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Минюст предложил прекращать без суда работу НКО-"иноагентов". Правозащитники: "Не даем мы им покоя"

Минюст предложил прекращать без суда работу НКО-"иноагентов". Правозащитники: "Не даем мы им покоя" | US-Russian Civil Society | Scoop.it

Министерство юстиции РФ предлагает наделить сотрудников надзорных органов правом без решения суда приостанавливать деятельность финансируемых из-за рубежа некоммерческих организаций, отказывающихся регистрироваться в качестве НКО - "иностранного агента". Согласно предложению ведомства, срок приостановки деятельности должен составлять не более полугода, сообщает "Интерфакс".

 

Соответствующие поправки содержатся в проекте постановления российского правительства "О внесении изменений в Положение о федеральном государственном надзоре за деятельностью некоммерческих организаций", размещенном во вторник на Едином портале информации о разработке проектов нормативных правовых актов и результатов их общественного обсуждения.

 

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Putin's Assault on Civil Society Continues - Foreign Policy (blog)

Putin's Assault on Civil Society Continues - Foreign Policy (blog) | US-Russian Civil Society | Scoop.it

By Miriam Lanskoy


Last week, as international attention toward Russia was focused on its belligerence in Ukraine, a member of the Russian parliamentintroduced a draft amendment to the current law on nongovernment organizations that largely escaped the notice of Western media. The potential impact on Russian NGOs is substantial. After the Kremlinpassed a notorious 2012 law that compelled a wide range of organizations to register under the sinister-sounding label of "foreign agent," the country's civil society has resisted with admirable solidarity, and not a single organization has complied. The new amendment, if passed, would allow the government to simply place groups on a "foreign agents" list by fiat.


This latest initiative by the Russian government serves as a reminder that, even as the international community is scrambling to respond to Moscow's aggressive behavior in Ukraine, the Kremlin has been equally aggressive in cracking down on domestic political freedoms. 

 

This week marks two years since Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency, and the intervening period has coincided with a wave of unprecedented official hostility toward civil society. (In the photo above, protesters hold fake prison bars to mark the two-year anniversary of theBolotnaya Square arrests.) Since the annexation of Crimea, Putin has intensified the domestic crackdown. Draconian new legislation in numerous areas, ranging from Russia's cultural policies to expanded control over the Internet, poses grave new challenges to Russian civil society.


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Over the last two years, the Russian state has sought to delegitimize assistance from foreign donors with onerous new laws and intrusive audits, while simultaneously increasing Russian government funding for NGOs. Many NGOs that had relied largely on international donors -- and particularly those involved in providing social services -- have started to receive a more substantial level of support from the Russian government. The concern that NGOs may lose their independence led some to ask worrying questions: Will NGOs be reduced to solely providing social services? Will they essentially become another extension of the state?


[...]


In the face of unrelenting legal and societal pressure, new groups continue to experiment with different formats and strategies. For example, Russian online activists have organized various informal networks to support local initiatives and expose corruption and injustice through social media. One such group, the "Dissernet," uses crowdsourcing techniques to research and analyze signs of plagiarism in the dissertations of prominent persons, including Duma deputies, ministers, governors, and university professors. Such initiatives promote accountability and transparency and attract considerable interest, while rejecting the formal structure of NGOs. Another new initiative is therusini.org platform that provides training and crowdsourcing resourcesfor grassroots initiatives in Russia's regions. Such informal groups are very different from the established NGOs; one conference participant dubbed them the "rebellious and ungrateful teenage children" of the established NGOs.

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Chill of Victory: Russia Targets Bloggers Amid Celebrations

Chill of Victory: Russia Targets Bloggers Amid Celebrations | US-Russian Civil Society | Scoop.it

By Jaclyn A. Kerr

 

Russia marked its annual Victory Day last week, while the world watched tensions grow ever more volatile in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. And at the same time, President Vladimir Putin’s government took further steps to restrict online activity in Russia.

 

In an apparent attempt to control dissenting internal voices and prevent them from tarnishing holiday celebrations on May 5th, the government introduced a law that classified bloggers with large readerships as “mass media” and required them to register their full names and contact information with authorities. The new regulation, known by Russia’s internet community as the “Bloggers Law,” comes into effect on August 1st and stipulates that bloggers must abide by laws governing mass media such as verification of the factual correctness of information they disseminate.


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The Bloggers Law is part of a package of government revisions to the existing “Anti-Terrorist” law. The changes set new limits on anonymous and international online financial transactions, and require all web companies doing business in Russia to store user data for six months on servers physically located within Russia.

 

While the first initiative threatens online crowdfunding projects and political opposition political campaigns, the latter could be a first step in a crackdown against foreign social media platforms. As it seems unlikely that major Western IT companies will agree to setting up costly servers and data-storage facilities in Russia, some observers suspect the new law will become a pretext for blocking those platforms.

 

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Much of the recent initiative for internet restriction can be linked to the attitudes and goals of President Putin, who seems to view the internet through a prism of national security and stability. On April 24th , at a forum in Saint Petersburg, Putin stated that “the internet first appeared as a special CIA project,” and that “special forces are still at the center of things.” He also suggested that Yandex, the country’s leading search engine, had since its inception been under Western influence or control. He also indicated his approval of the classification of popular bloggers as media outlets. The following day, the stock value for leading Russian internet companies fell on NASDAQ, including Yandex, Mail.ru, and Qiwi, presumably in response to the remarks.

 

Questions remain as to how much further the internet crackdown in Russia will go. Federation Council member Maxim Kavdzharadze attracted derision at the end of April with his suggestion that Russia should create a domestic “intranet” named after a famous fuzzy Russian cartoon character, “Cheburashka.” While the comment became the butt of jokes, an April 29th report by the newspaper Kommersant cited high-level sources indicating that a working group under the administration of the president has been developing a proposal for a massive change in the structure of Russia’s domestic internet.

 

[...]

 

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