NGOs will not turn down foreign funding

8 February 2013

Source: (info)
Russian NGOs who have submitted an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding the law on "foreign agents," will not renounce foreign sources of funding. This was announced by representatives of the organisations at a press conference on 7 February.

Oleg Orlov, a member of the council of the International Memorial Society, said that NGOs "saw nothing wrong, dangerous or damaging to their reputations in receiving money from abroad in accordance with Russian laws."

According to the Executive Director of the Golos Association Lilia Shibanova, it is not profitable for Russian business to finance NGOs, since the legal conditions for this are not in place. "We only have one grant, and it is presidential. I stress, not a grant from the Public Chamber, as it is commonly called, but the president," she said.

And co-chair of Ekozashchita Vladimir Slivyak explained that environmental organisations have problems finding funding from Russian sources, which is why they have to go to foreign charity foundations if they want to operate normally, writes

Lawyer for Memorial Furkhad Tishayev said that the NGOs had requested that the appeal to the ECtHR be considered as a matter of priority. He explained that the authors of the appeal are hoping that the Strasbourg court will conclude that there is a systemic problem and will force Russia to resolve it in accordance with Article 46 of the Convention on Human Rights ("Binding force and execution of judgments"). This would mean the authorities would be forced either to significantly alter or completely abolish the controversial law.

The NGOs' representatives have called their actions "preventive." The concept of potential victims was used in the appeal to the ECtHR. Shibanova says that "that is how we are responding to this aggressive policy that has been launched against NGOs."

"If for whatever reason the ECtHR refuses to consider our appeal, we will go down the Russian chain of command, but I have no doubt this road will lead us back to Strasbourg," Orlov concluded.

Eleven NGOs, including Golos, Citizens' Watch, Citizens' Assistance, For Human Rights, the Committee Against Torture, Mashr, Memorial, the Memorial Human Rights Centre, the Moscow Helsinki Group, Ekozashchita and Public Verdict, appealed to the ECtHR on 6 February. The organisations believe that the term "foreign agent" is a gross violation of their rights