“The Disenfranchised”: discrimination against so-called “foreign agents” intensifies

posted 15 Dec 2014, 06:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Dec 2014, 06:32 ]
8 December 2014

Source: HRO.org (info
“Foreign Agent” NGOs are to be forbidden from taking any part in elections, including monitoring, writes Kasparov.ru on 8 December, citing RBC.

The amendment banning participation in elections has been included in the second reading of a bill tightening the requirements for the funding of political parties, which was submitted to the State Duma by President Vladimir Putin in June.

The Duma managed to avoid publicity while adopting the controversial bill by neither announcing nor discussing the above amendment.

The law was initiated by chairman of the State Duma’s commitee for constitutional legislation, Vladimir Pligin. It was he who proposed the ban on political parties making deals with “Foreign Agent” NGOs.

According to the new wording, “Foreign Agent” NGOs are forbidden to promote or hinder the nomination of candidates and their lists, their election or the attainment of specific results. They are also forbidden from initiating referendum proposals and from “other forms of participation in election or referendum campaigns.”

NGOs are also barred from participating in elections in the capacity of “foreign observers”, as this status is only conferred on foreign citizens and international organizations.

It is proposed that the law will come into force from the moment that the next elections, at any level, are announced.

The amendment contradicts the ruling of the Constitutional Court which forbids discrimination against “Foreign Agent” NGOs and will be appealed against. As one of the leaders of the electoral rights association Golos, Grigory Melkonyants, noted, the ban on participating in elections is a discriminatory measure directly affecting the activities of NGOs deemed “foreign agents".

Translated by Georgia Forth