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Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kostroma identifies NGO as “foreign agent” for holding roundtable with political advisor from US Embassy

16 April 2013

Source: (info)
A real theatre of the absurd: Agora Human Rights Association, citing Nikolai Sorokin, chair of the board of the non-profit organisation Kostroma Civic Initiatives Support Centre, reports that legal proceedings have been instituted in Kostroma against the Centre and its executive director, Aleksandr Zamaryanov. Agora will be representing the NGO. Zamaryanov and the Centre are suspected of violating the rules governing an NGO that is acting as a foreign agent (Article 19.34 of the Code on Administrative Offences). The relevant prosecutorial decision has been forwarded to the city’s district 1 magistrates court. Aleksandr Zamaryanov faces a fine of up to 300,000 roubles, and the Centre a fine of up to 500,000 roubles. 

The main cause of the complaint made against the Kostroma Civic Initiatives Support Centre by the Kostroma Public Prosecutor's Office, senior justice advisor Vladimir Smirnov, was the roundtable “Restarting the restart: Where are Russian-American relations headed?” organised and conducted by Nikolai Sorokin on 28th February 2013. The Kostroma Public Prosecutor's Office, in its decision to start legal proceedings regarding an administrative offence, writes that at this event the issues discussed “included the issue of international relations between the Russian Federation and the United States of America” and “Howard Solomon, deputy Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the US embassy in Moscow, spoke on the issue of the political direction of the Russian Federation, the political direction of the United States of America, and the relations between these governments.” 

“The mission of the Centre as set out in its founding documents, and also its actual activity, is evidence of its role in forming public opinion about government policy on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the Kostroma Public Prosecutor concludes.

At the same time, Public Prosecutor Smirnov points out that the Centre has “systematically received financing from foreign sources, including from the United States of America” in the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“As stated above, the activities of the Centre are evidence of the fact that it receives financing from foreign sources with the aim of conducting political activity, that is, the NGO Kostroma Civic Initiatives Support Centre is a foreign agent,” the Kostroma Public Prosecutor concludes.