The Committee Kudrin suggested a way to reduce the number of “foreign agents”

What is considered politics

The Committee of civil initiatives (THD) Alexei Kudrin on Wednesday, February 10, at the meeting of the presidential Council on human rights (HRC) intends to submit amendments to the law on NGOs-foreign agents and modified by the Ministry of justice earlier version. The amendments, which were reviewed relate to the most controversial provisions of the old law, and his updated version is what is considered political activity which gives grounds to the Ministry of justice to classify NGOs to foreign agents and put them in the appropriate register.

The OIG proposes to seriously restrict the ability of the Ministry of justice and prosecutors in the interpretation of the law on NGOs-foreign agents. According to experts Kudrin, political activity can be considered as the nomination of candidates for elections, participation in election campaigning, organizing Fund-raising campaign funds or assistance.

The political, according to experts the OIG should be considered a progress in public opinion positive or negative image of candidates, lists of candidates on elections and political parties and information, consulting and organizational support of electoral candidates.

Experts CHY and offer to legally prescribe what the NCB can not be regarded as political. Will not be entered in the register of foreign agents, according to the amendments CHY, NGOs that are engaged in the organization and conduct of public discussions (conferences, forums, round tables) to discuss the economic, social, political, cultural and other issues not related to state or commercial secret. At these round tables to discuss state policy, international relations, the mere participation in such discussions could not be considered political activity, the authors of the amendments.

There should not be a policy organization and conduct of the examination or assessment of the actions of state authorities and municipalities — as the examination and evaluation of adopted by them legal acts and other decisions. Statement of his position with the evaluation of the actions of the government and its decisions, including in the media, too, cannot be considered political activities, confidence in the OIG. But, make the amendment experts, an exception can be made for those NGOs who did the tests fully or partially on money of a political party or the election funds of a candidate or list of candidates.tah

To be excluded from the political activity should also undertake any training and educational activities (seminars, meetings, conferences, forums, round tables). At this point the authors propose again to make an exception: if these activities fully or partially paid with funds of a political party or election Fund of a candidate, then they can be considered politically motivated.

Non-political in the OIG want to do sociological research: organization and conducting of public opinion polls, focus groups, expert and in-depth interviews.

The work of NGOs that focus on youth, senior citizens and vulnerable categories of the population, protection of environment and historical heritage is also, according to members of CHY, cannot be interpreted by the justice Ministry and the Prosecutor’s office as a political.

The controversial law

A law requiring funded from abroad and leading the political activities of NGOs to register as “foreign agents” was adopted in 2012. Since then, politicians and human rights activists argue about the wording and correctness of the act. Since the adoption of the law of the HRC, the Public chamber, state Duma deputies, public and various human rights organizations have repeatedly offered to make both softening and stiffening of the amendment.

At the beginning of September 2015 the President by his decree established a working group to develop proposals on additional regulation of NGOs. It was headed by the first Deputy head of the presidential administration Vyacheslav Volodin, and representatives of the Ministry of justice, General Prosecutor’s office, Public chamber, Federal Assembly, and others.

Since June 2014 the Ministry of justice received the right forcibly to include NGOs in the register of “agents”. In the list of “agents” at the time of publication the article was listed as 116 organizations, among them human rights Association “Agora”, Information and educational center “memorial”, Association “Voice”, Sakharov center.

In late January the Ministry of justice published for public comment a draft law clarifying the definition of political activities in the law on NGOs. The Agency proposes to consider the areas in which such activities take place, the state and the Federal structure, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Russia, ensuring of legality, law and order, security, national defense, foreign policy, integrity and stability of the political system, socio-economic and national development of the country, the functioning and formation of bodies of state power and local self-government, the regulation of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.

The forms in which NGOs can engage in politics, the Ministry of justice classifies participation in rallies and public statements, any activities related to elections, public circulation to government agencies in order to influence their decisions, public assessment of their work, the impact on public opinion (including his study), the involvement of citizens in policy and funding of all the above.

The amendment was criticized by the Chairman of the HRC Mikhail Fedotov, said that the project of the Ministry of justice “any activity can be recognize as political”. At the same time, the current wording Fedotov repeatedly called too broad and suggested it be clarified.

The meeting will be attended by the Chairman of the Duma Committee on public organizations Yaroslav Nilov (LDPR). “I ask everyone the question: the proposals of the Ministry of justice is a movement towards a more comfortable environment for NPOs, with the elements of protection of their rights or nothing? If anything, we need to end the discussion and leave it at that. Because the discussion lasts for a long time, and the problems of “foreign agents”, as the relationship between the goat and Timur Amur tiger, the hype around the flu epidemic, etc. are discussed for the sake of diverting attention from the real problems of society. And people in the regions have nothing” — outraged the MP.