Published November 21, 2012
MOSCOW – Dozens of non-governmental organizations operating in Russia are refusing to comply with a new law restricting their activities as part of the Kremlin's crackdown on its critics.
The law, passed several months ago, obliged all NGOs that receive foreign funding and are involved in loosely defined political activities to register as "foreign agents" by Wednesday.
But Oleg Orlov, head of the prominent Memorial rights group, said his organization and dozens of other NGOs are boycotting the law because it seeks to stigmatize all recipients of foreign funds as spies. When Memorial staff arrived at their building Wednesday, they found the words "Foreign Agent (Loves) USA" spray-painted on its facade.
Critics say the law would give authorities the right to carry out continuous audits, virtually paralyzing the activities of any organization.