Sergei Smirnov on the New NGO Bill: "Go and Breed Rabbits!"

posted 14 Jul 2012, 09:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Jul 2012, 09:31 ]
Sergei Smirnov
, 06/07/12 


· Freedom of association  · Articles by human rights defenders  · Persecution of activists  · Public protests 

And so, the law on non-profits organisations has passed its first reading. No matter which report you look at - the authors of this unpopular draft law [1] cite foreign precedent. After all, they say, you only have to look at the USA where a similar law was adopted in the distant past. And indeed the American Foreign Agents Restriction Act (FARA) [2] appeared on the statute books as far back as 1938. However, these two laws have very different histories. It is no secret why the US Congress passed FARA. Back then Congress was worried about the rising tide of Nazi propaganda in American society and the target of the Foreign Agents Registration Act were pro-Hitler agitators. The aim of the Russian draft law is to make life difficult for a small category of legal entities defined as non-profit organisations (NPO). The real reasons behind it are also well known: the public protests against the gross violations committed during the Russian parliamentary and presidential elections. It is no coincidence that this draft law is being examined in great haste and that the Golos election monitoring association is the most frequently named target.[3] [Read more]