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Elena Panfilova (Transparency International — Russia) on the inspections and ‘foreign agents’

8 May 2013

Source: (via Facebook)

By Elena Panfilova 

What is important in all this is the bottom line. The last two weeks I’ve done nothing but prepare idiotic papers, run around, my tongue hanging out, carrying these papers to official offices, and then discussing all this running around with staff, colleagues and the media. And do you know what? I say this quite seriously, I clearly and plainly state (and for me now it is extremely important to say this now loudly and plainly, and then to be quiet – perhaps for a long time): by about the end of the autumn there won’t remain a SINGLE independent NGO left in our country. Not one. That’s to say none at all. Not one. Period. 

A couple of organizations will throw themselves on the mercy of the authorities. Some will die out without financing. Others will close themselves down, not wanting to become so-called ‘foreign agents’. And the activity of the most (uncompromising – crossed out) senselessly stubborn will be stopped, and their leaders will be sent to prison for two years. I repeat again: in all this business with NGOs, at the end there is a choice you have to make for yourself: either to close down one’s own organization or to be prosecuted and face two years in prison. There are no other variants. Not for anyone. I think that not everyone understands this, but that is the bottom line. 

And another thing about the bottom line: yesterday when I was asked a question by a journalist I just didn’t say anything. "And society?” the journalist asked, ‘Will society intercede for you when it sees what is happening? Those people who you defended all these years? Ordinary people? Will they take action to defend you?" And my silence at this point was intentional, and in self-defence. Because no, they won’t take any action on our behalf. They won’t do anything. And that is OK. That that’s how it is. No one is to blame for this, and this isn’t even really a problem. That is what things are like at present, it is a phase of history, and we are inside this history. We just have to learn to live with this. And so I am going to learn about this. I’m going to be silent. And to think about the choice ahead. Excuse me, please.


Elena Panfilova is General Director, Transparency International - Russia