nsnbc : Russia’s Ministry of Justice added yet another NGO to the federal government’s list of NGO’s designated as foreign agents. This time around the SOVA Center was affected.
The Justice Ministry of the Russian Federation published a statement on the ministry’s website, explaining that it added the SOVA Center to the list of NGOs that are designated as foreign agents.
The SOVA (COVA) Center is a non-governmental think tank that conducts sociological research. The NGO’s primarily focuses its research on nationalism, xenophobia and racism in Russia.
The announcement that the SOVA Center had been added to the blacklist was made after an unannounced « inspection » of the center’s offices. Federal authorities have thus far not given any specific information about the decision to add the SOVA Center to the blacklist.
A blinding flash
The SOVA Center was first established in 2002 by human rights activists from the Moscow Helsinki Group and “Panorama” Center.
However, Russia’s 2012 law on « foreign agents » requires that NGOs that receive funding from abroad and engage in what has loosely been defined as « political activity » register as « foreign agents ». The registration incurs scrutiny that can be crippling for NGOs.
Earlier in 2016 the Justice Ministry also designated the Levada Center, one of Russia’s three largest polling agencies as « foreign agent ».
The Levada Center is otherwise known for solid research. In October the Levada Center conducted a poll and concluded that 48% of the polled fear that the conflict in Syria could lead to WW III.
There is no doubt that some international NGO’s have been conduits of « regime change » and « color revolutions ». Many Russians as well as independent international analysts who otherwise support the involvement of foreign-funded NGOs in attempted « regime change » and « color revolutions » stress that the Russian legislation is over-the-edge, counterproductive, and not least promoted by State media that use double standards with regards to foreign-funded NGOs.
In 2013 Russian State media, first and foremost Russia Today (RT) used western « pundits » to slam Greenpeace as « western agent » when Greenpeace activists launched an intervention designed to draw international attention to Russia’s Arctic “Prirazlomnaya” oil rig. Ironically the same media would again use « pundits » to promote activists, including Greenpeace activists who protested and launched initiatives against Shell’s oil drilling as in Canadian Arctic waters as « heroic environmentalists ».
CH/L – nsnbc 31.12.2016