Solidarity with the persecuted groups in Russia

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Two solidarity campaigns have been started to support NGOs affected by the latest persecution under the "[http://russlandantirep.blogsport.de/hintergrund-foreign-agents/ foreign agent]" law in Russia. In Germany [http://russlandantirep.blogsport.de a campaign] informs about the repression and political background, collects donations for the affected groups, spreads the word about concrete cases and activates groups to express their solidarity. Currently they focus on the persecution of "[[Russian human rights activists under pressure|Humanistic Youth Movement]]" (GDM) and the already as "foreign agent" declared "[[Revenge for successful campaign against Baltic NPP - Ecodefense has been declared a "Foreign Agent"|Ecodefense]]. Additionally an international solidarity campaign has been initiated by anti-nuclear activists demanding Ecodefense's acquittal of the "foreign agent" stigmatization in a [http://www.dianuke.org/international-appeal-in-solidarity-with-russian-anti-nuke-group-ecodefense-declared-foreign-agent/ multi-lingual appeal].
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Two solidarity campaigns have been started to support NGOs affected by the latest persecution under the "[http://russlandantirep.blogsport.de/hintergrund-foreign-agents/ foreign agent]" law in Russia. In Germany [http://russlandantirep.blogsport.de a campaign] informs about the repression and political background, collects donations for the affected groups, spreads the word about concrete cases and activates groups to express their solidarity. Currently they focus on the persecution of "[[Russian human rights activists under pressure|Humanistic Youth Movement]]" (GDM) and the [[PR:Russian government declares Ecodefense a 'Foreign Agent' for resisting construction of nuclear power plant near Kaliningrad|already as "foreign agent" declared]] "[[Revenge for successful campaign against Baltic NPP - Ecodefense has been declared a "Foreign Agent"|Ecodefense]]. Additionally an international solidarity campaign has been initiated by anti-nuclear activists demanding Ecodefense's acquittal of the "foreign agent" stigmatization in a [http://www.dianuke.org/international-appeal-in-solidarity-with-russian-anti-nuke-group-ecodefense-declared-foreign-agent/ multi-lingual appeal].
  
 
Since some time progressive Russian groups and activists are under oppression by the state's authorities<ref name="linksnet">http://www.linksnet.de/de/artikel/31300 as of May 25, 2014</ref>. With the "foreign agent" and "extremism"<ref name="DW">http://www.dw.de/russland-extremismusgesetze-weiter-versch%C3%A4rft/a-2680190-1 as of May 30, 2014</ref> laws instruments have been created to suppress and eliminate organizations and movements being critical to the state, but also any others bothering the political powers<ref>http://www.handelsblatt.com/meinung/gastbeitraege/nina-chrustschowa-putins-anti-extremismus-gesetz/7552500-2.html as of May 30, 2014</ref><ref name="DW" /><ref>http://www.sova-center.ru/en/misuse/ as of June 13, 2014</ref><ref>http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-ngo-gesetz-2 as of June 26, 2014</ref>. In this context legal organizations de facto get prohibited if they are classified "foreign agents", because under these circumstances the continuation of work is almost impossible. With vague accusations of extremism even individuals who made critical statements were threatened with perennial imprisonment and virtually vanished into thin air. Environmental and human rights groups as well as other progressive organizations shall be stigmatized spies<ref name="zeit-gesetzt">http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-gesetz-agenten as of June 26, 2014</ref> and discredited publicly<ref name="linksnet" />.
 
Since some time progressive Russian groups and activists are under oppression by the state's authorities<ref name="linksnet">http://www.linksnet.de/de/artikel/31300 as of May 25, 2014</ref>. With the "foreign agent" and "extremism"<ref name="DW">http://www.dw.de/russland-extremismusgesetze-weiter-versch%C3%A4rft/a-2680190-1 as of May 30, 2014</ref> laws instruments have been created to suppress and eliminate organizations and movements being critical to the state, but also any others bothering the political powers<ref>http://www.handelsblatt.com/meinung/gastbeitraege/nina-chrustschowa-putins-anti-extremismus-gesetz/7552500-2.html as of May 30, 2014</ref><ref name="DW" /><ref>http://www.sova-center.ru/en/misuse/ as of June 13, 2014</ref><ref>http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-ngo-gesetz-2 as of June 26, 2014</ref>. In this context legal organizations de facto get prohibited if they are classified "foreign agents", because under these circumstances the continuation of work is almost impossible. With vague accusations of extremism even individuals who made critical statements were threatened with perennial imprisonment and virtually vanished into thin air. Environmental and human rights groups as well as other progressive organizations shall be stigmatized spies<ref name="zeit-gesetzt">http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-gesetz-agenten as of June 26, 2014</ref> and discredited publicly<ref name="linksnet" />.
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[http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foreign+agent "The Free Dictionary" explains "foreign agent"] as "(military) a secret agent hired by a state to obtain information about its enemies or by a business to obtain industrial secrets from competitors". "Spy" and "undercover agent" are offered as synonyms.<ref> http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foreign+agent as of May 25, 2014</ref> According to the Russian definition "foreign agents" are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving sponsorship or other support from abroad<ref>http://www.transparency.org.ru/en/news/threats-to-civil-society-space as of May 25, 2014</ref><ref name="zeit-gesetzt" /> and being politically active<ref name="nuclear-heritage">http://www.nuclear-heritage.net/index.php?title=Update_on_repression_against_environmental_groups_in_Russia&oldid=72070 as of May 25, 2014</ref><ref name="MoscowTimes">http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/ngos-in-russia-could-be-labeled-foreign-agents-without-their-consent/501560.html as of June 14, 2014</ref><ref name="zeit-ngo">http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-ngo-gesetz as of June 26, 2014</ref>. Due to the political situation in Russia and the financial precarious circumstances of many people there, it is obvious that political independent work without support from groups and activists in other countries is difficult. Thus, many, maybe post of these politically independent, critical organizations in Russia are threatened by the "foreign agent" law.<ref name="Gespraeche">source: talks with Russian activists in spring 2014 and the year before</ref>
 
[http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foreign+agent "The Free Dictionary" explains "foreign agent"] as "(military) a secret agent hired by a state to obtain information about its enemies or by a business to obtain industrial secrets from competitors". "Spy" and "undercover agent" are offered as synonyms.<ref> http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foreign+agent as of May 25, 2014</ref> According to the Russian definition "foreign agents" are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving sponsorship or other support from abroad<ref>http://www.transparency.org.ru/en/news/threats-to-civil-society-space as of May 25, 2014</ref><ref name="zeit-gesetzt" /> and being politically active<ref name="nuclear-heritage">http://www.nuclear-heritage.net/index.php?title=Update_on_repression_against_environmental_groups_in_Russia&oldid=72070 as of May 25, 2014</ref><ref name="MoscowTimes">http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/ngos-in-russia-could-be-labeled-foreign-agents-without-their-consent/501560.html as of June 14, 2014</ref><ref name="zeit-ngo">http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-ngo-gesetz as of June 26, 2014</ref>. Due to the political situation in Russia and the financial precarious circumstances of many people there, it is obvious that political independent work without support from groups and activists in other countries is difficult. Thus, many, maybe post of these politically independent, critical organizations in Russia are threatened by the "foreign agent" law.<ref name="Gespraeche">source: talks with Russian activists in spring 2014 and the year before</ref>
  
 
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Already in connection to the first reading of the draft of law in State Duma in July 2012 oppositional parties protested in the parliament as well as non-governmental organizations outside the building. There was also criticism against the law<ref name="rbth-register">http://rbth.asia/articles/2012/07/09/ngos_must_register_as_foreign_agents_15707.html as of May 25, 2014</ref> by Tatyana Morshchakova, one of the authors of the Russian constitution, and by the Kremlin's advisory Human Rights Council. Russian human rights organizations consider the law illegitimate and in contradiction with the basic rights<ref>http://www.constitution.ru/de/part2.htm as of June 27, 2014</ref> guaranteed by the Russian constitution<ref name="ngos" />. In the Russian lower house it had been supported already by a majority of the representatives. The governmental party "United Russia" ruling a majority in the parliament had introduced the proposal for the law. Official it is supposed to prevent foreign states to impact the Russian home affairs.<ref name="zeit-ngo" /><ref name="ngos" /><ref name="rbth-register" />
 
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Revision as of 10:05, 3 July 2014

Two solidarity campaigns have been started to support NGOs affected by the latest persecution under the "foreign agent" law in Russia. In Germany a campaign informs about the repression and political background, collects donations for the affected groups, spreads the word about concrete cases and activates groups to express their solidarity. Currently they focus on the persecution of "Humanistic Youth Movement" (GDM) and the already as "foreign agent" declared "Ecodefense. Additionally an international solidarity campaign has been initiated by anti-nuclear activists demanding Ecodefense's acquittal of the "foreign agent" stigmatization in a multi-lingual appeal.

Since some time progressive Russian groups and activists are under oppression by the state's authorities[1]. With the "foreign agent" and "extremism"[2] laws instruments have been created to suppress and eliminate organizations and movements being critical to the state, but also any others bothering the political powers[3][2][4][5]. In this context legal organizations de facto get prohibited if they are classified "foreign agents", because under these circumstances the continuation of work is almost impossible. With vague accusations of extremism even individuals who made critical statements were threatened with perennial imprisonment and virtually vanished into thin air. Environmental and human rights groups as well as other progressive organizations shall be stigmatized spies[6] and discredited publicly[1].

