Aggression against NGOs discredits Russia in the international arena

posted 13 Jul 2015, 08:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2015, 08:43 ]
8 July 2015

Source: (info)
On 8 July 2015 Russia’s Federation Council (the upper chamber of parliament), meeting in plenary session appealed to the Prosecutor General, the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to examine a list of organisations – foreign and international NGOs – it hopes to ban for patriotic reasons and which could be included on the list of so-called 'undesirable organisations'. Not a single deputy voted against this motion, which discredits Russia in the international arena. TASS news agency reports that all 156 deputies present at the session voted unanimously for the motion.

The wording of the appeal is consistent with a Cold War mentality. Members of the upper chamber allege that the Russian Federation today "is facing the strongest attack on our national interests, values and institutions in the last quarter of a century", with the principal aim, in their opinion, of influencing Russia's domestic situation, "undermining the patriotic unity" of the nation, and also disrupting Russia's role in the process of integration taking place within the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The Federation Council's appeal to prosecutors repeated almost word for word the statement made on the previous day by Valentina Matvienko, chair of the Federation Council, about supposed "pressure on Russia via foreign NGOs", notes Newsru. She even talked about "aggression towards Russia".

For the same reason, the Federation Council has asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Justice "to examine the patriotic 'stop-list', which includes foreign or international non-governmental organisations", with the aim of possibly bringing them into the ambit of the law on "undesirable organisations".

Radio Svoboda reports that 12 organisations are on the Federation Council's 'stop-list': the Soros Foundation (Open Society Foundations), the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the MacArthur Foundation, Freedom House, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Education for Democracy Foundation, the East European Democratic Centre, the Ukrainian World Congress, Ukrainian World Co-ordinating Council and the Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights.

The Russian human rights activist Andrei Yurov, who is the leader of the Crimean Field Mission and a member of the Human Rights Council, has said that the Crimean Field Mission is not an organisation but merely an initiative by a group of volunteers. Accordingly, he does not understand how a group which is not legally registered can be subject to restriction under the law on "undesirable organisations", reports the BBC Russian Service.

Independent observers comment that "in the current pseudo-patriotic and militaristic hysteria, the law is being perverted and turned into an instrument of discrimination for the use of those in power, the 'siloviki'. Laws and human freedoms, as we can see, are now under direct threat".

Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts