Not everyone is cut out to be a foreign agent...

22 January 2013 

Source: (info
The Russian Ministry of Justice has refused to include the Chuvashia human rights organisation Shield and Sword in the register of NGO "foreign agents." Chair of the organisation Aleksei Glukhov was informed of this decision today at the Department for NGOs of the Russian Justice Ministry. 

The Justice Ministry, however, declined to explain the reasons behind the refusal to include the organisation in the register, saying only that a detailed written response had been sent out by post the day before, reports the Agora Human Rights Association, who is a partner organisation of Shield and Sword and represents its interests. 

The Department for NGOs also said that the information about the refusal could appear on the department's website in the near future. 

Shield and Sword was the first NGO in Russia to voluntarily apply to join the register of "foreign agents." The relevant documents were sent to the Justice Ministry by the organisation's chairman Aleksei Glukhov in December 2012. 

"Of course we aren't, nor do we consider ourselves to be, foreign agents," Aleksei Glukhov said at the time. "We are only acting in the interests of the residents of Chuvashia. However, after this ridiculous law was adopted thousands of Russian NGOs suddenly found the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Since the law contains such vague wording, organisations don't know or understand how to comply with it. The law on NGOs acting as foreign agents is not formulated in a comprehensible manner. The only solution is to join the register in order to find out how it works from within, to make it possible to appeal decisions made under this law and to initiate judicial proceedings, including at the Constitutional Court of Russia. With these actions we hope to create a precedent for the protection of other NGOs who are working for the benefit of the people of Russia." 

On 30 June 2012 a group of United Russia deputies submitted a draft law to the State Duma on including Russian non-commercial organisations who receive funding from abroad and who are engaged in political activities in a separate register of NGOs acting as foreign agents. 

On 13 July 2012 the State Duma adopted this law: 374 deputies voted in favour of it, 3 voted against and 1 abstained. On 18 July the law was ratified by the Federation Council (141 senators voted in favour, 1 voted against and 1 abstained). On 21 July the Russian President signed it into law. 

On 21 November 2012 the law on NGOs acting as "foreign agents" came into force. 

The application by the Shield and Sword human rights organisation to be included in the register of NGOs acting as foreign agents can be read here: 

Source: Open Inform News Agency