Background

In the United States of America a similar law exists enacted 1938 as a measure against Third Reich propagandists. The description of elements of an offense, registration enforcement and threat of imprisonment sound similar. To date in the USA this regulation originally declared an anti-Nazi law is still in force. Later the law was amended several times, and used for instance for the anti-Cuba policy of the US government.[7] In Russia in 2012[8][9][10][11] this idea was copied[12][13], but is directed primarily not against Nazis, but against any kind of political active organizations and their activists. Organizations engaging for the protection of human rights were one of the main targets of the "foreign agent" legislation[14]. The law had been created after the protests against irregularities during the Russian presidential elections in March 2012, where election observation NGOs had accompanied the process critically and indicated manipulations[6][15][16]. The Russian president Vladimir Putin imputed the strong protest movement to be initiated by the West. Before the introduction of the "foreign agent" law he already had initiated a drastic aggravation of the right to demonstrate.[16]

"The Free Dictionary" explains "foreign agent" as "(military) a secret agent hired by a state to obtain information about its enemies or by a business to obtain industrial secrets from competitors". "Spy" and "undercover agent" are offered as synonyms.[17] According to the Russian definition "foreign agents" are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving sponsorship or other support from abroad[18][6] and being politically active[19][20][16]. Due to the political situation in Russia and the financial precarious circumstances of many people there, it is obvious that political independent work without support from groups and activists in other countries is difficult. Thus, many, maybe post of these politically independent, critical organizations in Russia are threatened by the "foreign agent" law.[21]

Already in connection to the first reading of the draft of law in State Duma in July 2012 oppositional parties protested in the parliament as well as non-governmental organizations outside the building. There was also criticism against the law[22] by Tatyana Morshchakova, one of the authors of the Russian constitution, and by the Kremlin's advisory Human Rights Council. Russian human rights organizations consider the law illegitimate and in contradiction with the basic rights[23] guaranteed by the Russian constitution[9]. In the Russian lower house it had been supported already by a majority of the representatives. The governmental party "United Russia" ruling a majority in the parliament had introduced the proposal for the law. Official it is supposed to prevent foreign states to impact the Russian home affairs.[16][9][22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.linksnet.de/de/artikel/31300 as of May 25, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.dw.de/russland-extremismusgesetze-weiter-versch%C3%A4rft/a-2680190-1 as of May 30, 2014
  3. http://www.handelsblatt.com/meinung/gastbeitraege/nina-chrustschowa-putins-anti-extremismus-gesetz/7552500-2.html as of May 30, 2014
  4. http://www.sova-center.ru/en/misuse/ as of June 13, 2014
  5. http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-ngo-gesetz-2 as of June 26, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-gesetz-agenten as of June 26, 2014
  7. https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Foreign_Agents_Registration_Act&oldid=128916972 as of May 25, 2014
  8. In spring 2012 the "foreign agent" regulation was accepted by the State Duma (Lower house of the Russian parliament), president Putin signed it on June Juli, and on November 21 of the same year it came into effect.
    http://in.rbth.com/articles/2012/12/28/russian_ngo_opts_to_be_registered_as_foreign_agent_21199.html as of May 25, 2014
    http://rbth.co.uk/news/2013/04/25/golos_association_ordered_to_pay_fine_for_failing_to_register_as_foreign_25447.html as of May 25, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 http://in.rbth.com/articles/2012/11/24/ngos_to_fight_law_branding_them_foreign_agents_19297.html as of May 25, 2014
  10. http://solidarity-russia.org/ as of May 25, 2014
  11. http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/putin-ngo-gesetz as of May 25, 2014
  12. http://rbth.asia/articles/2012/07/09/ngos_must_register_as_foreign_agents_15707.html as of May 25, 2014
  13. http://rbth.asia/politics/2013/09/12/foreign_agents_label_continues_to_attract_controversy_48755.html as of May 25, 2014
  14. http://7x7-journal.ru/post/42651 as of May 28, 2014
  15. http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-03/russland-praesidentschaftswahl-betrug as of June 26, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-07/russland-ngo-gesetz as of June 26, 2014
  17. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foreign+agent as of May 25, 2014
  18. http://www.transparency.org.ru/en/news/threats-to-civil-society-space as of May 25, 2014
  19. http://www.nuclear-heritage.net/index.php?title=Update_on_repression_against_environmental_groups_in_Russia&oldid=72070 as of May 25, 2014
  20. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/ngos-in-russia-could-be-labeled-foreign-agents-without-their-consent/501560.html as of June 14, 2014
  21. source: talks with Russian activists in spring 2014 and the year before
  22. 22.0 22.1 http://rbth.asia/articles/2012/07/09/ngos_must_register_as_foreign_agents_15707.html as of May 25, 2014
  23. http://www.constitution.ru/de/part2.htm as of June 27, 2014

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