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Russia's Justice Ministry blacklists Alexey Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation as a ‘foreign agent’

Source: Meduza

Russia’s Justice Ministry has added Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) to its list of so-called “foreign agents.” In a statement published on its website, the agency said only that an audit in Moscow has determined that Navalny’s nonprofit organization “performs the functions of a foreign agent.”

In a tweet, FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov said the organization is “funded exclusively by citizens of the Russian Federation,” and maintained that it's never accepted foreign money. Zhdanov calls the Justice Ministry's decision “just the latest attempt to strangle FBK.”

The Russian government enacted legislation against “foreign agents” in 2012, allowing the Justice Ministry to flag any nonprofit organizations that receive foreign funding and practice supposedly political activity. After an organization is registered as a foreign agent, it is subjected to regular and sometimes crippling government audits. The ministry's official registry currently lists 71 “foreign agents” (FBK isn't formally listed yet).

Since 2014, Russia's Justice Ministry has added dozens of organizations to its list of “foreign agents,” including human rights groups, charities, environmentalist organizations, and other groups whose work is supposedly supported by foreign grants.

During Moscow's summer 2019 protests, state investigators opened a criminal case against several top FBK members on charges of money laundering. According to police, staff deposited money into the foundation's accounts that was “obviously acquired by criminal means.” The Anti-Corruption Foundation has denied any wrongdoing.

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