Accessibility links

Breaking News

Radio Svoboda Charts NGO Crackdown In Russia

Oleg Orlov, who heads the human rights organization Memorial, stands in front of graffiti sprayed on the wall of Memorial's headquarters in Moscow. The graffiti reads (in Russian), "Foreign agent. Love USA." 21Nov2012
Thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Russia have been raided by law enforcement officials and subjected to legal scrutiny since the Russian government began to enforce its controversial "foreign agents" law earlier this year.

Groups engaged in environmental awareness, election monitoring, opinion research, human rights, civil rights defense and other activities that accept donations from outside of Russia are being pressured to register as "foreign agents" -- a Soviet-era term synonymous with spying -- or face severe fines that, for many groups, would mean their closure. And now the U.N. has interceded on behalf of two NGOs that have come under scrutiny after providing information for the Committee Against Torture.

Drawing upon reporting from its network of correspondents across the Russian Federation, RFE/RL's Russian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, has launched an "Authorities vs. NGOs" page on its website (Google Translate version) to provide a gathering point for the latest information about the crackdown and facilitate communication among the groups themselves.

The webpage is updated daily, and includes:

  • reports about Russian NGOs that are under pressure to register as "foreign agents"
  • features on the potential damage to Russian society as a result of the crackdown on NGOs
  • a table listing the status of legal proceedings against NGOs
  • a map of raids conducted against NGOs
  • a calendar of upcoming court hearings
  • a Twitter list of domestic and international NGOs under scrutiny in Russia that have Twitter accounts.

For news in all of RFE/RL's broadcasts regions and more, follow us on online and on Twitter and Facebook.