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  • Published in Politics

The first application of the law of undesirable organizations

The press service of the Russian Ministry of Justice reported that the International Human Rights Society "Memorial", included in the foreign agents' registry, has been receiving cash replenishment from foreign organizations designated as undesirable in the Russian Federation.

"The fact of it (the organization) obtaining funding from foreign sources, including from organizations whose activities are further recognized as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation (Osi Assistance Foundation, The National Endowment for Democracy)", - stated in the press-service, received by Wednesday at the request of "Interfax".

On the eve of this event, as a result of inspection registry, which identified the facts of foreign funding and participation of the organization in political activities, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation included the International "Memorial" into the register of NPO (nonprofit organization) foreign agents.

The ministry reminded that unscheduled documentary check on the basis of which the International public organization "International Historical, Educational, Charitable and Human Rights Society" Memorial "was included in the foreign agents' registry, conducted by the Ministry of Justice of Russia in September this year on the basis of received requests of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Council - Yevgeny Bobrov, said that the Bureau of the HRC at its next meeting will consider the question of holding a special session of the Council to discuss the practice of the NPO legislation (by the Ministry of Justice), that perform functions of a foreign agent.

"The Council will insist on the participation in the meeting of the Minister of Justice A.V. Konovalov and his first deputy Sergei Gerasimov. The Council will report the results of the discussion to President Vladimir Putin, "- it was said in a Bobrov's statement at HRC site.

According to the opinion of the human rights' activist, including the International Society "Memorial" in the register of NPO- "foreign agents" is against the law and will not allow to implementing the Concept to perpetuate the memory of victims of repression, approved by the President.

Commentary from Alexey Kozlov, the expert of the project:

This is the first application of the law on "undesirable organizations" against Russian NPOs. And, according to this law, it is a serious accusation, entailing not only large monetary penalties, but possible criminal prosecution, with the possible outcome of a four-year prison term.

We should also mention, it is worth noting that in this case, not only the leaders of the organization (which is already the case in the framework of the practice of application of the law on "foreign agents"), but also the employees, may be subjected to the administrative penalties and criminal prosecution. That is, employees whose Law enforcement authorities may be responsible for liaison with the "undesirable organizations."

Briefly summarizing the current practice of the Ministry of Justice within the framework of the law on "foreign agents" - namely, the recognition of almost any political activities of NPOs and foreign funding - any situation where somehow foreign funds appear. Thus, it is possible to assume that the charge of receiving funds from "undesirable organizations" will be built on an equally vague and non-legal terms. This seriously hampers the appeal of such charges and makes judicial arbitrariness very possible when making decisions. But, of course, it is necessary to wait for the content of the claims with the respect to international Memorial made by the Ministry of Justice.

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