21 September 2012, 23:00

About "Law on Foreign Agents". Statement of "International Memorial"

On November 20, the Federal Law "On Amendments to Certain Legislative acts of the Russian Federation in Part of Regulating Activities of Non-Commercial Organizations, Acting as Foreign Agents", colloquially referred to as "the Law on Foreign Agents", comes into force.

This Law is anti-legal and immoral by its very nature. It is anti-legal, since it vests the executive power with prerogatives of the court. And it is immoral, since it a priori suggests that the organizations, which receive funds from abroad, act by instructions of their sponsors, that is, the cheap thug aphorism "You have to dance with the one who pays for your dinner" is proclaimed as the highest state wisdom.

In accordance with this Law, at any time, the "International Memorial", like any other civil organization that receives donations from abroad, may be requested that we put ourselves on the list of "Organizations-Foreign Agents", operating in the territory of Russia, and place the corresponding stigma on the books that we publish and on our websites. In other words that we recognize ourselves to be the organization that acts in the interests of some unknown foreign forces.

This assertion is a deliberate lie. However, the point is not only here. The "Memorial", being the organization dealing with the historical memory, shall remember and remind the society that in the recent Soviet and Russian history, campaigns around "foreign secret agents", allegedly operating in our country, have served repeatedly as propaganda support for state terror and persecution of dissidents. It is sufficient to recall 1937-1938, when hundreds of thousands of people were also forced to confess the fact that they had been "foreign agents"; and in more recent times, critics of the existing regime were often declared to be "hirelings of the West". Not to mention the fact that depravity of national consciousness by KGB's tales about "foreign agents" is a proven way to escape addressing real social problems.

The "Memorial" will not participate in the campaign, aimed at destruction of the Russian society, and will not deliberately disseminate false information about itself. Should the "Memorial" be demanded to put our organization on the list of "foreign agents", we will oppose it, in the first place in the courts. We are a human rights organization; and we shall do everything to protect our rights by using the law.

We do not assert that this is the only possible way. Naturally, each organization will decide by itself how to resist the absurd law. The strength of the civil society can be revealed not only through the unity but also through diversity of actions.

Of course, in all the cases, the natural norm of behaviour is mutual solidarity and support to those organizations, which will have difficulties after November 20.

We are confident that ultimately, the calmness and restraint of the Russian civil society will be stronger than painful fantasies of our law-makers.

Board of the International Society "Memorial"

September 21, 2012

Source: Human Rights Centre "Memorial"

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