The first step was to force domestic non-governmental organizations in Russia to register as “agents.” Now Moscow has gone a step further and taken aim at foreign NGOs active in the country. According to freshly passed legislation, cooperation with foreign organizations is punishable by law.
Since 2012, when the so-called “agent laws” were passed by Russian parliament, all organizations within the country that received foreign aid were forced to register as “foreign agents.” On Wednesday, 12 foreign NGOs were placed on a blacklist, reflecting an intensified crackdown in Russia on activities that represent a “threat to constitutional order and national security.”
The list includes seven independent organizations based in the United States, including Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Two Polish organizations, including the East European Democratic Center based in Warsaw, and three Ukrainian organizations, including the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), are on the list. No German NGOs have been blacklisted.
The list is the result of consultations between Konstantin Kossatschow, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Duma’s Federation Council, the chief state prosecutor, the Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin’s domestic intelligence service.
“We decided to place these organizations on the blacklist, because they have used all means in an attempt to interfere in Russia’s foreign affairs,” Kossatschow told Interfax news agency on Thursday.