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From Human Rights Watch:
JUNE 10, 2016
Russia: Government against Rights Groups
Battle Chronicle

Since June 5, 2014, the Ministry of Justice has designated 131 groups as “foreign agents”. By June 10, 2016, at least 18 groups have shut down. Also, the Ministry has removed its “foreign agent” tag from 11 groups, acknowledging that they had stopped accepting foreign funding. Accordingly, on June 10, 2016, the official list of active “foreign agents” comprised 102 groups. 
 
(Moscow) – In 2012 Russia’s parliament adopted a law that required nongovernmental organizations (NGO)s to register as “foreign agents” with the Ministry of Justice if they engage in “political activity” and receive foreign funding. The definition of “political activity” under the law is so broad and vague that it can extend to all aspects of advocacy and human rights work.

Initially, the law required all respective NGOs to request the Ministry to have them registered and implied legal consequences for failure to do so. Because in Russia “foreign agent” can be interpreted only as “spy” or “traitor,” there is little doubt that the law aims to demonize and marginalize independent advocacy groups. Russia’s vibrant human rights groups resolutely boycotted the law, calling it “unjust” and “slanderous.”

In early March 2013 the Russian government launched a nationwide campaign of intrusive inspections of hundreds of NGOs to identify advocacy groups the government deems “foreign agents” and force them to register as such.

Since the law entered into force, numerous rights groups challenged the prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Justice in courts; most lost their cases. As a result, by February 2015 at least 13 groups chose to shut down rather than wear the shameful “foreign agent” label, including Association of NGOs in Defense of Voters’ Rights “Golos”, JURIX (Lawyers for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms), the Moscow School of Civic Education (Moscow), Kostroma Center for Civic Initiatives Support, Anti-Discrimination Center (ADC) Memorial, Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, Coming Out, “Freedom of Information” Foundation, the League of Women Voters and Human Rights Resource Center (Saint-Petersburg), Center for Social Policy and Gender Studies and Association “Partnership for Development” (Saratov), Interregional Non-Governmental Organization  “The Committee Against Torture” (Nizhniy Novgorod).

In August 2013, Russia’s then-federal ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, acting on behalf of four organizations and their leaders who were affected by the law, challenged the law in Russia’s Constitutional Court. On April 8, 2014 Russia’s Constitutional Court upheld the law, ruling that there were no legal or constitutional grounds for contending that the term “foreign agent” had negative connotations from the Soviet era and that, therefore, its use was “not intended to persecute or discredit” NGOs. The Constitutional Court also found that the “foreign agent” designation was in line with the public interest and the interest of state sovereignty.

On May 23, 2014 parliament amended the “foreign agents” law, this time authorizing the Ministry of Justice to register independent groups as “foreign agents” without their consent, if the ministry regards the organizations as engaged in “political activity” and if the organization is receiving foreign funding. On June 4, 2014 the amendments were signed into law.

On June 5, 2014 the Ministry of Justice promptly registered five groups as “foreign agents,” and since then has registered a total of 130, including prominent civil society groups that vigorously protested this action.

