Rus News Journal

The secret-service approach

this week the State Duma should countenance the law on creation of the register of the Russian noncommercial organisations which are foreign agents. However to take over the control of the authorities accruing civil activity, according to an observer " the Authorities " Dmitry Kamysheva, this document hardly will help.
the bill " About modification of separate acts of the Russian Federation regarding regulation of activity of the noncommercial organisations which are carrying out functions of the foreign agent " has been brought in the State Duma on June, 29th by group of United Russia party members led by the chairman of committee on security Irina Jarovoj and deputy Alexander Sidjakinym who has got wide popularity as the author of scandalous amendments in the law on meetings. The concept of the noncommercial organisation (NKO), " became the main innovation of this document; carrying out function of the foreign agent ": The project carries any to that Russian NKO, financed of foreign sources and participating in political activity in territory of the Russian Federation.

the organisations corresponding to this definition, will get under more dense control of the state. First of all they should put in voluntary the statement for their inclusion in the special register of the Ministry of Justice. Foreign agents will direct the information on the work to Ministry of Justice of times in half a year, and the detailed expense report quarterly (other Russian NKO once a year) reports on both points only. And all materials published or extended by agents, should " to be accompanied by instructions that these materials are published NKO, carrying out function of the foreign agent ".

their authors, certainly, have explained Necessity of such amendments the most noble reasons. So, the deputy Summer has informed that the new initiative " It is directed on maintenance of an openness and publicity in activity NKO " also will contribute in introduction in Russia " universal standards ". And deputy Sidjakin has assured that the project " at all does not forbid activity and does not restrain in the rights the non-governmental organisations ".

Apropos " an openness and publicity " truth, it is possible and to argue. After all the law in force about NKO, especially after its toughening in 2005 and so assumes an absolute openness: all data on activity and financing NKO take place in open access on a site of Ministry of Justice. So to learn about, a leah is financed this or that organisation by foreigners, and now with ease any interested person can. But " neushchemlenie in the rights " It, to put it mildly, a lie, at least, if to start with habitual representation that is considered such infringement presence at one persons in comparison with others of additional duties and the raised responsibility.

with additional duties of foreign agents have really loaded with all the heart. In - the first, they should is most often other NKO prepare reports for Ministry of Justice. In - the second, planned checks of agents can be spent " not more often, than once a year " whereas the others NKO under the law of 2008 " About protection of the rights of legal bodies at state control realisation " can be checked according to plan not more often than time in three years. And in - the third, amendments essentially increase number of occasions to off-schedule check of foreign agents which can be spent, for example, under references of citizens " about presence in activity NKO of signs of extremism " or according to state bodies about " Legislation infringement " (the others NKO can vneplanovo be checked only on demand of electoral committee and only about legality of offerings to political party or in selective funds of candidates).

But there is more to come, after all for foreign agents the bill provides much more rigid responsibility, than for the others NKO. We will tell, activity of the agents who have not registered in the register, can be suspended at once Ministry of Justice for the term up to six months (another NKO for any infringement at first takes out the prevention). nepredstavlenie the foreign agent of necessary data it is punished by the raised penalties at the rate from 3 thousand rbl. for citizens to 1 million rbl. for legal bodies (the others NKO will pay for it accordingly from 100 rbl. to 5 thousand rbl.) . And in the Criminal code there will be the new article providing for " malicious evasion from performance of duties of the foreign agent " punishment up to imprisonment for the term up to two years.

as to " universal standards " then authors of the project not without gloating admit that almost have word for word copied new rules from the law on check in of foreign agents (FARA), operating on territory " a democracy stronghold " the USA. But also in it United Russia party members dissemble: their formulations are taken from the first edition FARA accepted for struggle against nazi propagation whereas in 60 - e years of the last century and the law, and pravoprimenitelnaja practice have essentially changed (see the inquiry p. 22). The main difference between the American law and the Russian amendments consists that if in FARA the main criterion for organisation entering in number of foreign agents is its activity " By order of, to the request or directing instructions of the foreign principal " in Russia it is offered to use purely formal sign of reception of money from - for a boundary. As a result it turns out that, for example, struggle for fair elections or protection of human rights into number of interests of Russia do not enter.

other important consequence of the offered amendments is essential expansion of present concept " political activity ". According to the bill, that henceforth it is necessary to consider participation " in the organisation and carrying out of political actions with a view of influence on acceptance by state structures of the decisions directed on change of a state policy spent by them, and also in public opinion formation for present purposes ".

it is necessary to remind that in the beginning 1990 - h years of division of public associations on political and not political, as a matter of fact, did not exist: " To participate in formation of bodies of the state power " it was permitted to all organisations. In 1998 in the legislation for the first time there was a term " political public associations " presence in their charter of point about " became which main distinguisher; participation in political life of a society by means of influence on formation of political will of citizens, participation in elections in bodies of the state power by means of promotion of candidates, participation in the organisation and activity of the specified bodies ". And in 2001 branch process " politicians " from " societies " has come to the end with adoption of law " About political parties " according to which they became " a unique kind of public association which possesses the right to put forward candidates and on other elective offices ". Thus it was authorised to public organisations (and till now it is authorised) " To participate in development of decisions of bodies of the state power " and " to make offers in state power bodies ".

