Deputy submits bill abolishing ‘foreign agent’ status for NGOs
A draft law on the abolition of the ‘foreign agents’ list is introduced in the State Duma of the Russian Federation
State Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov (‘A Just Russia’) has submitted a bill to the lower house of parliament calling for an end to ‘the struggle with environmentalists and human rights defenders’ and the abolition of the ‘foreign agent’ concept from legislation governing non-profit organisations.
The bill ‘On amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation relating to regulation of the activities of non-profit organisations’ was published on the website of the State Duma. The document has been registered and sent to the chairperson of the lower house of parliament. ‘The bill provides for changes to a series of legislative acts of the Russian Federation with the goal of repealing the institution by which non-profit organisations are designated as foreign agents’, states a memorandum to the bill, authored by Dmitry Gudkov.
This ‘shameful list and disgraceful law’ must be reversed, wrote Gudkov on his personal Facebook page. He emphasised that of the 68 organisations identified by the register as ‘foreign agents’, only 19 NGOs carry out ‘political activities’. According to Gudkov’s estimates, the rest of the organisations are involved in charity (4 NGOs), science and education (8 NGOs), the environment (7 NGOs) and the protection of citizens’ rights (27 NGOs).
‘There is no shame in recognising our own mistakes: I hope the State Duma understands this. It is time to stop fighting environmentalists, human rights defenders and philanthropists. The country has enough real problems’, said Gudkov.
The law previously came in for heavy criticism from the public when Dmitry Zimin’s non-profit Dynasty Foundation and the Liberal Mission Foundation were forced to register as foreign agents. The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC) appealed to the Russian Ministry of Justice against the registration of the foundations as ‘foreign agents’. The Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov stated that the HRC’s appeal would be considered, but the organisations are unlikely to be excluded from the register, according to RIA Novosti.
Author: Giorgi Ivanushkin