I. By June 2, 2016 the registry of “foreign agents” maintained by the Ministry of Justice included the following groups:
1. Association of NGOs in Defense of Voters’ Rights “Golos” (Moscow) – June 5, 2014 
2. Regional Public Association in Defense of Democratic Rights and Freedoms “Golos” (Moscow) – June 5, 2014
3. Center for Social Policy and Gender Studies (Saratov) – June 5, 2014 (the organization was shut down – May 22, 2015)
4. Women of Don (Rostov region) – June 5, 2014 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – February 29, 2016)
5. Kostroma Center for Support of Public Initiatives (Kostroma) – June 5, 2014 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – June 19, 2015)
6. Interregional Human Rights Association “Agora” (Kazan) – July 21, 2014
7. Regional public organization “Ecozaschita! – Womens’ Council” (Kaliningrad) – July  21, 2014
8. Public Verdict Foundation (Moscow) – July 21, 2014
9. Human Rights Center “Memorial” (Moscow) – July 21, 2014
10. Lawyers for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms / JURIX (Moscow) – July 21, 2014 (the organization was shut down – May 26, 2015)
11. Soldiers’ Mothers (Saint Petersburg) – August 28, 2014 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – October 23, 2015)
12. Freedom of Information Foundation / Institute for Information Freedom Development – August 28, 2014
13. PIR Center – September 3, 2014 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – February 24, 2016)
14. Association “Partnership for Development” (Saratov) – October 2, 2014 (the organization was shut down – November 6, 2015)
15. “News Agency MEMO.RU” (Moscow) – November 20, 2014
16. Regional Press Institute (St. Petersburg) – November 20, 2014
17. Moscow School of Civic Education – December 9, 2014
18. Rakurs, Arkhangelsk regional non-governmental LGBT organization – December 15, 2014
19. All-Russian movement “For Human Rights” – December 22, 2014 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – December 30, 2015)
20. Human Rights Center (Kaliningrad) – December 25, 2014
21. Krasnodar Regional Social Organization of University Alumni – December 25, 2014
22. Regional social organization “Public Commission for Academic Sakharov’s Heritage Preservation” – December 25, 2014
23. Resource Human Rights Center (St. Petersburg) – December 30, 2014 (the organization was shut down – November 3, 2015)
24. Regional Public Organization “Man and the Law” (Republic of Mari El) – December 30, 2014
25. Center for Social Development “Vozrozhdeniye” (Pskov) – December 30, 2014
26. Public Human Rights Organization “Civil Control” (St. Petersburg) – December 30, 2014
27. The League of Women Voters (St. Petersburg) – December 30, 2014 (the organization was shut down – May 22, 2015)
28. Free Press Support Foundation – December 30, 2014
29. Interregional Non-Governmental Organization “The Committee Against Torture” – January 16, 2015
30. Educational Center “Memorial” (Sverdlov region) – January 16, 2015
31. Autonomous non-profit human rights organization “Youth Center for Consulting and Training” – January 20, 2015 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – July 22, 2015)
32. “Information Bureau of the Nordic Council of Ministers in St. Petersburg” – January 20, 2015 
33. Jewish regional branch of the Russian public organization “Municipal Academy”– January 26, 2015 (the organization was shut down – May 22, 2015)
34. The noncommercial partnership “Press Development Institute – Siberia” – January 30, 2015
35. Center for social, psychological and legal help to victims of discrimination and homophobia “Maximum” (Murmansk) – February 4, 2015 (the organization was shut down – October 28, 2015)
36. Interregional public fund for civil society development “Golos-Povolzhye” (Samara) – February 6, 2015
37. Interregional charity organization “Siberian Environmental Center” (Novosibirsk) – February 12, 2015
