Mass poverty in Russia, worst of all NGOs


Массовая бедность в России страшней любых НКО

Non-profit organizations (NPOs) funded by the United States, or “threatening the interests” of Russia will be closed. The legal mechanism for this has developed, the Ministry of justice of the Russian Federation, writes “Kommersant”. Amendments will be made to the law from 2012, which is still one of the NGOs is not closed.

Adopted six years ago, the legislation became the Russian response to the unfriendly our country “Magnitsky act”. At the same time in Russia was introduced into circulation the term “foreign agent”, borrowed from American law in 1938. They become the “mark” of the organization, not working, as is, in the interests of other countries.

However, Russian law would be easy the American. He touched only political, and not all available from us NGOs.

In 2015, the Russian law appeared in the original Russian concept of “foreign or international organization, which activity is undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation”. Such, among others, were recognized by the U.S. national endowment for democracy NED, the Soros Foundation and the organization of Mikhail Khodorkovsky “Open Russia”, etc.

How dangerous such NGOs and what consequences may result from their ban, “SP” said our experts.

— NGOs, which now exist, did not threaten the Kremlin, political analyst Alexei Makarkin. — Another thing is that in Russia generated strong view that NGOs are bound by the “color revolutions.”

Indeed, among the participants of the “color revolutions” in the world, many representatives of civil society. Including women working in NGOs. But the reasons for the “color revolutions” are usually completely different and not related to someone’s conspiracy. They are caused by objective dissatisfaction with the political power. In each case their Foundation.

“SP”: — for Example?

— Take the example of Ukraine. If Yanukovych will not darted between Russia and the West… And in the beginning he promised his citizens to sign the Association agreement with the EU. Then he began to postpone it. And it became clear that he would not sign.

That is — if he first of Ukrainians are not encouraged, and then would not have been deceived, there are no important speeches, like the “Maidan” 2013-2014 would not have happened.

Another example is Armenia. Some say that there has recently been a revolution. Others deny it. But if Sargsyan did not at first assured the society that they will not claim the post of Prime Minister, and then would not take this post (also deceived), it is nothing like in Yerevan would not be. And the Prime Minister would garabedian, which clearly focused on Russia.

So that it is not in NGOs, and in government.

“SP”: — Why did the Kremlin suddenly decided to tighten the law and to prescribe the procedure for closing NGOs? Within five years, including in the acute phase of confrontation with the West, it saw no need.

— I think there are two reasons. First, it is a reaction to the fact that, despite the adoption of the law on foreign agents, a significant part of NGOs, which were framed under this act, is still in a particular kind of work. This, apparently, is rejection at the top.

And secondly, influenced by the story of the arrest in America of Russian citizen’s Butinai. Of course, there was a desire somehow to answer to Washington. And how to respond? For example, to adopt such a law.

By the way, the original, from 2012, the law on undesirable organizations was also a response to the US — they passed the “Magnitsky act”. In this sense, Russia should be for Americans.

But the closing process of any NGO is very long. This is not the last part of this story. The pressure of the state will continue. But for every action there is a reaction. Some part of NGOs will be closed. Some adapts. So, will make such new laws.

According to human rights lawyer Dmitri Agranovsky, the Kremlin sees the threat the country is not where it should be.

— The problem here is that the current government, if you take the political aspect, do not understand what are the interests of Russia? What are the threats to national security and how to deal with it?

In government there is no consensus. Part of the elite believes that Russia needs to distance itself from the United States. The other part — that on the contrary, it is necessary to strictly to be friends. Since there is a whole concept, it is unclear what criteria NGOs should recognize threatening national security. So there is no principle of legal certainty.

“SP”: — there is an impression that Moscow is a little “APE”, copy the American experience.

— The current system has grown on the imitation of the United States and Europe. She was at the denial of the experience of the Soviet Union. But the Americans have clear criteria, albeit disgusting. They realize that protect. In the USSR such criteria were also. And today’s Russia is not available.

I think the new strengthening related to the case’s Butinai that in the United States, even arrested not for espionage, but for “attempting to advance the interests of another state.” I think that arrested is absolutely wrong. Such arrests do not paint US. The principle of legal certainty does not exist here. We do not need to learn from America, all the worst.

In General, the threat from NGOs occurs where there is that way. Remember, in the restructuring came out everywhere “popular fronts”? Through nationalism, religion began to collapse in a single political space? Here they had the ground — it was actively engaged in Gorbachev.

If the state aims at promotion of national interests, such NGOs are not terrible. And if not, some legal measures will not solve the problem.

NGOs can transform themselves, to re-register to work without registration, to be funded through private sources. The only solution is to create an environment, public climate in which these NGOs will be deprived of the soil.

“SP”: — What, in your opinion, worse than any NCO?

In my opinion, for the existing in Russia about the main threat — its poor people. The same pension and other ill-conceived reforms of this kind threaten Russia much stronger than the malicious NGOs. Since the current system is absolutely unfair and its unfairness is going to strengthen, that is the main danger. Need less to create reasons for people’s discontent.

About the possible legal implications for the staff of “undesirable organizations” “SP” said head of the criminal practice of the legal company BMS Law Firm Timur Huta.

— Article 284.1 of the criminal code establishes responsibility for the management of the organization whose activities are deemed undesirable on the territory of Russia. We are talking about foreign or international non-governmental organizations in respect of which the decision is taken. In addition, liability may be attracted by a person for participation in this organization.

The condition for the applicability of the article — the act must be committed by a person who brought to administrative liability for the same act twice during the year. If the person has voluntarily ceased to participate in the activities of the organization, it is exempted from criminal liability.

Punished — up to deprivation of liberty for a term up to six years. However, as such, current practice for the application of this article does not. Therefore, it is rather of a declarative character, without presenting a real threat to anyone.

“SP”: — it Seems “undesirable persons” left a way out. They say, we, the state, not bloodthirsty. Stop subversive activities themselves — the plant won’t..

In this respect, much more likely the application of article 275 of the criminal code “high treason”, according to which things began to stir much more often lately. But here the subject is a citizen of Russia. Including for assisting foreign or international organization or their representatives in activities aimed against security of the Russian Federation. This is broad language that creates the conditions for abuse of the norm. As clear criteria activities aimed against Russia’s security into law.

— To assess the political implications of the new legislation was premature, as even the new order is not yet published, — says head of human rights Association “Agora” Pavel Chikov. — It is unclear how law enforcement will look like. Especially as it will be used. In General, I do not understand why all this tightening is necessary, given the already existing Russian mechanisms.


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