Chelyabinsk's "Conscript school" listed as a foreign agent


Two nonprofit organizations working in Chelyabinsk - 'Conscript School' and 'Legal Mission' ('Shkola Prizyvnika' and 'Pravovaya Missiya') - have been listed as foreign agents by the Ministry of Justice. This was reported by the Ministry's press service.

Conscript School is engaged with human rights issues affecting soldiers and conscripts, while one of the goals of the Legal Mission organization is to promote a healthy lifestyle. According to the Ministry, the fact that these organizations have foreign agent features was established during unscheduled, duly documented inspections.

Chelyabinsk human rights activists say that they intend to appeal to the European Court to defend their rights.

Commentary from Alexey Kozlov, the expert of the project:

Listing NPOs that are beyond government control as 'foreign agents' is a common strategy of the Ministry of Justice. It is worth noting three relevant aspects of the country's 'foreign agents' situation (there are currently 144 of them).

Most recent listings were based on inspections which were triggered by anonymous calls from 'concerned citizens'. The inspections conducted by the Prosecutors and the Ministry of Justice are often followed by other inspections in which anonymity is excluded; details on the informants, however, are not disclosed.

There is a clear, yet illogical, regional pattern in the listing of 'foreign agents'. In other words, there are many 'agents' in some regions, but only one or even none in others.

And finally, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor's Office no longer care about the 'transparency' of the process by which they try to prove the existence of foreign funding. Suffice it to mention that a member receives his or her salary from a foreign-funded structure and membership fees. And that the nonprofit organization received 1 euro from a foreign account through an open fundraising system, etc.

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