Government departments at loss to explain Putin's billion dollars for NGOs

posted 2 Jun 2013, 13:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Jun 2013, 13:20 ]
31 May 2013

Source: (info) 
Government bodies are struggling to explain which NGOs received the 28 billion roubles from abroad which Vladimir Putin spoke of earlier. In response to a question by State Duma Deputy Dmitry Gudkov, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) said that it did not conduct oversight of the money received by NGOs from abroad, and this despite the fact that the Justice Ministry had previously referred to Rosfinmonitoring data. has reported that Gudkov posted the agency's reply on his blog on 30 May. The letter lists the powers of Rosfinmonitoring, and ends by stating that control over events that are not connected with money laundering or financing of terrorism are not within the service's sphere of competence.

At the same time, in reply to a similar question put to the Ministry of Justice, officials stated that this information cannot be given out since it was obtained from Rosfinmonitoring.

"I don't know about you, but personally I would conclude that there never was any billion dollars, and the information about funding for Russian NGOs from abroad was given out in order to "legalise" the fight against alleged "foreign agents," Gudkov wrote in his blog.

Ilya Ponomarev does not agree with his colleague. He believes that this money does exist, but it wasn't received by NGOs, against several of whom numerous prosecutor's inspections have been carried out, but by various government organisations.

"The point is that under Russian law all state corporations are NGOs. Skolkovo is an NGO, Rusnano until recently was an NGO, and many others. Even Rostec with all its arms trade is an NGO. That's where the billions went," the deputy suggested in his blog.

The Justice Ministry has previously refused to provide human rights campaigners with information about the 28 billion for NGOs, for the exact same reason. It was the presidential administration who had advised the human rights defenders to consult the Justice Ministry.

Representatives of Russian non-profit organisations asked President Vladimir Putin to publish a list of NGOs who had, according to him, received the 28 billion roubles from foreign sources. The authors told German journalists in an interview that the figures were at least 10 times higher than their estimates of the amount of foreign support for Russian NGOs.

In an interview with the German TV station ARD Vladimir Putin said that since the law on "foreign agents" had come into force, Russian NGOs had received 28 billion 300 million roubles, of which 855 million roubles came via diplomatic missions.