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Prosecutor General's Office tells human rights activists about foreign-founded NGOs

August 23, 2013, 11:03 UTC+3

The regional prosecutor’s offices selectively examined only about 1 thousand organizations

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The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on Thursday reported to the Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) on the results of inspections of NGOs. Representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office Alexei Zhafyarov said that in Russia 2,200 NGOs received funding from abroad, and only 22 of them were recognized as foreign agents. The HRC members made the conclusion that the law on NGOs requires revision. HRC head Mikhail Fedotov suggested at a meeting with the RF president on September 4 to raise the question of the “creation of a working group that will deal with amending the law on NGOs.”

The regional prosecutor’s offices, he said, “selectively examined only about 1 thousand organizations,” the Kommersant daily quotes Alexei Zhafyarov, who is deputy head of the Prosecutor’s Office department for supervision over the execution of the laws on federal security, international relations, combating extremism and terrorism. “More than 500 law violations were exposed, two NGOs were recognized as terrorist, one - as extremist, six criminal cases were opened over the activities of extremist organizations,” said Mr. Zhafyarov. According to him, the prosecutor’s office recognized only 22 NGOs as foreign agents; warnings were issued to 193 NGOs.

“The law requires a fundamental transformation,” HRC Mikhail Fedotov said. He proposed at a meeting with Vladimir Putin on September 4 to raise the issue of creating a “working group that will deal with amending the law on NGOs.”

Alexei Zhafyarov, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper stresses, tried to sweeten the pill, telling members of the Presidential Council that there will be no new wave of inspections of NGOs in Russia for compliance with the “law on foreign agents” so far: “There are no such plans.”

During the checks, the Prosecutor General’s Office not only confirmed President Vladimir Putin’s data of the transfer to Russian NGOs from abroad of a billion dollars, but also found, referring to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (FFMS) that this figure was underestimated. “It turned out that the sum considerably exceeded one billion dollars and there were much more organizations,” Zhafyarov said. The newspaper recalls that on April 5 Vladimir Putin said in an interview with German ARD TV and radio company that 654 non-governmental organizations that receive money from abroad worked in Russia: “Can you imagine the sum that was transferred to the accounts of these organizations from abroad just over four months since we adopted the law? ... 28 billion 300 million rubles - nearly $1 billion; 855 million rubles - through diplomatic missions.”

Zhafyarov corrected Putin: “The received funding was not 28 billion (rubles), but 34 billion.”

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