Topic: NGO ‘Foreign Agents’ Law
MOSCOW, July 12 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)
A Russian draft law that would label non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose political activities are funded from abroad “foreign agents” is reminiscent of methods used by Soviet secret police, the head of the Council of Europe said on Thursday.
“The wording is a problem. ‘Foreign agent’ sounds very bad to me and also, I think, to many others abroad and in Russia,” said Thorbjorn Jagland, in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti’s English-language service. “Some of those executed during the [Joseph] Stalin era were called foreign agents.”
“This was an expression that was used against dissidents during this period. It is also very often used in other authoritarian regimes against everybody that has different views. It’s a simple way to get people out of the debate and to get the views you don’t like out of the debate. Just call them a foreign agent and you can shut up – you have nothing more to say.
"This is unfair, it’s inappropriate and it shouldn’t be used in a modern lawmaking – it belongs to the past and it does not belong to a democratic society,” Jagland said in a telephone interview.
Failure to comply with the law could result in maxiumum jail sentences of four years and/or fines of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,200) for NGO members. The law would also tighten the government’s financial control over NGOs.
The controversial bill is being fast-tracked through parliament and is likely to be approved on Friday in its second and third readings by the lower house. It will then go to the upper house and, if passed, to President Vladimir Putin for final approval. A Kremlin source said earlier this week that the bill could enter law this fall.
And Jagland also expressed concern at the speed at which both the NGO bill and a recent law greatly increasing fines for violations of protest laws were being rushed through the legislative process. The protest law was signed into law by Putin less than a month after it was submitted to parliament, despite massive domestic and international criticism.
Both laws, as well as a bill to increase the government’s power to close down blacklisted websites, come with Putin facing the biggest challenge to his rule since coming to power in 2000. Protests against his return to the Kremlin this May after four years as prime minister have seen tens of thousands take to the streets of Moscow.
“Making laws is a very serious business…and not something that can be done in an ivory tower,” Jagland said. “It is not only for the lawmakers. It is something the whole of civil society should be involved in. That’s why it is important to have a slow process.”
Putin said earlier this year that the United States was pumping millions of dollars into NGOs to try to influence the results of elections in Russia. He has also called foreign-funded NGOs “jackals” in the past.
And the former KGB officer said on Wednesday as the bill was approved in its first hearing that he agreed in principle with the bill, but did not rule out amendments, if necessary.
“It was encouraging to see the president is ready to look into this and recommend some changes to this law,” Jagland said.
One of the architects of the bill, ruling United Russia party lawmaker Alexander Sidyakin, told RIA in a wide-ranging interview last week that he saw nothing wrong with the term “foreign agent.”
“I think the idea that ‘foreign agent’ means ‘spy’ is more of a hangover from the Soviet period in which our parents grew up,” he said. “We should try to get over Cold War terminology. I believe there is nothing insulting in this term.”
Sidyakin singled out the independent election monitor Golos as an example of what he said were attempts by the United States to “affect Russian politics,” citing at a parliamentary committee hearing last week the “$2 million given to the organization in 2011 to dirty the Russian authorities.”
Golos, which monitors alleged election violations in Russia, freely admits to receiving funding from abroad and members have said Russian businessmen are afraid to donate for fear of repercussions.
Russia’s oldest rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, has said it will close down its offices rather than comply with the law. Russia’s Public Chamber also said last week that it would not support the bill - which has also been criticized by the Kremlin’s own rights council - in its current form.
Moscow Helsinki head, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, said she would appeal to the U.S. Congress and the European parliament to add the authors of the bill to a visa blacklist drawn up in connection with the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.
The move saw United Russia deputies sign up en masse to become co-authors of the bill.
The bill has also been criticized by the United States.
“We believe that people everywhere should enjoy the same fundamental freedoms and universal human rights,” said Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, on Wednesday.
“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to be heard and have a voice in government. That’s why we’ve raised our concerns about the potential passage of this new NGO legislation,” he added.
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- moistdouble standard & hysteria18:28, 12/07/2012I quite understand their hysteria of being revealed and arrested as in Egypt, but what about their own almost identical laws against foreign aggressions such as this in domestic affairs?
Are they "Stalinistic" too?
- PETEPETEPETE(no title)19:16, 12/07/2012" Just call them a foreign agent and you can shut up – you have nothing more to say."
And what about the use of media and entertainment to call "misbehaved" people "racists" and "homophobic" (im not saying that there is something wrong with that) and "anti-semite" and "conspiracy kooks" and "unpatriotic" and all that stuff? What about the carefully choreographed political debate between "left" and "right" sides that the Elite controls?
Where is the famous "War for Oil" (leftwing side)? It's in the same place as the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (rightwing side), the Land of the "Left vs Right" Baloney.
What they have is the most advanced, sneaky totalitarian system ever devised by Man.
- SirkoHere...!!! Here...!!!06:54, 13/07/2012Good for you Pete. Well said! You have a great noodle on you shoulders Pete. Thank God there are some here who cannot be brainwashed, and know what the western fascists are all about, but they are trying hard here also like the American Fascist..'Arslupin'
- arti(no title)19:30, 12/07/2012i want to see what are doing the amis if russia is founding an ngo with 3 to 4 million dollars yearly, i think they will tell that they are friends and brothers of america, please reply
- calripsonKind of Like The USA20:08, 12/07/2012The USA regulates "Foreign Agents" under the FARA and LDA laws. Foreign agents include individuals and entities engaged in "political activity". http://www.cleanupwashington.org/lobbying/page.cfm?pageid=39
- lmPutin remember your words when one is weak they are beaten.20:42, 12/07/2012Thorbjorn Jagland you can advise the West, EU, and NATO to stop using words like humanitarian corridor freedom fighters, will of the people, collation of the willing, for all these words lead to one thing military aggression against countries who do not obey the West line.
