Topic: NGO ‘Foreign Agents’ Law
MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), cash-strapped due to a recent restrictive law on foreign funding, may get much needed support from an organization led by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, he said on Tuesday.
“There’s currently a shortage of support foundations in Russia, and we’re filling that niche,” Kudrin said about his Civic Initiatives Committee.
“We’re an institution that supports civil society, especially when it is losing the support of Western foundations,” Kudrin said at a press conference in Moscow.
NGOs involved in vaguely defined “political activity” that receive foreign funding have to face gargantuan amounts of red tape and publicly identify themselves as “foreign agents” – a derogatory term in Soviet times – according to a new law passed in July.
Organizations that fall under the law include independent electoral watchdog Golos, the Moscow Helsinki Group, rights group Memorial, Transparency International Russia and many other groups that have criticized the Kremlin over alleged electoral machinations, rights violations or graft. Many NGOs and analysts called the new legislation the government’s revenge for that criticism.
In September, Russian authorities also expelled from the country USAID, an American state agency that sponsored local NGOs, including Golos, the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial and Transparency International Russia.
Kudrin cited USAID as an example of an agency that his foundation aims to replace, but refused to name prospective recipients of his help when asked by RIA Novosti.
Neither did he specify the sources and amount of funding available to his Civic Initiatives Committee, a self-described non-partisan group intent on supporting all forms of grassroots activism in Russia.
“Civil society is burgeoning in Russia, you can’t say it doesn’t exist or is asleep,” Kudrin said. “But, sadly, the authorities often oppose the process.”
Kudrin, 52, was a longtime member of President Vladimir Putin’s cabinet, earning a reputation as one of the world's best finance ministers. But he left the government last year and has since attempted to mediate between the government and the political opposition that staged numerous street protests over the past year.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
- bielecNo surprise here22:00, 18/12/2012Kurdin himself should be a subject to the Foreign Agent Law.
- arsanlupinWhy?22:26, 19/12/2012Because YOU disagree with him?
The Russian Constitution's Section 1, chapter 2 clearly states: "Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of ideas and speech." That includes Alexei Kudrin's aid in teaching the people of Russia what a real civic society is. Unfortunately for the rest of us, that also includes your freedom to make stupid posts on the Internet.
But we live in an imperfect world ...
- bielecA key question22:04, 18/12/2012It would be interesting to know where Kurdin will get the money from to support what basically are anti-government organizations.
- Mikhail1228RE: New Russian NGO law22:39, 18/12/2012The story says, "NGOs involved in vaguely defined “political activity” that receive foreign funding have to face gargantuan amounts of red tape and publicly identify themselves as “foreign agents” – a derogatory term in Soviet times – according to a new law passed in July."
What about the US law that Russia's law was based upon?
1966 US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
The 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 uses the term "foreign agents" and this is derogatory, sinister and draconian so is the US law it was based upon!
- arsanlupinIf you repeat it enough, people might actually believe it?22:19, 19/12/2012Lord I hope not. I've lost count of how many times you posted this. At first I thought you were misrepresenting the American laws you mention merely because you didn't understand them. But after repeating the same distortions and untruths more than 10 times you’ve made it plain: the distortion and lies are a deliberate attempt to mislead others into thinking there’s a real similarity. Typical troll …
The real truth of the matter is this: the American law bans foreign support of any particular candidate in an election. There is no ban at all on foreign activity in electoral education, political discussions, or engaging in “getting out the vote””, or other non-partisan activity. In fact several hundred foreign nationals were very active in the US’s most recent election campaign - and they were encouraged to do so.
The real difference here is that the United Russia party doesn’t want the people to learn what democracy really is, lest they begin to demand it of their government. They don’t want the citizens of Russia to learn that ballot-stuffing and other forms of election fraud is not to be tolerated, and must be stopped as it occurs. They don’t want the citizens of Russia to learn that if enough of them speak out against corruption as Sergei Magnitsky did, the government will be forced to act – even though it is the government itself that is rife with corruption at every level.
Kudrin is now trying to thwart the party’s attempt to hide the most dangerous thought of all: “You will know the truth, for the truth will set you free!”
You don’t like it? Too bad – deal with it!
- rochefortfrancoisbla bla bla...06:54, 19/12/2012After the Arab Spring, the Kudrin Spring....
- jg"...supporting all forms of grassroots activism in Russia."19:29, 19/12/2012...as long as the activists are called "Nashi".
Of course, there's no reason why a modern civilised country such as Russia couldn't organise and pay for their own NGOs to keep an eye on democracy, corruption, etc. - but I won't hold my breath waiting for this to happen.
Image Galleries: Siberian Air Base Gets New Su-30SM Fighter Jets
Infographics: First Russian Smartphone
New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.