ST. PETERSBURG, May 16 (Itar-Tass) - Massive checks of Russian non-governmental organizations with the aim to find out whether there were any reasons to list some of them as foreign agents are not related with some political tasks, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told the ongoing international legal forum in St. Petersburg.
“If you wish to worm out my confession we pursued some political aims, I can tell you this was not so. We did not pursue such aims because we had not received such tasks,” Konovalov said.
“We, the Justice Ministry, did not plan a wave of inspections, we kept working within the range of our competences. When we were invited to work jointly with the Prosecutor-General’s Office, we agreed to work,” Konovalov said.
He linked the massive scrutiny of NGOs, which drew extensive comments from Russian society and other countries with amendments to legislation and the fact that such inspections had not been held for several years. A repetition of this situation is hardly possible in the near future, Konovalov said.
“Inspections will be more systematic, more rhythmical. But cancelling them altogether would be absurd. This is not the right way to go about this business,” he said.