Kremlin denies having seen appeal for clarity on foreign NGO funds
MOSCOW, April 11 - RAPSI. Despite reports that activists have appealed to President Vladimir Putin to substantiate his claims that Russian NGOs have received upwards of $1 billion from foreign donors, the Kremlin has denied having received any such request.
It was reported Thursday that an appeal spearheaded by the Memorial human rights organization and signed by representatives of 58 Russian NGOs was submitted to the Kremlin in light of Putin’s claim that $1 billion had been funneled into the country by foreign sources.
“When we see the letter, we can say something,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti Thursday.
The Memorial letter requests the immediate publication of a list of Russia’s 654 NGOs detailing the amounts received by each over the course of the past four months, as well as information on the activities engaged in as a result of the receipt of these funds.
The authors of the report claim that the total amount of foreign funds received is at least ten times smaller, and urge authorities to clear up any errors that may explain the divergent figures.
The law relegates politically active NGOs receiving funding from abroad to a registry of “foreign agents.” Once registered, these NGOs will face heightened scrutiny. They will be required to file regular disclosures with the government and to label all materials disseminated through major channels with their “foreign agent” status.
On Tuesday the ministry said the first NGO found to be violating the "foreign agent" law was the independent election watchdog GOLOS. An administrative case has been launched against the NGO.
Sweeping inspections of NGOs began in several Russian regions in late March 2013. Up to 2,000 rights groups and NGOs in Russia have been raided by prosecutors and other officials over the past several weeks, according to some estimates.