From NGOs to Spies in Russia
A new bill of Russian Duma could have a destroying effect on Russian NGOs working in different spheres of civil society and receiving funding from abroad. What does it all mean? First of all, all NGOs accepting financial aid from abroad and engaged in political activities will be called "foreign agents" or "spies" which is more true to life. Needless to say a "new name" would create a certain negative image of non-governmental organizations in society and would bring about changes in their budget, policy and structure. Secondly, they would have to publish biannual report about their activities and audit and register as foreign agents in the Ministry of Justice. Finally, the NGOs would undergo a certain "check up" without warning several times a year.
All this really means " shutting down" and "numbing" the activities of NGOs working on ecological issues, human rights in Russia. It is another half-baked idea to control the civil society groups and limit their activities within the country. Many NGOs work with the most vulnerable groups in society-orphans, children, the elderly, they defend those who cannot speak for themselves. They do not get much or even no help from the government and now they are to lose their ultimate source of support and finance from abroad. Where will it lead us all? That's the beginning that came with the new elections.Is it the end of " intercultural dialogue" and " international cooperation of civil society"? What will come next? Shutting the frontier or access to the world web?
Many people have signed a petition to ban this bill, but how it will influence the situation nobody knows. Will it bring any slight changes at all or is it the new governmental policy that we are starting to get acquainted with?