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August 21, 2018

Civil Society Under Attack. Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation since January 2015


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There is a new report "Civil Society Under Attack. Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation since January 2015, by Olga Gnezdilova, Article20.org

OVER ONE HUNDRED OF RUSSIA’S NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS are today officially classified as active “foreign agent” NGOs.

This disparaging epithet and the accompanying restrictions were imposed because, according to the July 2012 law, they receive foreign funding and engage in “political activities”. The persecution of NGOs is the latest phase of a wider attempt to roll-back more than two decades of recent Russian history.

Voluntary registration as a “foreign agent” was resolutely ignored, by Russia’s NGOs, to begin with. Not until mid-2013 did the first organisation comply. Thereafter registration was enforced by the Ministry of Justice and in 2015 the number of NGOs classified as “foreign agents” increased dramatically. That year restrictions were also imposed on the operation within Russia of “undesirable organisations”, foreign funders and bodies supporting local NGOs.

As of 22 September 2016 more than twenty of the 144 “foreign agent” NGOs named by the Ministry of Justice over the past three years have ceased to exist as organisations. A further 16 were listed as no longer fulfilling the “obligations of a foreign agent”. Whatever their current status all 144 NGOs were still recorded on the Register.

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