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Ministry of Justice has included the interregional public organization "Northern Environmental Coalition" to the list of foreign agents

According to the Ministry of Justice, this is the third NGO in Karelia accompishing a function of a foreign agent

Information that the interregional public organization "Northern Environmental Coalition" (NEC) was included in the list of NGOs that perform functions of a foreign agent appeared on July 8 at the department site:

"In accordance with Federal law "On Noncommercial Organizations", 07.08.2015, "Northern Environmental Coalition" (NEC) was included in the list of NGOs that perform functions of a foreign agent".

The website also states that compliance of the organization with features of a "foreign agent" was found during the inspection of Prosecutor of Karelia.

A month ago, the online journal wrote that two non-profit organizations in Karelia come under check of the Ministry of Justice after anonymous reports to the prosecutor.

Then the head of the NEC Alexander Markovski informed "7x7" that the interest in their NGO appeared after "Forest Portal" (site created by the organization) began to post the news of protest actions in Petrozavodsk. In particular, the site covered a picket in support of Olga Zaletskaya and demonstrations for the resignation of the head of the region Alexander Khudilainen.

“Following these publications there were two complaints of Sergeev P. to the prosecutor. It was a classic appeal with the appropriate rhetoric: "concerned citizens asked the prosecutor's office to verify the presence of signs of foreign, US funding, the destabilization of our political situation, and so on,” Alexander Markowski said.

A month ago, the head of NGO could not believe that their organization may be recognized a foreign agent. Last fall, the NEC held planned inspection of the Justice Ministry. Then, the department concluded that the organization operates in accordance with the law and it did not found the signs of a foreign agent.

“On the one hand, we have nothing to do with it. But, apparently, there is a task to somehow affect the organizations trying to deal with its statutory objectives, regardless of what is happening around,” Markovski explained. “NEC was certainly never involved in politics. If we were, it would be seen and heard. After all, everyone can see and hear that we are engaged in the protection of nature.

NGO "Northern Environmental Coalition" was established on the basis of nature protection squads of Petrozavodsk State University, formed in 1996. One of the main goals of the organization today is promoting the identification, preservation of forests and sustainable forest management in the European North of Russia. According to the organization, it was able to enter into agreements with the major tenants of the forest fund of Karelia on a moratorium on industrial exploitation of the primeval taiga.

“All the NGOs can be divided into two types — with internal and external objectives. Internal is when people gather in circles of lawyers and develop internal targets community. And there are organizations with external objectives. They are created when people that are not satisfied and as citizens they come together to improve a state structure. And here are also two ways — you can collect money for treatment of children, and the people often fall for it. So, we agree that our state does not upgrade. It has money to help fighting somewhere, and no money to treat children. Such organizations are engaged in helping children without criticism. And there are such organizations like ours beginning to ask the state: "Guys, can we somehow restructure the system of public administration in order to have enough for our children to ensure that in difficult times they would be helped by the state?" Our organization with clear external objectives want to build a normal state with normal functioning nature conservation. It is very difficult in our country,” Alexander Markovski said.

NEC does not deny that the past two years, the organization has about 20% of a foreign funding. It is aimed at educational projects. With these funds NGO organizes seminars and meetings with experts from the field of nature conservation. According to Markovski, they borrow the best practices in Europe in order to understand how to work in Russia in the environmental field.

“Now I'm asked a question, what is so terrible in foreign agents, because, in fact, there are no strong managerial implications. We have four of the six employees engaged in bureaucracy and administration! Therefore, we can also bear other bureaucratic burden. But there is another thing: a law on the foreign agents is incredibly correct in terms of forced closure of such organizations, which are undesirable. He appeals to the stereotypes of the Russians. In Russia, word “foreign” and “agent” are the two most rough stamps. They clearly are read as negative, and it is in our minds. The analogy is simple: if a person will approach you on the street and say — "subscribe everywhere you’re a pedophile. No big deal, everyone knows that you are not, but you'll always walk around with a sign that you are a pedophile, no consequences — only the signature. “For me it's the same with a foreign agent,” Alexander Markowski commented on his position.

Note that NEC has become the third NGO in Karelia included in the list of foreign agents. Expert legal partnership "Soyuz" was recognized the first. And in June, Karelian regional public organization "Nuoro Karjala" has expanded the list.

Gleb Yarovoi, «7x7» 

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