MOJ: Ban on freedom of action of ‘foreign agents’ not unconstitutional

The Ministry of Justice states that the ban on «foreign agents» nominating candidates as members of NGOs is not in conflict with the Constitution


Moscow 24 November 2015

The Ministry announced that the constitutional right to association and freedom of activity of public associations is not absolute.

The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation answered the request of Dmitry Gudkov (Deputy of the State Duma) for clarification of the official position of the Government Commission on Legislative Activities, who have approved a draft law banning «foreign agents» from nominating candidates as members of Public Monitoring Commissions (PMCs). According to the Deputy, the draft law is against the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

“This rule does not infringe upon constitutional law and freedom of the people because each person’s right to association and the freedom of activity of public associations are not absolute… and can be limited by a Federal law,” the deputy quoted from the Ministry of Justice’s official answer on his personal Facebook page.

Gudkov asked for clarification as to whether the commission took into account the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on conformity of the law on “foreign agents» to the main law of the country when approving the draft law. In 2014, the constitutional court acknowledged that the law is not intended to be a negative assessment of any organisation by the state and also does not discredit their activities.

“For the time being we are only talking about the right of association. But in general,  various other laws are included in the Constitution, from freedom of movement to the right to life. And, as we can see, according to government logic, these laws are not absolute and can be restricted,” said Gudkov.

The proposal to ban NGOs considered to be “foreign agents” from nominating candidate members of PMCs emanates from the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

Author: Grigory Ivanushkin

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