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14 October 2016

posted 14 Oct 2016, 01:37 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Oct 2016, 01:37 ]
Only ‘Foreign Agents’ Share Stories About Happy Times in the U.S., Says Russian Court
Social media reposts about life in the U.S. are enough for an organization to be deemed a “foreign agent” in Russia, at least according to the Lenin District Court in Samara. On Tuesday, the court upheld the Ministry of Justice's August decision to include the “American Alumni Club” on the Kremlin's list of foreign agents for reposting two stories about American life on the social media website VKontakte. The court ruled that the reposts constituted “political activity,” in violation of a 2012 law that requires groups to register as foreign agents if they receive international funding and participate in political activity—a term that, through recent legislation and jurisprudence, has taken on an increasingly broad definition. So broad, in fact, that the term may be starting to lose whatever meaning it once had. As reported by the advocacy website Open Russia, the Samara court wasn't able to explain exactly what about the American Alumni Club's reposts violated the law, saying only that they included “material with stories about life in the U.S.” (The club's VKontakte group is now private.) The court fined Oleg Kokorev, the head of the club, 50,000 rubles ($790), and slapped a 300,000 ruble ($4,740) fine on the organization itself, in accordance with article 19.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “Violating the mandate of the activity of a non-profit organization, acting as a foreign agent.” [...]
Source: Global Voices [13 October 2016]