The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office intends to inspect all 654 non-governmental organizations, which as Russian President Vladimir Putin stated before, received more than 28 billion roubles from abroad, for the period of time the law on non-governmental organizations – foreign agents is in effect. At the same time a report was posted on the website of the Justice Ministry with the main conclusion that additional powers are needed for unscheduled inspections of the non-governmental organizations.
Massive inspections of the non-governmental organizations were launched at the beginning of this spring, the Kommersant daily recalled. On Wednesday, spokesperson for the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office Marina Gridneva stated that “at first it was planned to check the observance of the legislation on non-governmental organizations in 20 regions in the selective way.” However, during the preparations of the inspections “the information came” that for the period of time the law on non-governmental organizations – foreign agents is in effect 654 organizations received “more than 28.3 billion roubles from abroad.” As none of these non-governmental organizations was put on the register of non-governmental organizations – foreign agents, it was decided to inspect them in all Russian regions.
Vladimir Putin was the first to state in an interview with the German television and radio broadcasting company ARD that the non-governmental organizations received “about a billion dollars” from abroad for the last four months. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov refrained from comments to the newspaper who in particular passed this data to the president, only noting that these agencies “use the information received from different channels in their activities.” He noted that 28.3 billion roubles is “a total sum”, which embraces all organizations that received the monetary funds from abroad.
Representatives of the human rights non-governmental organizations called the figure that the president named “absurd”. However, on Wednesday, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office stated that there are “no doubts” about the reliability of this information.
On Wednesday, State Duma deputy from the LDPR Maxim Rokhmistrov proposed to introduce responsibility for “the foreign agents” “for no registration and not making public those monetary flows, which are coming to them and how they are spent,” and to make the heads of the non-governmental organizations publish “their declarations on incomes and expenses” so that ordinary people were aware that the public organizations “are far from being poor.” LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky called to “shut down all organizations, which are connected with the foreign countries.”
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily noted that on Wednesday the Justice Ministry should submit in the court the protocols on an administrative offence committed by the association Golos, against which an administrative case was opened on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the non-governmental organizations denied strongly to recognize themselves as “foreign agents”, preferring to pay the fines and appeal to the world community.
Head of the CPRF legal service and State Duma deputy Vadim Solovyev, who is cited by the newspaper, said with confidence that the former sponsors of Russian non-governmental organizations will think twice before allocating the monetary funds to “the foreign agents”. According to a source of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, Putin wants to deplete financially the non-governmental organizations, which he finds as “a network”, which is masterminding the orange revolutions.
Head of the Centre of Political Information Alexei Mukhin shared Solovyev’s opinion, “It is probable that many foreign sponsors will refrain from any aid, finding the registration as “a foreign agent”.”
Upon the results of the previous year the Justice Ministry filed lawsuits to liquidate 8,916 non-governmental organizations from 212,680 registered non-governmental organizations, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. But this fact has no bearing to the current inspecting campaign. According to Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin, now the problems may emerge in 250 human rights organizations, which received the grants at different moments of time. If they are found to come under the effect of the law on non-governmental organizations they will have to register again as “foreign agents” and will be fined.