George Soros | Photo by EPA
Kremlin threatens anyone working with a dozen pro-democracy NGOs with up to six years in prison.
By Karen Shainyan
MOSCOW — Russia is moving to ban the MacArthur Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute and 10 other foreign groups under a law on “unwelcome organizations” adopted this spring.
The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, on Tuesday unveiled the initial names on what the Kremlin and its allies call a “Patriotic STOP-list.”
President Vladimir Putin in May signed the law, the latest step by the Kremlin to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations in Russia.
The others on the ban list are Freedom House, a U.S. democracy advocacy group; the U.S.-government backed National Endowment for Democracy; two arms of the main American political parties that help parties abroad, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute; the Michigan-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; the Education for Democracy Foundation and the East European Democratic Center, which are both in Warsaw; the Toronto-based Ukrainian World Congress; the International Ukrainian Coordination Union in Kiev; and the Crimean field mission for human rights, which is overseen by the Ukrainian parliament.
The list, which is to be voted on Wednesday, would be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office and the foreign ministry for inclusion on the official “unwelcome” register.
Under the law, anyone in Russia who works for or collaborates with these banned groups faces financial penalties as well as up to six years in prison.
Since the 2011 mass protests in Moscow against fraudulent elections for parliament, the Kremlin has steadily moved to crack down on dissent. The Russian parliament has passed laws that require any Russian NGO or charity that gets funding from abroad register as a “foreign agent” and that bloggers register with the state.