In 2012, Russia passed the so-called “foreign agent’s law”, which transformed the structure of the Russian third sector, as well as everyday life for many non-profit organizations. The related legal amendments did not only invent a new legal definition — “an NGO, implementing functions of a foreign agent”. They also generated new types of law enforcement and court practices, (including unscheduled inspections of NGOs, and new fines), and more fundamentally resulted in the redefinition of certain basic legal concepts, such as of ‘political activity’. NGO representatives, foreign funders and other non-profit organizations argue that this law is repressive and that its purpose is to increase the government’s control over independent non-governmental organizations, and civil society as a whole.
Daria Skibo is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Sociological Research in St. Petersburg. Currently she is a Alexander Herzen Junior Visiting Fellow at the IWM.