Staunton, January 19 – Squeezed by a November 2012 law that restricts their ability to accept money from abroad and the unwillingness of wealthier Russians to contribute to groups the Kremlin doesn’t like, an increasing number of prominent Russian NGOs are running out of funds and may soon be forced to close.
While that situation, highlighted in an “Izvestiya” article yesterday, is likely to please Russian President Vladimir Putin, it ultimately will harm many Russians who will no longer be able to count on groups who had provided them at least a limited amount of protection against the arbitrary and often cruel actions of their rulers (izvestia.ru/news/543183
Lyudmila Alekseyeva is somewhat more optimistic about the future than most, the paper says. She believes that the European Human Rights Court will rule in favor of the Russian NGOs and against the “foreign agent” law. But despite the unjust nature of that law, she says she and others will “struggle with it by legal means.”
Today, the “Svobodnaya pressa” portal carried additional comments about the financial plight of Russian NGOs (svpressa.ru/society/article/63364/
Orlov suggested that some wealthy Russians may want to support these programs that do so much good for ordinary Russians, “but they have been shown with the Khodorkovsky case what can happen to them if they begin to give money for projects that do not have the approval of the authorities.”
The Memorial leader said that it was still not clear whether there would be a mass closing of NGOs in the near future. “A repressive mechanism has been established which allows the authorities to put pressure on any human rights organization. It is in place. Will it be applied? We shall see. But it really exists, and the powers that be have all the opportunities to unleash it.”