Demands for checks on the Moscow Helsinki Group
A member of the Social Affairs Chamber of the Russian Federation asks the Tax Inspectorate to carry out a check on the Moscow Helsinki Group
14 January 2015, Moscow
Georgiy Fedorov, a member of the Chamber for Social Affairs’ Commission on Social Support and Citizens’ Quality of Life, considers that, given its opposition stance, the Moscow Helsinki Group may be using the money which it has received for political and anti-state activity, not for human rights activity.
According to information obtained by the newspaper Izvestiya, Georgiy Fedorov has approached Mikhail Mishustin, Director of the Federal Tax Service, with a request to look into the financial activity and the liability for payment of taxes of the Moscow Helsinki Group. He is suspicious about their possibly inappropriate use of grants received, including grants from the state budget. According to Fedorov human rights organisations which hold opposition views “openly hold an anti-Russian position” and, instead of fulfilling their own direct obligations in the defence of citizens’ rights, they engage in political activity not pertaining to their work.
Izvestiya quotes Fedorov as having said the following: “For some reason or other I haven’t heard of members of this group occupying themselves with defending the rights of refugees, of Russians in Ukraine and the Baltic states who are subject to persecution by Nazis [sic]. There’s none of that. Instead, one could be struck by the frequency with which members of the Moscow Helsinki Group manage to say how ashamed they are of Russia and of the Russian state.” Further, he says: “Lyudmila Alexeyeva is a citizen of the USA, and for me that makes everything extremely clear.”
Andrei Svintsov, a Deputy of the State Duma and a member of the Liberal Democratic Party [Zhirinovsky’s party – Tr.], is equally convinced that there are voluntary sector organisations operating in Russia which serve the interest of foreign states, and of the United States in particular.
“Rather often we hear declarations by leading American figures that tens of billions of dollars are being assigned to supporting voluntary sector organisations in Russia and CIS states which are engaged in a variety of activities. This,” as Svintsov told
Izvestiya, “includes support for opposition to the Russian state.”
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, has on more than one occasion declared that she does not consider herself to be either an oppositionist or a political activist; she acts solely for the defence of human rights.
After the law on ‘foreign agents’ came into effect, the Moscow Helsinki Group completely refused any financing from abroad, turning instead to Russian citizens for financial support. At the present time the organisation’s assets come entirely from charitable donations and from grants provided by the state.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva has stated that her organisation has already undergone more than one tax inspection, and no claims from the side of the tax authorities have arisen as a result of the checks which they carried out.