"Inspections" of NGOs in St. Petersburg

21 March 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
Ivan Pavlov, chair of the board of the Foundation for Freedom of Information in St. Peterburg relates: "An assistant prosecutor, two police detectives and an official from the tax inspectorate have come to our offices. They brought a list of documents they wanted to see and they wanted to conduct an inspection of the premises. We shall provide them with the documents, but I shall not let the uninvited visitors inspect our offices without a corresponding warrant."

About 13:30 21 March: The inspectors have left. The officials wanted to inspect the premises and interrogate the staff in order to ‘understand what we do here’. Ivan Pavlov and lawyers of the Foundation did not allow the officials to do this since there were no legal grounds for such an inspection. The officials wanted to call the police, but after consulting with senior colleagues by phone they decided not to call anyone out. They asked for a list of documents that included under Point 23 ‘founding documents, copies of literature that has been published and distributed, and others.’

The director of Citizens’ Watch Yury Vdovin in St. Petersburg says: "People from the tax inspectorate, the police, the fire inspectorate, and computer experts, have come. As for how long the inspection would last they only said, ‘Give us everything and do it right now’. The list of documents they demanded ran to 29 points, from the founding charter of the organization to the list of members of the NGO, and documents relating to membership (records of members joining and leaving).