Ministry of Justice refuses to remove Golos from ‘foreign agents’ register

posted 28 Nov 2014, 14:46 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Nov 2014, 14:53 ]
27 November 2014

Source: (info
The Russian Ministry of Justice has refused to remove Golos, an NGO working to protect voters’ rights, from the register of ‘foreign agents', despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that required the decision adding Golos to the register to be reviewed, the newspaper Vedomosti reports, citing the lawyer representing the organization, Ramil Akhmetgaliev.

The appeal to exclude the organisation from the ‘foreign agents’ register was sent by Golos to the Ministry of Justice in September. It appeal stated that in April last year, Golos was fined 300,000 rubles for violating the regulations applicable to NGOs that act as ‘foreign agents’. However, a year later the Constitutional Court ruled that the decision which formed the basis for the issuance of the fine should be reviewed.

In particular, the Court held that the organisation’s decision not to receive foreign funding (in this case the Sakharov Freedom Award) means that Golos does not have to register as a foreign agent.

The Ministry of Justice considers that the fact that the organisation, which in the opinion of the Ministry is engaged in 'political activities', received foreign funding is a sufficient condition for registration in the registry, based on the decision of Moscow City Court on the legality of the Notice issued by the Prosecutor’s Office on the failure by Golos to comply with the law on NGOs as ‘foreign agents’.

Akhmetgaliev told Vedomosti that he considers this decision constitutes a failure to implement the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

According to Russian planet, the day before the Supreme Court had ordered the regional organisation Golos to pay 1.2 million rubles in tax on income received in 2011 as a result of the foreign funding of the organization’s projects. The organisation itself insisted that the funds received from USAID should not be taxed since they were a charitable donation.

Translated by Ana-Maria Sirbu