38. Center for Civic Analysis and Independent Research / GRANI (Perm) – February 13, 2015 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – June 19, 2015)
39. Municipal public organization “Samara Center for Gender Studies” (Samara) – February 16, 2015
40. Regional Fund “Center for Defense of Mass Media Rights” (Voronezh) – February 26, 2015
41. Regional Charitable Social Foundation “For nature” (Chelyabinsk) – March 6, 2015
42. Regional Ecological Social Movement “For nature” (Chelyabinsk) –  March 6, 2015
43. Humanist Youth Movement (Murmansk) – March 13, 2015 (the organization was shut down – August 25, 2015)
44. Regional Social Organization for Contribution to Harmonization of Interethnic Relations “Azerbaijan” – March 13, 2015
45. Regional Social Environmental Organization “Bellona-Murmansk” – March 19, 2015 (the organization was shut down – October 16, 2015)
46. “Educational Center for Environment and Security” (Samara) – March 20, 2015 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – October 8, 2015)
47. Foundation “Migration XXI Century” – March 27, 2015
48. Eco-logika (Rostov) – April 3, 2015 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – March 30, 2016)
49. Transparency International Russia – April 7, 2015
50. Social Environmental Organization “Planeta Nadezhd” – April 15, 2015
51. Foundation for Consumers’ Rights Defense (Novosibirsk) – April 17, 2015 (the organization was shut down – May 12, 2016)
52. Civil Assistance Committee – April 20, 2015
53. Foundation 19/29 –  Foundation for Support of Investigative Journalism – April 24, 2015 
54. Commemorative Centre of History of Political Repressions “Perm – 36” –  April 29, 2015
55. Women’s League (Kaliningrad ) – April 29, 2015 (the organization was shut down – December 16, 2015)
56. Legal Expert Partnership “Soyuz ” – May 7, 2015 (the organization was shut down – 25 August 2015)
57. Center for Development of Non-Commerical Organizations – May 13, 2015
58. Club of Accountants and Auditors of Non-Commercial Organizations – May 13, 2015 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – March 30, 2016)
59. Informational Bureau of the Council of Ministers of Northern Countries (Kaliningrad) – May 13, 2015
60. Sutyajnik (Yekaterinburg) – May 15, 2015
61. Human Rights Academy (Yekaterinburg) – May 15, 2015
62. Ecological Center “Dront” (Nizhny Novgorod) – May 22, 2015
63. The non-profit organization “Liberal Mission” Scientific Foundation of Theoretical and Applied Research – May 25, 2015 (“foreign agent” status was suspended – September 11, 2015)
64. The non-profit Dynasty Foundation – May 25, 2015
65. Union of Employers (Tula region) – May 28, 2015
66. Youth organization “Nuori Karjala/Young Karelia” – June 19, 2015 (the organization was shut down – March 25, 2016)
67. Siberian Center for Support of Social Initiatives – June 19, 2015
68. Interregional Social Foundation for Peace in the South and in the Northern Caucasus – June 19, 2015
69. Informational Center “Free Inform” – June 22, 2015
70. Center for Independent Sociological Studies (St. Petersburg) – June 22, 2015
71. Regional Organization for Population and Development  – June 23, 2015
72. Geblerov Ecological Societ (Barnaul) – June 23, 2015 
73. Association “Legal Basis” (Yekaterinburg) – July 3, 2015
74. Interregional Non-governmental Organization “Northern Environmental Coalition” (Petrozavodsk) – July 8, 2015 (the organization was shut down – December 1, 2015)
75. Komi Human Rights Commission “Memorial” (Syktyvkar) – July 21, 2015
76. Altai Regional Public Fund for 21st Century Altai (Barnaul) – July 22, 2015 (the organization was shut down – March 28, 2016)
77. Interregional Public Foundation for Civil Society Development “GOLOS-Ural” (Chelyabinsk region) – July 22, 2015
78. SREDA Foundation – July 28, 2015
79. Non-governmental environmental organization “Green World” (Nizhny Novgorod) – July 29, 2015
