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Russian lawmaker Oksana Pushkina defends ‘effective NGOs’ labeled ‘foreign agents’

Russian lawmaker Oksana Pushkina, the deputy chair of the State Duma’s Committee on Family, Women, and Children, has criticized the government’s decision to add the anti-domestic violence advocacy group “Nasiliu.net” (No to violence) to Russia’s list of foreign agents.

On her Telegram channel, Pushkina called Nasiliu.net one of the best Russian civil society organizations helping victims of violence and underscored that this isn’t the first time an effective NGO has been added to the list of foreign agents “on the basis of anonymous denunciations.”

A week ago, the foundation Humanitarian Action, which offers medical and social assistance to people with drug addictions, and conducts prevention [work] for HIV, viral hepatitis, and tuberculosis, was recognized as a foreign agent. As a member of the board of trustees for the AIDS.Center Foundation, I am in solidarity with my colleagues, who will have to defend their good name in court.

Pushkina added that Nasiliu.net and a number of other NGOs working to combat domestic violence in Russia have repeatedly applied for presidential grants, but were turned down. As a result, they turned to international grant support, risking being labeled foreign agents.

These are fines, unbearable costs on bureaucracy, a public label that irrevocably closes opportunities to work with the local authorities.

Pushkina underscored that in recent years, the government has been issuing grants to public associations that advocate for traditional values. In her words, “there’s an extensive network of ultra-conservative foundations operating unhindered in Russia [and] enjoying foreign support.”

The law on foreign agents was adopted to identify civil society organizations that are financed from abroad and interfere in the political process in Russia. The foundation Nasiliu.net isn’t involved in politics, it only exists because the government isn’t conducting a systematic fight against domestic violence. I am deeply convinced that this organization brings great benefit to society by speaking publicly about the domestic violence problem. Their activities do not and cannot pose any threats to the state.

Oksana Pushkina

The Russian Justice Ministry announced that Nasiliu.net had been deemed a foreign agent on December 29. The charitable foundation Humanitarian Action was added to the list of foreign agents on December 21. 

Read more about Oksana Pushkina

We talked to the Russian lawmaker who's leading the fight against domestic violence from inside the system

Read more about Oksana Pushkina

We talked to the Russian lawmaker who's leading the fight against domestic violence from inside the system

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