A billion dollars not subject to disclosure

29 May 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
The General Prosecutor’s Office has refused to disclose information about NGOs which have allegedly received more than 28 billion roubles from abroad between November 2012 and March 2013.

In an April 2013 interview with German ARD television and radio, President Vladimir Putin stated that 654 NGOs operating in Russia had received 28 billion 300 million roubles from foreign sources. According to him, almost a billion roubles were transferred through diplomatic representatives, and all recipients of these funds are organisations involved in political activities. A week later, the Prosecutor’s Office publicly confirmed the amount of transferred funds, stating that these operations are ‘corroborated through documentation’. 

The statement by the head of state has provoked mixed reactions among representatives of the Russian third sector. Representatives of 58 organisations appealed to the President to disclose information about which organisations and for what purpose received the funds. In turn, the Director General of Transparency International, Elena Paniflova, sent the same request to the General Prosecutor’s Office. 

In an official response, the General Prosecutor’s Office refused to disclose this information, pointing out the absence of such a requirement in Russian legislation. The representative of the Supervisory Department points out that NGOs are required to provide the Ministry with and publish their own activity reports containing information about sources of finance. The public has the right to information about sources of funding for organisations operating in Russia, especially where such large amounts are concerned.