25/10/2014 3:50
RIA Novosti


Russian Human Rights NGO Offices Vandalized

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Russian Human Rights NGO Offices VandalizedRussian Human Rights NGO Offices Vandalized
16:26 21/11/2012
Tags: NGO, For Human Rights, Memorial, Lev Ponomaryov, Russia, Moscow

MOSCOW, November 21 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) – The Moscow headquarters of two influential human rights groups were vandalized on Wednesday, the first day a controversial new law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) took effect.

The entrances to the offices of Memorial and For Human Rights, two prominent civil rights groups headed by veteran activists, were spray-painted with the words “Foreign Agent,” along with a heart shape next to “USA,” according to photos posted on Memorial’s Facebook page.

A law that took effect on Wednesday requires Russian NGOs working in the political sphere and which receive financing from abroad to register as “foreign agents.” Critics have slammed the move as part of a wider Kremlin crackdown on dissent.

Lev Ponomaryov, head of For Human Rights, discovered the graffiti when he came to work on Wednesday morning, he told RIA Novosti.

He could not identify the culprits, he said.

“Another question is whether it was a team, or whether there was some kind of order from above,” Ponomaryov said.

Both Ponomaryov and other leading Russian activists have openly refused to register as foreign agents, despite receiving considerable financial support from the United States and other countries.

Meanwhile, pro-Kremlin group Young Guard, the ruling United Russia party’s youth wing, staged a protest on Wednesday morning outside the Moscow office of the US Russia Foundation (USRF), a donor fund that supports legal reform and institutional development in Russia.

The group plastered the office with a large sticker reading “Foreign Agent” and protested what they alleged in a press release were ties between the fund and the US State Department.

Maxim Rudnev, a senior Young Guard official, sought on Wednesday to hit back at criticism of the recent measures against Russian NGOs, commenting on Twitter that only those which were politically involved are targets.

“Only NGOs in the political sphere fall under the law on ‘foreign agents,’” he said. “NGOs in other spheres are not included.”

The implementation of the NGO law follows another piece of controversial legislation, signed into law last week by President Vladimir Putin, which broadens the definition of treason.

While lawmakers argue that the law is meant to strengthen state security, critics claim the move is an attempt to further stifle civil society. The bill targets those who offer consultation or financial services to individuals and organizations engaged in “activities directed against the security of Russia.”

Memorial board member Alexander Cherkasov told RIA Novosti earlier this month that the law is aimed at painting pro-democracy and human rights advocates as enemies of the state.

“We are not traitors to our country, but exactly the opposite,” he said. “We’re restoring its good name.”


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RIA NovostiRussian Human Rights NGO Offices VandalizedRussian Human Rights NGO Offices Vandalized

16:26 21/11/2012 The Moscow headquarters of two influential human rights groups were vandalized on Wednesday, the first day a controversial new law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) took effect.>>

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  • Mikhail12281966 US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
    18:24, 21/11/2012
    1966 US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
    The Russian NGO law that the media is wailing about was written virtually verbatim from the US law. How sinister and draconian that the term “foreign agents” is used. Please read on.
    Some background supplied by the FEC: The goal of the 1966 US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was to "eliminate foreign intervention" in U.S. elections by establishing a series of limitations on foreign governments and nationals. In 1974, the prohibition was incorporated into the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), giving the FEC jurisdiction over its enforcement and interpretation.According to the FEC, FECA "prohibits any foreign national or government from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals or governments violate the ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment."So I guess if the Russian law is sinister and draconian so is the US law it was based upon!
  • canobsvandalized
    06:41, 22/11/2012
    Probably because financed by the Soros OSI(open society institute)which is a branch of the CIA-NED organization
  • arsanlupinVery good point, Mikhael
    20:45, 22/11/2012
    Mikhail brings up a valid point – the USA has a Foreign Agents Registration Act, and it was most recently amended in 1966. However, he misses a few little details – including the purpose of the law, the types of “foreign activity” it was aimed at, and the types of contributions involved. Canobs’ words, of course, are nothing but arrant nonsense.

    First, we are discussing two completely different statutes. The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq. (FARA or the Act) is a disclosure statute aimed at "agents of foreign principals" (agents) as defined, who are engaged in covered activities, on behalf of their foreign principal(s). In 1966, FARA was significantly amended to focus on the integrity of the US Government decision-making process, and to emphasize agents seeking economic or political advantage for their clients in laws pending in American legislatures. In other words, lobbyists.
    On the other side is the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1972, 2 U.S.C. § 431 et seq.; a disclosure statute aimed at contributions for federal election campaigns. It was amended in 1974 to place legal limits on the campaign contributions, and again in 1979 to allow parties to spend unlimited amounts of hard money on activities like increasing voter turnout and registration. The foreign national prohibition (§ 441e) does read
    “It shall be unlawful for a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
    (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
    (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
    (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 304(f)(3)) (2 U.S.C. § 434(f)(3))

    However, both sections B and C of § 441e make it plain that the object of the entire statute is to prohibit foreign intervention at the candidate level – not at the election level itself. In other words, foreign nationals can (and many have, just this year, in the US) participated in increasing voter turnout and registration, and with voter education. They simply cannot get involved in favor of any candidate, political party, or ballot initiative.

    So: if the new “foreign agent” law is meant to curb foreign involvement in a particular candidacy or political party, then yes it’s modeling the American law. However, if it also prohibits foreign involvement in improving voter registration, turnout, or education, then no it’s nothing at all like the American law, and the NGO’s are correct in describing the law as aimed at painting pro-democracy and human rights advocates as enemies of the state. Because it’s a certainty: Russia needs all the foreign help it can get, in learning how democracy really works. Introduced to it for the first time in history only 20 years ago, Russia is constantly proving that it has very poor understanding of the realities of democracy.

    That includes vandalism as a form of political dialogue.

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