Theatre of the “political” absurd: the work of experts is equated with political activity

posted 11 Jun 2013, 13:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Jun 2013, 13:33 ]
7 June 2013 

Source: (info)
"The formal sense of the ‘violation’ with which we have been incriminated is transparent: the GRANI Centre does not want to register as an organization that fulfills the function of a ‘foreign agent.’ And this is true: we do not want to do this and we shall not do this, because we are not anybody’s agent, least of all a foreign agent. Our statement on this issue is completely in line with our convictions.

What will follow will be a court hearing (hearings), possible fines, possible closure of the organization, and a possible criminal prosecution.

Our position in the upcoming court hearings will also be transparent – the charge and accompanying evidence are absurd in the form in which they are presented, and in terms of their real meaning simply dangerous.

The absurdity lies in precisely WHAT has been classified by the prosecutors as the activity of the organization and the holding of political events for the purpose of influencing the decisions taken by government bodies, intended to change government policy.

According to the notice issued by the prosecutors, “evidence of violations,” in other words, the organization of such events, is:

- taking part, at the invitation of the legislative assembly, in a discussion of a draft regional law on state support for socially-oriented non-profit organizations in Perm region (with proposed amendments to the law);

- inclusion of staff of the organization (in correspondence with the decisions of the corresponding departments and persons) in advisory bodies with respect to government bodies: in the working group of the Government Commission on Coordinating the Activities of the Open Govermnet, in the Council on Entrepreneurship of the region’s governor, in the collegium of the Ministry of Territorial Development of Perm region, and others;

- providing information and recommendations at the request of government bodies.

And even conducting research and presenting the results, of which even the very name indicates the nonpolitical character of the work in question: ‘Russian non-political activism’ – is also viewed by the prosecutors as falling under the law as ‘organization and conducting of political activities.’

What is dangerous, in our view, is that the normal, law-abiding, productive partnership of non-government actors with government bodies is becoming something dubious, allegedly encroaching on the sovereignty of government bodies, with the consequence of possible criminal prosecution.

Prosecutors interpret the law in such a clumsy manner that now any non-government professional are a potential problem for government bodies.

This is some kind of scorched earth policy carried out by prosecutors against the Open Government programme, Article 11 of the Perm region constitution on ‘Forms of civic participation in state administration,’ and even against the implementation of the President’s May (social) decrees.

Warmest greetings to all our government and non-government partners!"