Thursday, April 11, 2013

Russia Opens "Foreign Agent" Case against Vote Monitor over International Prize

The GOLOS Association has denied accusations put forward by the Justice Ministry that it receives funding from abroad and engages in political work, activities that would force the NGO to conform to Russia's new ‘foreign agent' law. The Justice Ministry has opened a case against the non-profit organization GOLOS over its failure to register as a "foreign agent" operating in the territory of the Russian Federation. In particular, the Justice Ministry said the award that GOLOS received for winning the Sakharov Prize - named in honor of the Russian physicist and dissident Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (1921-1989) and awarded by Norwegian rights activists - represents an incident of foreign funding. However, GOLOS said it had returned the money and would defend itself in court. The foreign agents bill was signed into law by President Putin in July 2012. If found guilty of violating the foreign agents law, GOLOS officials may face a 100,000 ($3,200) to 300,000 ($9,600) rouble fine. In the past, GOLOS had received much of its funding from the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, which had operated in Russia for two decades. USAID's lengthy stay came to an abrupt end in September last year when the Kremlin decided the agency had overstayed its welcome. Then, explaining the move, Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s press-secretary, said that the American aid agency was interfering in Russia’s political process. (video)

No comments:

Post a Comment