80. Civic Action Foundation (Perm) – August 5, 2015
81. Alliance of Funds of Local Communities of the Perm territory – August 11, 2015
82. Kabardino-Balkaria Human Rights Center – regional branch of the “For Human Rights” All-Russian movement (Nalchik) – August 18, 2015 (the organization was shut down – November 6, 2015)
83. The Human Rights Center of the Chechen Republic (Grozny) – August 21, 2015
84. Interregional Social Ecological Foundation “ISAR-Siberia” (Novosibirsk) – August 26, 2015
85. Perm Regional Human Rights Center (Perm) – September 3, 2015
86. Siberia’s lifeline (Novosibirsk) – September 3, 2015
87. Golos Foundation in Support of Democracy – September 4, 2015
88. Jewish Cultural Center “Hesed-Teshuva” (Ryazan) – September 4, 2015
89. Sakhalin Environment Watch (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk) – September 18, 2015
90. Yasavey Manzara Information and Research Center (Naryan-Mar) – September 23, 2015
91. Consumer Rights and Environment Protection Association “Princip” (Moscow region) – October 5, 2015
92. Far East Center for the Development of Civil Initiatives and Social Partnership (Vladivostok)– October 13, 2015
93. Russian Research Center for Human Rights – October 20, 2015
94. Women of the Don (Rostov region) – October 27, 2015
95. Friends of the Siberian Forests (Krasnoyarsk) – October 28, 2015
96. Photography Club “Sobytiye” (Omsk) – October 28, 2015 (the organization was shut down – December 16, 2015)
97. Research and Information Center “Memorial” (St. Petersburg) – November 6, 2015
98. Baikal Environmental Wave (Irkutsk) – November 10, 2015
99. Glasnost Defense Foundation – November 19, 2015
100. Human Rights Institute – November 20, 2015
101. Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North – November 27, 2015
102. Green World (Leningrad region) – December 2, 2015
103. Mashr (Republic of Ingushetia) – December 8, 2015
104. Woman’s World (Kaliningrad) – December 11, 2015
105. Panorama Information and Research Center (Moscow) – December 18, 2015
106. Dauria Ecological Center (Chita) – December 30, 2015
107. Yekaterinburg Memorial Society (Yekaterinburg) – December 30, 2015
108. Bureau of Public Investigations (Nizhny Novgorod) – January 14, 2016
109. Committee for the Prevention of Torture (Orenburg) – January 14, 2016
110. Institute of Forecasting and Resolving of Political Conflicts (Nizhny Novgorod) – January 22, 2016
111. Ryazan Historical, Educational and Human Rights Center “Memorial” (Ryazan) – February 1, 2016
112. Society of Assistance to Social Protection of Citizens “Peterburgskaya EGIDA” (Saint Petersburg) – February 2, 2016 (the organization was shut down – April 26, 2016)
113. Center for Health and Social Support “SIBALT”  (Omsk) – February 15, 2016
114. Chelyabinsk Regional Organ of Public Independent Action “Ural Human Rights Group” (Chelyabinsk) – February 15, 2016
115. Women of Eurasia (Chelyabinsk) – February 15, 2016
116. Ural Democratic Foundation (Chelyabinsk) – February 15, 2016
117. Legal and Social Support Charitable Foundation “Sphere” (Saint Petersburg) –  March 1, 2016
118. Centre for Civic Education and Human Rights (Perm) – March 3, 2016
119. The International Development Fund for Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation “Batani” (Moscow) – March 11, 2016
120. Center for Social and Labor Rights  (Moscow) – March 21, 2016
121. Arkhar (Gorno-Altaysk) – April 5, 2016
122. Publishing House “Valentin Manuylov” – April 15, 2016
123. Tengri School of Soul ecology (Altay) – May 17, 2016
124. Hanse Buero / Information Bureau of Schleswig-Holstein in Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad) – May 24, 2016
125. Krasnoyarsk Regional Public Organization «Agency of public initiatives» (Krasnoyarsk) – May 27, 2016
126. Saratov Regional Public Organization “Socium” (Engels) – May 30, 2016
127. Perm regional non-governmental organization “Perm Civil Chamber” (Perm) – June 9, 2016
   
