Igor Kalyapin: "The law on foreign agents is not a legal mechanism but a truncheon"


11 February 2016

Yesterday the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation held a special meeting dedicated to reviewing the  legislative proposal on introducing changes to the Federal law «On non-commercial organizations» in the part of adjusting the notion of political activity. 

The Chairman of the INGO «Committee for Prevention of Torture» shared his impressions about the past event: 

«Yesterday’s speech of head of the Ministry of Justice Department for work with non-commercial organizations Vladimir Titov produced a grave impression. Titov put it straight that the notion «political activity» as it is defined in the legislative draft will be applied only for non-commercial organizations. These categories will not be applied to other parties who are prohibited from political activity, for example, judges.

The State Duma deputy Yaroslav Nilov explained that this law was a reaction to geopolitical challenges and confrontation with the West. The deputy said that non-commercial organizations were tools of Western influence targeted against Russia. 

Only one bitter conclusion can be drawn from all this – the law on foreign agents is created not as a legal mechanism but as a truncheon, as grounds for applying sanctions. And it will be applied against anyone, depending on the «class perception» and «political expediency» as they are perceived by our «conservators» who apparently lost their marbles. In this context it becomes clear that hypothesis and of the legal norm are simply not required and the more vague and universal they are the better for the law enforcer. The good thing about a truncheon is that it can be used against anyone. The only important part of the legal norm is the one containing sanctions. The meaning of this law is quite simple – anyone who receives foreign financing CAN be declared a foreign agent. The decision on whether or not this «law» is used against an organization depends on the degree of taste and viciousness of some official».

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