MOSCOW, April 21 (RAPSI) – A magistrate court in the northern port city of Murmansk imposed a 50,000-rubles ($970) fine on the local environmental company for failing to label itself a foreign agent, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, citing Anna Kireyeva, a spokesperson for the company.
Bellona Murmansk, which has been added to the foreign agent list by the Justice Ministry following a surprise audit, failed to register as such because it was on the verge of liquidation.
“The company has been fined 50,000 rubles, which is below the lower limit but is commensurate with its offense,” Kireyeva said, adding that the smallest fine in such cases is 300,000 rubles ($5,810).
She said company lawyers are considering ways to restructure the company so it can continue in its pursuit.
The Bellona Foundation is an international environmental NGO based in Oslo, Norway. Founded in 1986 as a direct action protest group to curb Norway’s oil and gas industry pollution, it became multidisciplinary and international in scope and now maintains offices in Oslo, Murmansk, St. Petersburg, Brussels and Washington, D.C. The Murmansk branch was opened in 1990. Bellona Murmansk was registered as a Russian NGO in 1998. It monitors nuclear and radiation safety in the Kola Peninsula and also offshore hydrocarbon projects in the Russian Arctic.
Since November 2012, political NGOs funded from abroad have been compelled 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 included a number of organizations in its register.