And the four NGOs which registered voluntarily:

1. Non-commercial Partnership “Supporting Competition in the CIS Countries” – June 27, 2013 
2. “The Union of Young Political Scientists”,  Karachay–Cherkess Republican Youth Social Organization – December 15, 2014
3. Regional Social Movement “Novgorod Women’s Parliament” (Veliky Novgorod) –  March 6, 2015
4. Center of Independent Researchers of the Altai Republic –  June 10, 2015

II. Administrative Court Cases – at least 58 NGOs

Groups that a court has found responsible for failing to register as a “foreign agent” may be fined up to 500,000 rubles (over US$ 16,000), and their leaders personally – up to 300,000 rubles (approximately $10,000). They are:
1. Association of NGOs in Defense of Voters’ Rights “Golos” (Moscow) – NGO lost the suit
2. Kostroma Center for Support of Public Initiatives (Kostroma) – NGO lost the suit
3. Anti-Discrimination Center “Memorial” (St. Petersburg) – NGO won two administrative cases,  but later lost a similar civil suit to the prosecutor’s office and chose to shut down
4. Coming Out (St. Petersburg) – NGO won the administrative case but later lost a similar civil suit to the prosecutor’s office
5. Side by Side LGBT Film Festival (St. Petersburg) – NGO  won the suit
6. Regional Public Association in Defense of Democratic Rights and Freedoms “Golos” (Moscow) –  NGO lost the suit
7. Center for Civic Analysis and Independent Research / GRANI (Perm) – NGO won the suit
8. Perm Civic Chamber (Perm) – NGO won the suit
9. Perm Regional Human Rights Center (Perm) – NGO  won the suit
10. Women of Don (Rostov region) – NGO lost the suit
11. Ecozachita! – Zhensovet (Kaliningrad) – NGO  lost the suit
12. Association “Partnership for Development” (Saratov) – NGO  lost the suit
13. News Agency “MEMO.RU” (Moscow) – NGO lost the suit
14. Regional Press Institute (St. Petersburg) – NGO lost the suit
15. Moscow School of Civic Education – NGO lost the suit
16. All-Russian movement “For Human Rights” – NGO lost the suit
17. Regional Public Organization “Man and the Law” (Republic of Mari El) – NGO lost the suit
18. Human Rights Center (Kaliningrad) – NGO won the suit
19. Krasnodar Regional Social Organization of University Alumni – the proceedings was discontinued
20. Regional social organization “Public Commission for Academic Sakharov’s Heritage Preservation” – NGO lost the suit
21. Autonomous non-profit human rights organization “Youth Center for Consulting and Training” (Volgograd) – NGO lost the suit
22. Rakurs, Arkhangelsk regional non-governmental LGBT organization – NGO lost the suit
23. Center for social, psychological and legal help to victims of discrimination and homophobia “Maximum” (Murmansk) – NGO lost the suit
24. Educational Center “Memorial” (Sverdlov region) – NGO lost the suit, court of appeal decreased the amount of fine
25. Interregional public fund for civil society development “Golos-Povolzhye” (Samara) – NGO lost the suit
26. Citizens’ Watch (St. Petersburg) – NGO lost the suit
27. The noncommercial partnership “Press Development Institute – Siberia” – NGO won the suit
28. Regional Fund “Center for Defense of Mass Media Rights” – NGO lost the suit
29. Regional Social Organization for Contribution to Harmonization of Interethnic Relations “Azerbaijan” – NGO lost the suit
30. Regional Charitable Social Foundation “For nature” (Chelyabinsk) – NGO lost the suit
31. Regional Ecological Social Movement “For nature” (Chelyabinsk) – NGO won the suit
32. Eco-logika (Rostov) – NGO lost the suit
33. Regional Social Environmental Organization “Bellona-Murmansk” – NGO lost the suit
34. Foundation “Migration XXI Century” – NGO lost the suit
35. Interregional charity organization “Siberian Environmental Center” (Novosibirsk) – NGO lost the suit, court of appeal decreased the amount of fine
36. The non-profit organization “Liberal Mission” Scientific Foundation of Theoretical and Applied Research – NGO lost the suit
37. Center for Development of Non-Commerical Organizations – NGO lost the suit
38. The non-profit Dynasty Foundation – NGO lost the suit
39. Foundation 19/29 –  Foundation for Support of Investigative Journalism – NGO lost the suit
40. Association “Legal Basis” (Yekaterinburg) – NGO lost the suit
41. Ecological Center “Dront” (Nizhny Novgorod) – NGO lost the suit
42. Regional Organization for Population and Development – NGO lost the suit
43. Center for Independent Sociological Studies (St. Petersburg) – NGO lost the suit
44. Human Rights Center “Memorial” – NGO lost the suit
45. Transparency International Russia – NGO lost the suit
46. Interregional Non-Governmental Organization “Committee Against Torture” – NGO lost the suit
47. Geblerov Ecological Societ (Barnaul) – NGO won the suit
48. Civic Action Foundation (Perm) – NGO lost the suit
49. Interregional Social Ecological Foundation “ISAR-Siberia” (Novosibirsk) – NGO lost the suit
50. Sakhalin Environment Watch (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk) – NGO lost the suit and is appealing the ruling
51. Club of Accountants and Auditors of Non-Commercial Organizations – NGO lost the suit
52. Women’s League (Kaliningrad) – NGO won the suit
53. Russian Research Center for Human Rights – NGO lost the suit
54. Interregional Public Foundation for Civil Society Development “GOLOS-Ural” (Chelyabinsk region) – NGO lost the suit
55. Human Rights Institute – NGO lost the suit
56. Interregional Human Rights Association “Agora” – NGO lost the suit
57. Glasnost Defense Foundation – suit pending
58. Baikal Environmental Wave (Irkutsk) – suit pending

III. The leaders of at least 8 NGOs faced administrative charges personally:

1. Anti-Discrimination Center “Memorial” (St. Petersburg) – NGO won the suit but the organization chose two shut down when it lost a “foreign agent” civil suit to the prosecutor’s office
2. Side by Side LGBT Film Festival (St. Petersburg) – NGO won the suit
3. Coming Out (St. Petersburg) – NGO won the suit
4. Association “Partnership for Development” – NGO lost the suit
5. Kostroma Center for Support of Public Initiatives (Kostroma) – NGO lost the suit
6. Association of NGOs in Defense of Voters’ Rights “Golos” (Moscow) – NGO won the suit
7. Autonomous non-profit human rights organization “Youth Center for Consulting and Training” (Volgograd) – NGO lost the suit
8. Baikal Environmental Wave (Irkutsk) – suit pending
Region / Country Europe/Central Asia Russia” CC-BY-NC-ND: https://www.hrw.org/russia-government-against-rights-groups-battle-chronicle http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/