In other words, political activity until recently only participation in elections actually was considered, and all other methods of influence on authorities concerned especially public sphere. Now this concept is offered for treating in wider sense that allows at desire to carry to political activity hardly probable not any public activity.

in - the first, " influence on decision-making on state policy change " it is possible to consider any offer on change of laws whether it be amendments to the Constitution about restriction of powers of the president or the initiative about protection of the rights of invalids. And such offers regularly proceed even from the most apolitical organisations like fund Chulpan Hamatovoj " Present life " time and again the legislation calling for updating on health protection. Authors of the document, of course, assure that benefactors will not fall under the new law. But then it turns out that in amendments double standards are initially put: if you rescue children, you the patriot and if you defend a freedom of assembly that the foreign agent.

in - the second, under definition " public opinion formation " any public expression " approaches; reformatory " ideas we will tell, lecture in high school, interview in mass-media or performance at scientific conference. And even if any " political actions with a view of influence on state bodies " receiving foreign financing NKO did not spend, it can be all the same recognised by the foreign agent if its head has mentioned where - that in mass-media about necessity of perfection of the legislation.

In - the third, it is necessary to notice that speech in the bill goes exclusively about those NKO which wish to change carried out by the authorities to the policy whereas on preservation of an existing course it is not supposed to carry effort to political activity. So, the organisations supporting the power even if they are financed from - for a boundary, obviously will be not included into the register of foreign agents.

at last, in - the fourth, new definition of political activity if to conceive it literally, deduces from - under actions of amendments even some opponents of a mode. So, as common example NKO, borrow on money of foreigners, authors of the bill amicably named association " the Voice " organising supervision over elections. However to " to state policy change " " the Voice " just does not call: To the contrary, the primary goal of its representatives on polling districts consists in providing strict observance of existing elective laws.

However, in this connection it is possible to remember that the Soviet dissidents too demanded from the authorities only to observe the Constitution of the USSR that, however, did not disturb " to the most humane court " to qualify these appeals as anti-Soviet propagation. Therefore and Russian court, on humanity hardly conceding Soviet, can quite find out in struggle for fair elections of attempt " changes of an existing course " even if from this will be relentless to follow that the course assumes carrying out of dishonest elections.

however, in this legislative initiative it is much more important absurdities not available in it, and a question on that, what for it is necessary for the present power. (About that the inspirer of amendments is the Kremlin, bears not only prompt consideration of the project by the State Duma, but also the special closed briefing, on which " the Kremlin source " on July, 2nd in detail explained to journalists substantive provisions of this document.) In this respect experts have at once some versions.

the first of them consists that that amendments to the law about NKO, possibly, have been conceived as the asymmetric answer on discussed in the USA " the certificate Magnitsky " which assumes an interdiction for entrance to the country for the Russian officials who have been got mixed up in business about death in the Moscow pre-trial detention centre of lawyer Sergey Magnitsky and other infringements of human rights. As about possibility of the asymmetric answer representatives have exorcised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation right after unanimous approval on June, 7th " the certificate Magnitsky " committee on foreign affairs of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the USA. At first sight, these amendments (unlike a symmetric interdiction for entrance of Americans to Russia) really seem for the USA more notable as really complicate direct financing by them Russian NKO. But to prevent approval of sanctions such step hardly will help: More likely to the contrary, it only will convince congressmen and senators that it is necessary to talk to Moscow exclusively from a force position.

also the thought that inclusion Russian NKO in the register of foreign agents will automatically deprive of their foreign financing and #150 insufficiently convincingly looks; at least, from sources in the USA. On the one hand, the American laws really forbid to sponsor political activity outside of the USA (see article " Universal gardening " in " the Authorities " N26 from July, 2nd). And the fact of hit of any Russian NKO in the new register of Ministry of Justice already like would mean that this organisation politicises. On the other hand, the American courts are not obliged to take not so into consideration the Russian laws according to which, for example, remedial activity will concern policy sphere.

the Third version consists that the Kremlin counts on nervous reaction from NKO. Those who categorically does not wish to register in foreign agents, either will be closed voluntary, or will run into an interdiction because of law default, or, at the worst, will try to build any artful schemes of financing on which will be solemnly caught with all that it implies from here by repressive consequences. And, judging by the first reaction of some public men (poll see p. 24), such approach already works. But if representatives NKO calm down and will consult to lawyers they for certain will have also other variants like a re-registration as the commercial organisation on which new restrictions do not extend.

At last, the fourth and, perhaps, most logical explanation consists that the Kremlin in the work with a civil society is guided by the Soviet stereotypes, on which a word combination synonym the foreign agent in mass consciousness unequivocally is a word " the spy ". And, so, any organisation which has got to the register of agents, a priori should be conceived by the majority of Russians as concourse of enemies of the people that, by the way, will be co-ordinated and with the belief which has developed in the Russian tops what oppose the present power betrayers and " can only; najmity Gosdepa ". And the requirement of authors of the bill of, that these " najmity " by all means surrendered to the authorities voluntary, confirms fidelity of the authorities to one more Soviet principle according to which the recognition is " the tsarina of proofs ".

However, even of some NKO foreign agents, as a matter of fact, a little that will change the announcement. After all many supporters of the present power and now conceive opponents as enemies and betrayers irrespective of, on that whose money exist. And for opponents of the power foreign financing NKO is original " more likely; the quality symbol ". However, on supervision of the head of association " Agora " Paul Chikova, even representatives of traditional Putin electorate, " having got in next OVD " Distant " there and then forget about spies and follow the help " to independent legal experts. That is why universal check in of all NKO as foreign agents would become the best answer to the new legislative initiative, according to Chikova. After all it not only would secure them against punishment for evasion from performance of lawful duties, but also would force the power to be engaged in search of essentially new ways of influence on a civil society.