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NGO Forced to Shut Following Court Ruling

Published: January 15, 2014 (Issue # 1793)



  • A 2013 anti-fascist vigil on Pionerskaya Ploshchad in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

The St. Petersburg-based Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial has closed its offices due to continued pressure from the authorities.

Most of its activities, however, are to be taken over by a new international organization, the NGOs former program director Stephania Kulayeva told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday. The new organization is to be called ADC Memorial but will be based outside of Russia.

On Dec. 12, Leninsky District court judge Anna Moroz declared the NGO a foreign agent, the first such ruling in Russia since legislation passed in 2012 requiring any organization which received foreign funding and engaged in political activity to register as a foreign agent. Large-scale inspections of NGOs to determine compliance with the law began in March 2013.

The NGOs report Roma People, Migrants, Activists Victims of Police Arbitrariness, which was prepared by the organization for the 49th session of the UN Committee Against Torture in 2012, was used as the chief item of evidence against the organization.

We have concluded all of our projects and let everyone go. ADC Memorial now exists as an empty organization in the process of being closed, Kulayeva said.

It still exists legally, but is no longer functional. Our website and our ongoing work will continue under the name of ADC Memorial, but as an international organization based outside of Russia.

We will continue to pursue ADC Memorials chief activities mainly the defence of vulnerable groups such as the Roma and migrants as well as other minorities. We had to withdraw from several projects where we needed to work closely with state institutions, such as schools and universities, but they also wont vanish, we simply wont be the ones conducting them.

According to Kulayeva, most of the groups analytical and human rights advocacy work will be conducted via its website.

Kulayeva said she would appeal the Dec. 12 ruling with the St. Petersburg City Court in the near future.

The bad news is that if the City Court agrees with the lower courts ruling, we will face criminal prosecution, she said.

That means we either have to fulfil the requirements of the ruling or hurry to close [the organization].

In a statement released on Dec. 31, 2013, ADC Memorial summed up the results of its activities for the nearly six years it had operated since opening in 2007.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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