European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decidedthat the Russian law on foreign agents violates the European Convention on Human Rights. 73 Russian NGOs filed a lawsuit with the court. The ECtHR decided to pay each applicant €10,000.
The head of the international group “Agora” Pavel Chikov told in Telegramthat the ECtHR also recognized the use of the concept of “foreign agent” as unreasonable and found a violation of freedom of association. In addition, the court considered excessive fines that are imposed on violators of the law on foreign agents. The decision will enter into force in three months, if it is not appealed.
“After the communication of the first group of complaints in 2017, the organizations presented a unified position in response to the objections of the Russian authorities. Unfortunately, the wait turned out to be too long, more than half of the applicant organizations were liquidated, and the legislation on foreign agents also extended to citizens,” Pavel Chikov added.
In June, the State Duma adopted two bills on non-execution of ECtHR decisions made after March 15 in the country. On that date, Russia filed an application for withdrawal from the Council of Europe (CE). Formally, Russia will cease to be a party to the European Convention on Human Rights from September 16, 2022, six months after its exclusion from the CE. The ECtHR said that until that date, Russians could continue to complain about violations of the convention.
On June 7, the State Duma adopted in the first reading the draft law “On Control over the Activities of Persons Under Foreign Influence”, summarizing the norms of the current legislation on foreign agents. It assumes that a foreign agent can be recognized as an individual or legal entity (including a commercial company), as well as any public organization, if they have received “support and (or) are under foreign influence in other forms.” The authors of the initiative hope to “close loopholes” for NGOs, the media and citizens who receive support from foreign sources. The State Duma also wants to ban foreign agents from holding protests, participating in educational activities and public procurement, being members of election commissions, donating money to political parties and keeping simplified accounting records.
Details – in the material “Kommersant” “Foreign agents are removed from rallies.”