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

List of Russian NGOs named “foreign agents” (updated)

Дата публикации: 


At least 38 Russian NGOs are found to be “foreign agents” as the result of inspections conducted by the authorities of the country. Here is a summary of administrative cases against and official warnings to organisations that are found to be breaking the “foreign agents” law.

Administrative cases (4 NGOs):

If the court finds them guilty of failure to register as a “foreign agent”, NGOs may be fined up to 500,000 rubles (about $16,000) and their leaders – up to 300,000 rubles (about $9,500).

  • “Golos” Association – protocol by the Ministry of Justice of 9 April  – the group drafted and promoted a unified Electoral Code and allegedly received prize money of the Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Golos was found guilty and fined of 300,000 rubles (its leader – of 100,000 rubles) by the Presnenskiy court of Moscow on 25 April, and appealed  against the court decision on 8 May;
  • Kostroma Centre for Public Initiatives Support – protocol by the Kostroma regional prosecutor’s office of 15 April; the group conducted a roundtable on US–Russia relations attended by a US embassy representative. Court hearings started on 29 April, postponed until 16 May;
  • Anti-Discrimination Center “Memorial” – protocol by the Admiralteyskiy district of St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office of 30 April; court hearings pending – the group gets foreign funding and published a report on police abuse of Roma, migrants and civil activists, which was presented to the UN Committee against Torture;
  • “Side by Side” LGBT film festival – protocol by the Central district of St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office of 6 May; court hearings pending; the group published a brochure “International LGBT Movement: from Local Practices to Global Politics” and participated in a public awareness-raising campaign “Let’s Stop the Homophobic Bill Together” (conducted in 2011).


Notices of violations (4 NGOs)

Groups are to “eliminate violations” (failure to register as a “foreign agent”) within a given term (one month).

  • “Baikal Environmental Wave” (Irkutsk) – 23 April – the group carries out “active advocacy on environmental issues”;
  • Human Rights Center “Memorial” – 29 April – group’s goals listed in the charter; carries out programs and projects on monitoring politically motivated administrative detentions and criminal persecutions, including “OVD-info”;
  • “AGORA” human rights association – 30 April – the group implements a project on Internet freedom funded by the Internews, which supports “the activities of lawyers capable of influencing policy and law enforcement practice” and aims at “forcing the adoption of regulations setting administrative procedures of implementing the law on Internet blacklists by the government and Roskomnadzor”; the group is also accredited by the Ministry of Justice as an independent expert having powers to conduct anti-corruption evaluation of legal acts and their drafts;
  • “Panorama” Center – 6 May – the group implements a foreign-funded research project analyzing political processes in Russia, which includes roundtables and discussions and publishing information on the websites that shapes public opinion on the drawbacks of acting legislation and the protest movement.


Warnings (19):

Groups are warned of a need to register as a “foreign agent” before they plan to carry out “political activities” or to receive foreign funding in the future.

  • Kostroma Soldiers’ Mothers Committee – warned on 16 April for involvement in election observation in December 2011 and March 2012;
  • Yaroslavl regional hunters’ and fishermen society – warned on 16 April for their charter provisions;
  • Democratic Center (Voronezh) – warned on 22 April for involvement in election observation in December 2011;
  • Volgograd Center for NGO Support – warned on 22 April; the group implements a public diplomacy project “Information Center on International Security” funded by the NATO information bureau, which has among its goals “information support to activities of the regional branches of political parties, representatives of the authorities, civil society institutions on topical issues of international relations and international security”;
  • Interregional Committee against Torture – warned on 22 April for “taking part in public events, which may be regarded as political activity” before November 2012;
  • Kaliningrad Community Foundation – warned on 23 April for “shaping public opinion” listed as one of the goals in the charter;
  • “Man and Law” (Yoshkar-Ola) – warned on 24 April 24; their charter says that the group’s staff “may take part in public events, meetings and rallies” and their website says the group “facilitates the observance of human rights by representatives of the state authorities”;
  • Institute of Press Development – Siberia (Novosibirsk) – warned on 24 April; their charter says that one of the group’s goals is “assistance to civil society development in Russia and strengthening democratic principles in the life of Russian society” and lists several types of public activities which the group may carry out to achieve it;
  • “Assistance to cystic fibrosis patients” (Istra, Moscow region) – warned on 24 April; their charter says that the group’s goal is “defending the rights and legal interests of cystic fibrosis patients in the state authorities” and for achieving this goal the group “may come up with initiatives on various public life issues, submit proposals to the state authorities, represent and defend its rights, the legal interests of its members as well as other citizens in the state and municipal authorities”; the warning revoked on 30 April;
  • Amur Social-Ecologic Union (Blagoveshchensk) – warned on 24 April; their charter says that one of the group’s goals is “assistance to the state, citizens and their associations in the activities aimed at preserving and restoring natural and cultural heritage, and sanitation of the environment” and lists several types of public activities which the group may carry out to achieve it;
  • Ryazan’ “Memorial” Society – warned on 24 April for the goals and types of activity listed in their charter;
  • “Golos – Urals” (Chelyabinsk) – warned on 25 April for charter provisions;
  • “Citizens’ Watch” (St. Petersburg) – warned on 25 April as the group “conducts public events, including seminars, publishes materials in the mass media”;
  • Urals Democratic Foundation – warned on 25 April for receiving of foreign funding;
  • Center “Transparency International – R” – warned on 26 April; both the goals set in the charter and its actual activities prove that it participates in shaping public opinion on state policies in law enforcement and other fields and influences the decision-making of Russian state authorities, including the adoption of legal acts;
  • Komi human rights commission “Memorial” – warned on 27 April as “group’s members in 2011-2012 participated in public and political actions, including protest ones, aimed at influencing the decision-making by state authorities”;
  • Kirov regional hunters’ and fishermen society – warned on 29 April for their charter provisions;
  • Urals Human Rights Group – warned on 29 April for receiving of foreign funding;
  • Muravyev Park of Sustainable Development – warned on 30 April; protection and research of birds are considered to be “political activity” because of a grant the park received from the International Crane Foundation.


11 more environmental groups were warned as “foreign agents” (no further details available):

  • “For the Nature” (Chelyabinsk);
  • “Green Home” (Khabarovsk);
  • Siberian Environmental Center (Novosibirsk);
  • “SPOK” (Petrozavodsk);
  • Kola Environmental Center (Murmansk);
  • Kola Center for Wild Nature Defense (Murmansk);
  • Amur Environmental Club “Ulukitkan” (Blagoveshchensk);
  • “Phoenix” Foundation (Vladivostok);
  • School of Soul Ecology “Tengri” (Gorno-Altaisk);
  • Protected Natural Areas Association of the Altay Republic (Gorno-Altaisk);
  • Center for Environmental Awareness-raising of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) “Eyge” (Yakutsk).