Russian police conducting “unannounced audits” on Amnesty International, human rights groups’ offices

posted at 7:21 pm on March 25, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Man, oh man — semi-to fully-autocratic, socialist-leaning, personality-cult pushing strongmen really do seem to just love a good conspiracy theory, don’t they? Most especially when it can help quell their country’s dueling factions by spreading a politically convenient “besieged fortress” narrative, with the good ol’ U.S. of A. playing the part everybody’s favorite imperialist aggressor (See: The real source of Hugo Chavez’s cancer, Exhibit A.) Russian President Vladimir Putin has long been a big fan of suggesting that America-funded nongovernmental organizations are just some kind of front for instigating a revolution against his precious regime — which, in practice, I suppose is actually kind of indirectly true, since a lot of these NGOs are human-rights groups dedicated to the rule of law, transparency, exposing corruption, and other such supposed offenses that threaten the stability of perfidious administrations.

Last year, the government signed off on a law that requires all NGOs with foreign funding to register as “foreign agents” (and yes, that is meant to be as pejorative as it sounds), and in the past month alone, Russian officials have randomly searched over two thousand NGOs, reports the Associated Press:

Sergei Nikitin, Amnesty’s Russia chief, told The Associated Press that officials from the general prosecutor’s office and tax police conducted an unannounced audit of his offices. Nikitin said the officials requested documents from the human rights watchdog that the government already has on file. …

Veteran activist Lev Ponomarev’s For Human Rights movement was also visited by officials and an NTV crew on Monday. He wrote a letter to the Moscow prosecutor’s office calling the search illegal, since prosecutors provided no evidence that his organization broke the law.

Public Verdict, a well-known human rights law group, was also searched Monday.

Putin has long been suspicious of NGOs, especially those with American funding, which he has accused of being fronts for U.S. meddling in Russian politics.

And what is it, exactly, that they’re searching for? Unclear, but perhaps they’re just looking for evidence to build up some kind of future case for coercion and/or intimidation:

Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Russia’s oldest human rights activist and the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, is concerned that the recent inspection of NGOs conducted by the law enforcement agencies may lead to the closure of many prominent NGOs in Russia. …

“All our accounting documents have been opened. Such inspections paralyze our operation. It may be a stage for some sanctions against human rights organizations. We’ll see if that will lead to nerve-racking or the closure of our organizations under any pretext,” Alekseyeva said, adding that the Moscow Helsinki Group is expecting an inspection in the next few days. …

“I will tell you one thing: We do not consider ourselves to be agents of foreign states and we will not register as foreign agents, no matter how they inspect us,” she said.

Putin hasn’t been able to claw back his sky-high popularity rating of his glorious yesteryears, by the way; it’s been on a steady and significant relative decline for a few years now — which makes the increasingly vigorous dissent-crushing all the less surprising.


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Obama is watching and taking notes.

Curtiss on March 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Rough neighborhood to play stickball in…

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Sadly when the axe falls, many in the NGO Community will find a way to blame the US and/or the NGO’s for this….IF ONLY they had been more “sensitive” or IF ONLY the US hadn’t done this or IF ONLY the NGO’s had been more ciritcal of the US Policy in (insert area here) then the NGO’s wouldn’t have been seen as the hand-maiden of the US….

JFKY on March 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Should have let Patton run wild on the Soviets then we might not have to deal with their crap.

ThePrez on March 25, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I don’t like how this thread bumped the Allah gay marriage one from the top spot. It’s like gay marriage doesn’t even get a chance around here.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 7:39 PM

I’m not a fan of AI.

Blake on March 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

We could have done a lot of damage when Yeltsin was in office. Hic!

Philly on March 25, 2013 at 7:42 PM

I support Putin in many matters; this none the least of them. Amnesty Int’l caused the US lots of trouble during the last decade, and those dirty hippies should be roughed up a bit.

Russia also has a flat tax and a president/PM that act in the best interests of the country. WISH that could be said for the United States.

antisense on March 25, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Man, oh man — semi-to fully-autocratic, socialist-leaning, personality-cult pushing strongmen really do seem to just love a good conspiracy theory, don’t they? Most especially when it can help quell their country’s dueling factions by spreading a politically convenient “besieged fortress” narrative
=========================================

Your on a word roll Erika,haha,and,it describes the Hopey
Regime!!

