Liberal Mission Foundation fined as a ‘foreign agent’

posted 29 Jun 2015, 12:53 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 29 Jun 2015, 12:57 ]
23 June 2015

Source: (info
The Liberal Mission Foundation, the fund headed by renowned economist Evgeny Yasin has been fined the huge sum of 300,000 (!) roubles for its refusal to voluntarily register as a so-called ‘foreign agent.’ The decision was taken by a Moscow court.

Citing RIA Novosti, reports that the financing of Liberal Mission comes from the Dynasty Foundation, owned by well-known philanthropist, Dmitriy Zimin. On June 17, Dynasty was also fined 300,000 roubles for failing to voluntarily assign itself the label of ‘foreign agent’.

On May 25, Liberal Mission Foundation was included in the register of so-called ‘foreign agents’. The Ministry of Justice has classified the Foundation’s programmes - a book entitled Law and Government and also educational seminars called, ‘I think’ - as political activities. The decision was appealed in court.

On May 25, the Ministry of Justice also included the Dynasty Foundation in its register of ‘foreign agents.’ This was despite the fact that the Foundation does not receive foreign funding, but relies on the resources of its founder, Russian citizen Dmitriy Zimin.

Representatives of Dynasty stressed that the work of the organisation is not of a political nature. The NGO operates in the areas of education, science and culture.

At the end of May, Russian teachers and researchers held a series of pickets in front of the Ministry of Justice building in support of Dynasty.

On June 1, the Presidential Council for Human Rights apologised to Zimin and Yasin for the fact that their foundations, Dynasty and Liberal Mission, had been included in the register of ‘foreign agents.’ The authors of the statement called them true patriots of Russia, and people with an impeccable reputation.

The International Memorial Society has emphasised in a special declaration;

‘The concept of the law on ‘foreign agents’ is in essence not based on the principal of the rule of law. There exists not one problem that could be resolved by this law. Its instigators’ objectives were purely political and opportunistic, and its language knowingly contributes to obvious legal uncertainty. The law on ‘foreign agents’ in practice introduces a presumption of guilt for artificially selected groups of organisations […].’

Russian NGOs have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the law and have appealed against it, including to the European Court of Human Rights. Rights defenders point out that the law is clearly discriminatory and obviously has a very negative historical context.

However, discrimination of NGOs in Russia continues.

Translated by Nathalie Corbett