4 February 2016
Source: Club of NGO Lawyers
In 2015, three Russian branches of foreign non-profit organisations were subject to scheduled audits carried out by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. Ministry bodies audited thousands of Russian non-profit organisations during the same period, some of which were compulsorily included in register of ‘foreign agent NGOs.’
According to figures published by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, over 200,000 non-profit organisations established under Russian legislation are currently active in the country, whereas only 115 subdivisions of foreign not-for-profit NGOs have registered in Russia.
In 2015 the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation carried out scheduled audits of the Russian branch of the international not-for-profit NGO Greenpeace, the Moscow branch of the International Academy of Architecture and the Russian branch of the foreign not-for-profit NGO Supreme Council of Muslims of the Caucasus.
The outcome of all these audits were warnings issued by the Ministry of Justice on the grounds that the statutory activities of these branches of foreign NGOs contravened the legislation of the Russian Federation; two NGOs were issued with statutory orders, and one was subject to administrative sanctions.
A case was also brought against Greenpeace in connection with an administrative offence consisting in a failure to submit information to the Ministry of Justice, but the organisation succeeded in having the case dismissed.
According to lawyers from the Club of NGO Lawyers, in 2015 the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation focused its efforts on audits of Russian non-profit organisations with a view to adding to its list of “foreign agent NGOs”.
Translated by Joanne Reynolds