MOSCOW, June 22 (RAPSI) – A Moscow magistrate court has fined the Liberal Mission Foundation, an NGO that provides a platform for debate among liberal-minded economists, political scientists and sociologists and that is linked to the Dynasty Foundation, 300,000 rubles ($5,600) for refusing to register as a foreign agent in violation of the federal law, RAPSI learnt in the court on Monday.
The Liberal Mission Foundation was established in 2000 to formulate a liberal ideology and to substantiate a liberal political platform for modern Russia. It is headed by renowned economist and former economics minister Yevgeny Yasin. It was financed by Dmitry Zimin’s Dynasty foundation.
The Dynasty foundation distributed grants and stipends to scientists and students and funded scientific publications and seminars. It was supported by Dmitry Zimin, who sold his stake in Russian mobile telecom firm Vimpelcom in 2001 and has since been involved in philanthropy.
To be able to continue working in Russia, Liberal Mission is considering the possibility of rejecting funds that are considered to come from foreign sources, Yasin said.
On June 17, Dynasty was fined 300,000 rubles for violating the law on NGOs. The Justice Ministry’s audit in April allegedly showed that Dynasty received financing from foreign sources, and also that it was involved in funding political activity.
The ministry’s decision provoked sharp criticism from human rights activists and experts.
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Dynasty was “one of the most successful [NGOs] in Russia” and praised its educational and research programs. He said he hoped that Dynasty would continue working even after being listed as a foreign agent.
Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told RIA Novosti that there could be no mistake in placing these two NGOs on the list because they were thoroughly checked.
Dynasty Executive Director Anna Piotrovksya said in early June that a decision on the foundation’s activity could be taken in a month or two.
Since November 2012, political NGOs funded from abroad were required by law to register as foreign agents. In June 2013, the Justice Ministry was granted authority to classify NGOs as foreign agents at its own discretion and it subsequently included a number of organizations in its register.