Logic Behind the Register of Agents

4 December 2012 

Source: HRO.org (info)
According to Kasparov.ru, citing Kommersant, the Ministry of Justice has published regulations on the maintenance of the Register of NGOs – “international agents”. The final version of the regulations does not provide for withdrawal from the Register of NGOs. According to some human rights defenders, this will lead to a situation whereby certain NGOs will be labelled “international agents” permanently.

“You can only leave the Register with your feet first. Logically, it is a list for the firing squad. Organisations will be driven into the Register, but they will only be able to leave it after their death”, said Pavel Chikov, director of Agora, commenting on the final version of the document.

He said that Agora will appeal to the courts against refusals to exclude organisations’ names from the Register, because this is “a clear case of noncompliance with the legislation”.

Daria Miloslavskaya, a member of the Public Chamber, also thinks that the absence of the possibility to remove an organisation from the Register is a negative factor. However, she mentions one positive change in the new version of the legislation by the Ministry of Justice.

“According to the draft version, the Register was to be compiled on the basis of information provided by state authorities and local self-government. We found this disturbing. This has now been removed, all that has been left is that the information must be provided by NGOs”, she points out.

The law on NGOs came into force on 14 November. On that day human rights defenders submitted an independent analysis of the law to the Ministry of Justice. It emphasised that some provisions of the draft contravened the Constitution.

On 12 November President Vladimir Putin supported the proposal by the members of the Human Rights Council that the legislation on NGOs should be reviewed. Putin said that anything that does not involve politics should be excluded from the law.

Leading human rights defenders asked the Federation Council to reject the legislation. The appeal was signed by Ludmila Alekseeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lev Ponomarev, head of the Movement for Human Rights, and others.

According to the law, NGOs that refuse to be registered as “international agents” will have to pay a fine up to 1 million Russian roubles.