The prosecutor's office of the city of Yoshkar-Ola has been conducting a routine investigation on the inter-regional NGO "Man and Law" (Chelovek i Zakon) since November 22.
The prosecutors want to know if the organization complies with current legislation on NGOs and counter-terrorism.
Commentary from Alexey Kozlov, the expert of the project
We are witnessing a return to the strategy of thoroughly investigating all undesired NGOs (this was very common in 2012).
The investigation was launched by the prosecutor's office, taking advantage of the fact that practically nobody has authority over it, and other departments could follow suit. In 2012, for instance, our partners in Voronezh (EKSOTSIS Foundation) have undergone two inspections by the prosecutor's office, one by the tax authorities, and another one by the Ministry of Justice. These thorough inspections have two goals:
1. To find any facts that will allow authorities to suspend the organization's activities or at least seriously hamper them (as when fire safety officials decided that the International Memorial organization should add a new door in the basement as a fire escape to the street).
2. To paralyze the organization's activities while the inspection is being conducted. It is obvious that such inspections can be used to put pressure on organizations that are holding active public campaigns.
The involvement of the prosecutor's office in this process may mean that we are witnessing a new effort to eliminate whatever remains of civil society in Russia.