Analytics and Interview

On 16 January 2015 late in the evening the website of the Ministry of Justice published a statement that the NGO Committee Against Torture had been added to the register of non-profit organizations designated as ‘foreign agents’.
Tanya Lokshina is the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch and Honorary Participant of International Youth Human Rights Movement: As the crisis in Ukraine escalated this spring, the Kremlin’s vicious crackdown on civil society also escalated. Space for independent civic activity in Russia is shrinking dramatically, but international policymakers and the media have been understandably too distracted to do much about it. Since early spring, it seems as though every week brings a new pernicious law or legislative proposal.
Earlier this year, the correspondent of Youth Human Rights Movement from Germany Jakob Stürmann interviewed Konstantin Baranov, member of the Coordination Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement. They discussed so called “law against homosexual propaganda” and the overall situation of LGBT in Russia.  

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Oleg Sentsov, Olexander Kolchenko, Hennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksiy Chyrniy have been held in Russian jails for two years already under fabricated charges of ‘terrorism’. We consider it being necessary to express solidarity with those who are persecuted due to their pro-Ukrainian views, civic stand and desire for freedom in Russia-annexed Crimea.
Helsinki Committee of Armenia has published “Human Rights in Armenia 2014” Annual Report. The report reflects on the Right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Political Persecutions, Freedom of Conscience and Religion, The Rights of the Child, Protection of Labor Rights.
«We have a few questions for you,» a border guard told Sinaver Kadyrov, a Crimean Tatar activist, at the Armyansk checkpoint in northern Crimea on Jan. 23. Kadyrov was on his way to Kherson, in southern Ukraine, to fly to Turkey for medical treatment. It was the beginning of an ordeal that ended with a local court expelling him from Crimea, his home of almost 25 years.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.

Mark Twain


Youth Human Rights Movement

Civil Petitions: Petition against Proposed Increase in Compulsory Insurance Contributions by Non-Profits


To: Dmitry Anatolievich Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, 103132 Moscow, Old Square, 4

Dear Dmitry Anatolievich!

We, as representatives of non-profit organizations, direct your attention to the negative consequences for non-profits of raising the aggregate tariff of insurance contributions from 1 January 2011 and call on you to support the amendments to Federal Law No. 212 on maintaining the lower tariff for payment of insurance contributions for non-profits. In accordance with the Federal Law “On Insurance Contributions to the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation, the Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation, the Federal Fund of Compulsory Medical Insurance and territorial funds of compulsory medical insurance” of 24 July 2009, the aggregate tariff of insurance contributions to state extra-budgetary funds from 1 January 2011 instead of 26,2% and 14% will be 34,2%. This will apply without exception to all organizations – both those on the general tax regime, and those on the simplified tax regime.

In recognition of the negative consequences of a sharp increase in the tariff of insurance contributions for organizations, the Government of the Russian Federation proposed support in the form of reductions in the rate of payment of insurance contributions for certain categories of organizations working in areas of activity that, in the Government’s view, should be prioritized (media, information technology innovation, organizations of people with disabilities). However, socially-oriented non-profits were not included in this category.

At the same time, statements made by you on more than one occasion, the passing in April 2010 of the Federal Law “On Supporting socially-oriented Non-Profit Organizations” and the active participation of government bodies in the drafting of a programme to support organizations of this kind, as well as the plans to transfer to non-profit organizations parts of the responsibilities of providing social services to the public, confirm that the activities of non-profit organizations are recognized as among the most promising directions of modernization of state social policy. The main resource that non-profits offer to assist their beneficiaries is the work of specialists, social workers, teachers, psychologists and researchers. Salary payments constitute the largest budgetary item and the biggest category of current expenditure of non-profit organizations. For this reason, raising the tariff of insurance contributions will have an extremely negative impact both on the work of all organizations and on the situation of numerous beneficiaries of non-profit organizations, such as those with disabilities, senior citizens, orphans, people in difficult life situations, and other unprotected social groups. Moreover, as research and opinion surveys show, as a result of increasing the cost of the work of non-profit organizations, there may be a sharp reduction in donations and a significant number of non-profits may be closed,

In the views of experts, if current tariffs for non-profits are maintained, the size of the loss to the federal budget could be from 4 to 8 billion roubles a year. However, the negative consequences of the reduction in social services provided by non-profit organizations, and, as a result, the deterioration in the situation of socially unprotected social groups, are incommensurable with the possible reductions in the budgetary revenue incomes.

We urgently ask you to take the following steps:

- support the amendments to Federal Law No. 212 on maintaining the lower rate of insurance payments for non-profit organizations;
- give an instruction to the Government of the Russian Federation to prepare in as short a time as possible a time frame and procedure for drawing up a register of socially-oriented organizations, that will ensure a declaratory order of including non-profit organizations in the given register;
- take under your personal supervision issues related to the support of socially-oriented non-profit organizations, including with regard to the reform of legislation to implement the clauses of Federal Law No. 7 on providing socially-oriented non-profit organizations reductions in taxes and dues.

The Appeal has already been signed by:

- Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Moscow;
- Agency for Social Information, Moscow;
- Donors’ Forum, Moscow;
- City Philanthropic Foundation, Tolyatti;
- V. Potanin Foundation, Moscow;
- Civic Union Foundation, Penza;
- Centre for the Development of Non-Profit Organizations, St. Petersburg;
- Human Rights Institute, Moscow;
- Public Verdict Foundation, Moscow.


Signatories are being gathered from 7 November 2010 until 7 December 2010.

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