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Agents of the people’: Four years of “foreign agents law” in Russia


In July 2012, the Russian President signed into law a piece of legislation with a long and rather innocuous title: “On entering amendments to individual legislative acts of the Russian Federation in the part regulating the activities of non-commercial organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent (N 121-FZ)”. This briefing examines the devastating consequences of this law for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the length and breadth of Russia.

According to the law, any NGO that is registered in Russia and received funding from abroad will be labelled a “foreign agent” if they are engaged in what is vaguely defined as “political activity”. Such NGOs must be listed on the “foreign agents” register, which is administered by the Ministry of Justice.