Topic: NGO ‘Foreign Agents’ Law
MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti)
- U.S. Criticizes Russian Foreign Agent NGO law
- British Foreign Office Slams Russia’s NGOs Law
- U.S. Says Russia’s Law on NGOs Intimidates Rights Activists
- Russian Rights Activists Refuse to Comply with NGO Law
- Putin Signs Foreign Agent NGO Law
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Washington does not direct the actions of Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. assistance.
Replying to a letter by veteran Russian rights advocate Lev Ponomaryov, Clinton said the United States supported the "important efforts" of NGOs to protect and advance human rights in Russia.
"In response to your specific question regarding whether NGO recipients of U.S. grants are 'agents' of the U.S. government, let me state categorically that we do not dictate your goals or direct your actions, nor do we have any desire to do so," Clinton wrote.
Clinton's letter comes two months after President Vladimir Putin signed into law a controversial bill which forces foreign-funded NGOs involved in politics to declare themselves "foreign agents."
Kremlin officials have repeatedly claimed that Washington is using NGOs in Russia as cover to bring about political change. Putin once famously called Russian NGOs involved in politics "jackals."
But Ponomaryov, head of the For Human Rights organization, denied "taking orders from the State Department." However, he freely admits to receiving funding from abroad, saying the Kremlin "discourages businessmen in Russia to give money to NGOs."
In an interview with RIA Novosti, Ponomaryov said he had written his original letter to the U.S. State Department in order to "show the absurdity" of the new legislation.
"An ideological battle is on," he said. "It was important to raise awareness of this stupid law."
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- Wolfgang9Clinton!20:43, 31/08/2012Whenever she tries to tell something I have that strange desire to kick her ass so that she propells to Mars and never comes back!
- arsanlupinOh Really?03:03, 24/11/2012Too bad you don't have the courage to do anything more than spout mindless hatred on an anonymous website comment ... you would quickly learn that letting your mouth replace your anus can be a very dangerous thing to do in the real world.
But then again, you don't HAVE a life in the real world, do you?
- PlutardesUSA militarism without an Army big enough.20:58, 31/08/2012The United States of America wants to govern the world without needing any Cold War in the background. Washington thinks that when Russia ended the Cold War, the USA would dominate the global community and the next step for America was a global domination without any polarization with any other country for global brinkmanship. So America is very isolated in many aspects, respects. Interestingly America thinks that they have more than half the world to play the USA game of power: Cold War is over since 1991 really and now the game involves the all American military might, the latter being an insurmountable task when America is leaving its army away from the Mideast and is going to the Asia-Pacific by the USA military and its allies in the region of Asia. The latest American military campaign is a disater. The US is giving guns to the Syrian Rebels in an American military campaign without a US Army. Even Europe and the euro are a problem for America. America is also against "globalization" as if they were the sole winners in the Cold War, when there may be no winner by now. Cold War belongs to the past.
- arsanlupinWow ... a mountain of manure!02:18, 24/11/2012If you believe any of this paranoid drivel at all, you should be tested for recreational use of hallucinogenic drugs.
To say that it is totally off-topic and thus totally irrelevant would be an understatement of Biblical proportions.
Plutardes, would you please pump out your septic tank somewhere else?
- bielecAnother day, another smoke screen01:30, 01/09/2012Washington does not have to "direct the action" of the NGOs, as long as it decides who gets the funding and who does not. The expectations are clear and are clearly reflected in mission statements of NGO's that "qualify" for Soros's, Fords, and National Endowment for Democracy grants.
This power-hungry woman really believes in her own self-importance. Her self-declared "smart politics" amounts to lies, manipulations, bullying and hypocrisy, to stubborn power struggle and to serving the interests of Israel. The whole world is well aware of it, by now.
Most of her statements and behaviours are style-over-substance posing, as her diplomatic and intellectual abilities fall terribly short of her personal aspirations. In a sense, we are lucky that she heads the U.S. State Department at this time.
- arsanlupinMore mindless bile and venom ...02:59, 24/11/2012Bielec, you obviously don’t have any idea of what you are talking about – but that’s normal for a Marxist-Leninist bigot. Your biggest fear is the Russian citizenry will – in spite of United Russia’s best efforts – build a nation devoid of the corruption and autocracy that United Russia is trying to perpetuate as a continuation of the barbaric rule of one Ioseb Besarionis dze Dzhugashvili.
The Russian NGO’s are trying to teach the citizens of Russia what democracy REALLY is. They are trying to teach the citizens of Russia that they don’t have to tolerate autocratic governments who:
1. Coordinate an election campaign of intimidation, fraud, bullying, and ballot-stuffing that is breathtaking in its magnitude.
2. Imprison opposition figures on trumped-up charges, and then fabricate more charges just as the original prison sentences approach completion.
3. Taking advantage of the classical Russian paranoia by lying to the citizenry about what other nations are saying and doing, turning everything the current regime dislikes into “A Threat To The Motherland”.
4. Send bands of thugs to beat and main and kill journalists trying to report on the government’s corruption to the public.
5. Create one of the most unfriendly places in the world to start or expand a business.
6. Send assassins to murder political dissidents who fled to other countries.
7. Constantly change the labyrinth of byzantine rules, laws, and regulations regarding every aspect of live in Russia, so that no one knows what the rules really are.
8. Threaten Russian citizens and businesses with accusations of treason if they contribute to the Russian NGO’s.
9. Thrive on corruption, bribery, and extortion of the people they purportedly serve.
10. Keep everyone constantly vulnerable to some apparatchik “finding” them in violation of something and confiscating everything they’ve worked to build for themselves.
There’s more they are trying to teach the citizens of Russia, but you get the general idea. The NGO’s are getting outside help because they have nowhere else to turn – all Russians are accused of treason by helping them tell the truth. The outside providers only want to help the Russian NGO’s help the Russian people learn what is possible when the Russian government is truly the servant of the Russian people – and no longer their master. If any of you have a problem with THAT, then what does that make you?
- Mikhail12281966 US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)02:13, 21/11/20121966 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!
- arsanlupin(no title)01:52, 24/11/2012Mikhail 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.
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.
Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).