Fedotov: law on ‘undesirable organisations’ senseless
Mikhail Fedotov: the law on “undesirable organisations” is a form of propaganda
Moscow 13 July 2015
The President of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov has criticized the Federation Council’s initiative of preparing a list of potential “undesirable” foreign organisations on Russian territory. The senator’s “patriotic stop-list” has already been submitted to the Ministry of Justice.
The Federation Council has created a “patriotic stop-list” of 12 organisations whose activities could be described as “undesirable” on Russian territory. Human rights activists consider this initiative to be another form of pressure being placed on civil society. The decision regarding the “undesirability” of an organisation is made by the Prosecutor’s office in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the list of “undesirable” organisations is submitted to the Ministry of Justice. The list has already been submitted to the ministry according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Mikhail Fedotov explained in an interview with ‘Ogonek’ that the law on “undesirable organisations” makes no sense, except as a form of propaganda, as the Russian authorities then have the right to expel any foreign or international organisation from Russia. “First and foremost I’m talking about the law on NGOs and the criminal code, acting on behalf of public integrity, security etc, which impose harsh penalties,” the text continued.
Fedotov also said that he is not satisfied with the Ministry of Justice’s reply to the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights’ appeal in defense of Dimitry Zimin’s non-commercial fund programme ‘Dynasty’, which was named a “foreign agent” and declared to be in a state of liquidation. “I must have missed something – does the Ministry of Justice understand the law it is implementing? Does this legislator, who voted for the law on “foreign agents”, understand it? They openly ignore the President’s position,” said the Chairman of the Presidential Council for the development of Civil Society and Human Rights. According to Fedotov, the Ministry of Justice “mechanically implements a poor law.”
The founder of the “Dynasty” foundation, Dmitry Zimin, transferred personal funds from abroad and enforcers of the law on “foreign agents” considered this to be foreign funding. Such enforcement of the law is a threat to other major Russian charities, which are owned by businessmen and corporations, Elena Topoleva, member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, told Vedomosti. The founders of some of the funds hold part of their assets abroad and many businessmen have foreign citizenship.
Earlier, President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the law on “foreign agents” requires additional adjustments, but he stressed that the institution of “agents” was created “not by accident and not in vain.”
Author: Grigory Ivanushkin