuss the Bolotnaya case or the Magnitsky bill,” Alekseyeva said.

Lev Ponomaryov left Spaso House, where the meeting had taken place, together with Alekseyeva.

In the meantime, Tatyana Lokshina, deputy head of the Moscow office of the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch, told Interfax the meeting with Kerry had addressed a whole range of issues relating to NGOs and civil society in Russia.

“The meeting addressed the situation with the work of civil organizations and civil activists in Russia, and also the law on foreign agents and the new definition of high treason. John Kerry, in turn, expressed concerns about this situation,” she said.

The meeting also addressed foreign financing of NGOs in Russia, but “not in the context of receipt of foreign assistance, but in the context of the fact that many NGOs refused such assistance after the adoption of the law on foreign agents,” she said.

Lokshina said some human rights activists mentioned “the Bolotnaya case” and the “Magnitsky bill” during the meeting with Kerry.

“The Magnitsky bill was mentioned by one participant, but the issue was not discussed. The Bolotnaya case was called a very politicized case aimed at making young people think about whether or not they should take part in protests,” she said.