Again we see the attack on the Kremlin conscience hoping they will bend to Western pressure under the so called wording human rights.
Stalin was right in some sense because he could not trust the West and rightfully so, because they were planning to attack the Soviet Union even they were all allies in World War 2 under the code name “operation unthinkable” Winston Churchill plot.
- free_mind50(no title)20:58, 12/07/2012They need to look at the terrorism being perpetuated by the west. Which surpasses Stalin's purges
- bielecGeneral conclussion21:54, 12/07/2012American economy is crumbling down. The wealth of the nation was stolen by criminal corporations and corrupted banks. As a result of deregulation and privatisation of monetary and fiskal policies, the Wall Street criminals have collapsed the economy. The deficit and the loans are so large that they can never be paid off.
Therefore, the U.S. sees only one way out of this mess - by deliberately provoking a major war and writing the debt off as part of its outcome. This, of course, is criminal.
Russia and China should take this possibility under consideration. Knowing that America is purposely pushing for war will help in adopting the right policies.
- Panthera Pardusare we free in Western Europe ?00:11, 13/07/2012Do you know anyone who has actually voted to have Thorbjorn Jagland as "Head of the Council of Europe"?
The only contact that this guy has got with the average western europe taxpayer is that he enjoys the money which is siphoned away from mentioned taxpayer.
Read to believe
" The Committee of Ministers has decided that the inflation adjustment applied to member states’ contributions would be
1.8% for 2012. The total of member states’ contributions to the Ordinary Budget is €233 511 500"
these guys can determine their own budget commanding also the increments! shameless!
- SirkoStalin...!!!07:49, 13/07/2012Council of Europe! Ha! What are all these bogus councils and Kangaroo Courts?? As they say, "Who died and made these rats God???Stalin!
The very whisper of his name makes all sorts of fascists shit their pants. Of course they have whitewashed and propagandized to the point where even Russians forget that if it was not for his indomitable will and spirit the Nazis and their assorted western European cronies and eastern European collaborators would have won WW II and their plan was to exterminate all Russians, Ukrainians etc. During the Blitz in England Churchill and the rest were preparing to leave and move to Canada, but Josip refused to budge and stood on the parapets of the Kremlin guiding his people. I spoke to a bunch of old timers who fought defending Moscow from the fascists in The Great Patriotic War and they said, "We fought for comrade Stalin. Forget the young generation who know nothing about sacrifice." Fact, that nine out of ten Axis soldiers where killed by the Red Army. Fact, the U.S. lost a total of three hundred and fifty thousand in WW II. Three times that perished in defense of Stalingrad alone, not to mention some twenty-seven million, fourteen military and thirteen civilian were lost. To what retribution one might add? How a people can forget that type of horrendous sacrifice is beyond reason? How a people can vilify a leader who led them through and out of that maelstrom of human suffering is also beyond reason? The only possible explanation is the sneaky mass propaganda as Pete put it in the above post has also permeated Russian society. Never, never, ever trust the western 'banksters' Their greed is insatiable and hence their evil knows no bounds.
In 1921 fourteen of their countries evaded the fledgling Soviet Union during the Civil War in an attempt to destroy the only socialist state the world has ever seen. It was a major threat to their greed and wealth. They failed! The Red Army drove them out. However, the onslaught against the Big Red Herring continued. The Third Reich was their creation. They are still at it at every turn. After the failure of the western interventionist they slapped a trade embargo on anything from the USSR. That lasted till the beginning of WW II. At the end of WW II they slapped the infamous Jackson-Vanik law. Today the farce continues with the Magnitsky Bill. Proof positive that there must have been a connection between Magnitsky and the western interventionists.
Question: Why is it that you never hear a thing from Russia or other great powers such as China, India about the corruption and evil going on in the regimes of the west? At every turn they are constantly interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations who will either not cow tow to them or they cannot buy them off.
To any thinking and sentient being it is crystal clear that they, the Neo-fascists in the west do not want a strong will individual in Russia. Here is a simple example. Pierre Eliot Trudeau was one of Canada's pre-eminent Prime Ministers who served in three terms. The American 'banksters' and their political pals hated him to the point where he was not permitted to enter the U.S. This proves a point. The litmus paper test for a good leader in any country. If the Americans and their Wart NATO hate him you know he must be doing his best for his country. Today the party of Pierre Eliot Trudeau which is the party of Sir Wilfred Laurier another great Canadian, the Liberal Party barely exists. The American 'Banksters' and their political cronies have engineered its demise by funding the Anti-Christ Harper Tories who clearly stole the last election with ballot stuffing and robo calls to misguide voters.
Gosh! How is it that you hear nothing from the land of "Jose can you see..." about that. Why should they say a word. Harper is their Quisling and Proxy...:-)
P.S. Bring it on 'Arslupin' you fascist twerp...!!! You can run but you cannot hide...!!! Hahahahahaha...!!!
- Mikhail1228The 1966 US Foreign Agents Law21:15, 23/11/2012The Russian NGO law that the media and rights groups are 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!
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