Ghost hunting: Public Chamber member criticizes the foreign agents bill

Ghost hunting: Public Chamber member criticizes the foreign agents bill

17 December 2020, 16:26
Now in this legislative initiative there are points under which even a member of the United Russia party (Yedinaya Rossia party) can be called a foreign agent.

Member of the Public Chamber Yekaterina Kurbangaleyeva shared on her blog her concerns about the notorious bills on foreign agents that the State Duma is going to pass:

Yesterday, during the hearings in the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on new draft laws on foreign agents, for a number of reasons, I was unable to speak. I would like to express my position here. During a short discussion with one of the authors of the package of bills, State Duma deputy Vasily Piskarev, the following became clear: the legislators themselves emphasize that their initiatives are AIMED ON NEW REGULATORY SUBJECTS - "unregistered public associations and individuals performing the functions of foreign agents". To my logical question, what are "unregistered public associations": a meeting of residents? gathering dog lovers in the yard? community on VKontakte or, scary to say, on Facebook? parent chat in the messenger? initiative group of voters? - was the answer in the spirit that it has not yet been determined. A general bewilderment: can this be determined first?

In this regard, I would like to voice and propose the following:

  1. In my opinion, there are NO “unregistered public associations” (hereinafter - NOO) as a subject of regulation in the legal field. And it should be REMOVED from the bill: there is no such subject of regulation. In any case, until a corresponding definition appears. It's like regulating the life of ghosts. Such a "ghost hunt". In particular, some positions of the bills sound at least strange when they try to extend such norms as the submission of quarterly reports and labeling of published materials to these very NOUs. Excuse me, are you serious? The IEO, by definition, does not have a bank account, they do not conduct financial and economic activities. They are UNREGISTERED.
  2. I am very worried that in addition to money and donations, "other organizational and methodological assistance" is indicated as confirmation of the performance of the functions of a foreign agent. What is meant by this? Methodical materials? Donated medicines? For example, in February-March of this year, patients with a rare disease were supplied with a charity batch of antibiotics from a Western pharmaceutical company. And the only way, taking into account our legislation, was to transfer this party through a charitable foundation. We suggest to REMOVE this "ORGANIZATIONAL AND METHODOLOGICAL HELP".
  3. TO REFINE THE DEFINITION “POLITICAL ACTIVITY.” Mothers of sick children who go to single pickets, stand in line at the picket site (now this is punished) and criticize the RF Ministry of Health - is this political activity? At the same time, we cannot forbid these mothers clinical observations of the drug carried out by a Western pharmaceutical company, and then, for example, mothers can run for parliament, exercising their active suffrage.
  4. Finally, let's take a look at HOW DETERMINED THE FACT OF DIRECT COMMUNICATION OF GETTING MONEY AND PERFORMING THE FUNCTIONS OF A FOREIGN AGENT. Now, under the norms of this draft law, anyone who took part in the work of an NGO, then, let's say, went to the elections (this is, of course, political activity). Meanwhile, this NGO received donations from Western companies or their Russian subsidiaries, for example, Coca-Cola or Shell, for social purposes. Moreover, even the majority of well-known Russian corporations have foreign participation. And, as Nyuta Federmesser rightly said yesterday, first of all, NGOs cannot check all the beneficiaries of the donor. And even ONF falls under this law. Secondly, NPOs are now rejecting any support if it is associated with other countries. And who benefits from this?
  5. Finally, NPOs are not only charitable foundations and organizations of people with disabilities, they are also associations, sports clubs, communities of small peoples, state corporations, institutions, among other things. It is very difficult to assume that they all have no connections with foreign partners. Anyone associated with the leadership of these NGOs can go to the polls. He now has to write "foreign agent" on leaflets. Are you sure this is correct? And if the opposition finds the fact of monetary / property relations with the organization, which is represented by the candidate from "United Russia", and demands that this candidate be labeled as a foreign agent, that will be a laugh.

By the way, in November the State Duma introduced a bill providing for the labeling "candidate-foreign agent". It will be very interesting to look at this, taking into account the entire pool of bills that have been created here.

I think that it is high time for electoral lawyers and political strategists to be actively involved. And the media need to express their position. How do you plan to enforce the labeling requirement?"

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