And WoodWard Intimidation Tactics comes to mind!!

canopfor on March 25, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Any day now, little Tommy Friedman will pen an article say “Oh! If only Barry could be like Putin for one day!”

GarandFan on March 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Good on them! Can they do Greenpeace over, next?

OldEnglish on March 25, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Good. We should do the same thing, and also with the rest of the NGOs. Can anyone name one time when amnesty international treated The United States fairly?

Old Country Boy on March 25, 2013 at 7:51 PM

So many isotopes, so little time.

wolly4321 on March 25, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Amnesty International is contradictory to its name. If they were concerned about freedom they would spend more time worrying about China, and Islamist nations, instead of trying to score points with their favored fascists. They worship murderers, let them rot in Russian prisons.

You reap what you sow.

Rode Werk on March 25, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Not really giving a $hit here.

BigWyo on March 25, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Last year, the government signed off on a law that requires all NGOs with foreign funding to register as “foreign agents” (and yes, that is meant to be as pejorative as it sounds),

They are foreign agents…

I’m sorry, but why American Conservatives go along with the globalist NGO driven war against Russia is something I will never understand.

You people are not fighting the right fights… the cold war has morphed conservatism into something it never was before the cold war.

ninjapirate on March 25, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Putin: “I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom.” Oh wait that was Bloomberg!

Christian Conservative on March 25, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Can anyone name one time when amnesty international treated The United States fairly?

Old Country Boy on March 25, 2013 at 7:51 PM

What do you mean by ‘fairly’?

and

Who give a squirt of pi$$ what they have to say anyways?

BigWyo on March 25, 2013 at 8:14 PM

I’d like to see someone go after the International Solidarity Movement, aka, Terrorists R Us.

Blake on March 25, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Putin endorses same comrade marriage?

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 8:22 PM

I wouldn’t give NGO’s a clean bill of health. Most, in my understanding, are affiliated with UN and/or progressive international activism. NGO’s are a progressive vehicle for subverting the sovereignty of the state.

petefrt on March 25, 2013 at 8:29 PM

I tried to care.

I really did.

Fail.

Solaratov on March 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

So if NYC traded Bloomberg for Putin, would anybody notice?

Fallon on March 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Any sane nation with a healthy instinct for self-preservation should be monitoring these types of groups. “Human Rights” groups are notorious fronts for interests that are much less noble and disinterested than their names sound. NGO’s and groups like Amnesty International are proven fronts for global Marxist networks or the CIA.

And many on the Right had no qualms with accusing Putin of having murdered the Russian anti-Putin journalist Litvinenko in that zany Polonium plot. Yet the same people scoff when it’s suggested that our own government would engage in targeted assassination.

Andrew Breitbart was murdered.

sartana on March 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

whatev, both AI and HRW are a pain, so no sympathy from me.

jimver on March 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Reminds me of a 1980′s Jefferson Starship song, “Stairway to Cleveland”.
F%#$ you, we do what we want!!

Colorado Anne on March 25, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Confession time: I used to actually think Shamnesty International was a worthwhile organization campaigning for innocent people.

MelonCollie on March 25, 2013 at 10:43 PM

I like the black turtle and the black sport coat; very snappy. Say what you will about thuggery, paranoia, and egomania, that guy always looks sharp.

stuartm650 on March 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

When this is all said and done they’ll go back to blaming Israel for all the words ills and just pretend like this didn’t happen.

heretic on March 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM

I’m sure the kenyan will take notes and implement the same practices. A bunch of unelected, job for life, feds that answer to no one and ignore all laws should be the perfect puppets to implement the program.

After all, “it’s for the safety of the children”.

acyl72 on March 26, 2013 at 7:17 AM

Obama is watching and taking notes.

Curtiss on March 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Why would he bother? AI guys will gladly support any tyrannical actions Obama take.

thuja on March 26, 2013 at 7:49 AM