19 November 2014
Source: HRO.org (info)
The head of the League of Women Voters Tatiana Dorutina left Russia three days ago. At the moment Dorutina is in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and does not know when she will return to Russia. Journalists believe that the civic activist “couldn’t stand the pressure from security officials, who have been persecuting the League of Women Voters for some time now”.
“I have a feeling that in Russia a ‘cleansing operation’ against non-profit organisations has begun. As for the League, every time we approached our office, we used to be met by prosecutors and police officers. It seemed like there was a hidden camera installed somewhere or they had an informer.” says Ms Dorutina. “The residents of the building where our office has been located for 10 years told me that we are constantly being watched, asked about, and reported on, with one or two people at a time making enquiries about us on a daily basis.”
She reports that the Prosecutor’s Office tells the League that the inspection is being carried out on the basis of complaints, the content of which the prosecution officers refuse to disclose. Dorutina suspects that they intend to initiate a criminal case against the League or against herself. Zaks.ru reports that on 19th November the legal representative of the League is to visit the Prosecutor’s Office of Admiralteisky district which is dealing with the case to find out more information.
“We are concerned about everything that’s happening at the moment. For example, the incident with the director of the Regional Press Institute Anna Sharagradskaya (according to Zaks.ru, her computer and documents are being investigated by the FSB at the moment. In June at Pulkovo airport on her trip to the USA to give lectures, Sharagradskaya was subjected to a search). What happens to organisations given the life-long status of foreign agent... What kind of a law is that? Most of all I’m concerned about the fact that some of my friends begin to say: “Why can’t you live with this status? Foreign agent, so what?” The people’s mentality is being changed.
“You live under constant pressure and fear. Moreover, I heard that some of those who were called foreign agents have been fined an enormous amount. I’ve never had a big salary and the organisation hasn’t any projects at the moment, consequently there’s no money to pay any fines,” says Tatiana Dorutina. “At the moment I just want to get away from this situation and have some rest. I’m not in the right state at the moment to return to that situation of pressure. My colleagues in the League, the women I started this work with, are afraid to go to the office. We didn’t know that our work will turn into this nightmare.”
On 6th November 2014 the police unexpectedly search the office of the League of Women Voters, confiscating the computer together with accounting documents. The League is subject to two inspections by the Prosecutor’s Office. The first started in April, the second in the autumn of 2014. The inspectors, acting on the basis of the law on non-profits, seek for grounds to declare the League a foreign agent. The second inspection, the reason of which was an anonymous compliant, was postponed until 15th November.
Translated by Olga Cable
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