the Crimea and Foreign Agents: a T-shirt tells it all

April 1, 2014

As a result of the annexation of the Crimea, the Russian Procurator-General has found himself in a legal conundrum. The local NGO “Crimea Human Rights Centre” [CHRC] had for years militated in favour of the rights of the Russian speaking majority and insisted on the right to self-determination already in 2005 as the only way to secure their rights.

As the NGO receives funding from abroad (mostly from the Russian government but also from a rich businessman in Abkhazia), it had been forced on 2 February 2014 to register under the new Ukrainian “Foreign Agents law” [see my earlier post: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/ukraine-follows-russias-example-again-human-rights-defenders-labeled-as-foreign-agents/].

As a result, the members of the CHRC had even been forced to wear T-shirts with the text: “Foreign Agent”. With the integration of the Crimea, several staff members had stopped wearing the hated T-shirts but a certain, Aleksey Baburinko, one of the few Ukrainian human rights defenders left in the Crimea, lodged a complaint saying the CHRC still fell under the law on Foreign Agents, “either the Ukrainian or the Russian version”.

Today, 1 April 2014, the local Prosecutor’s office in Sebastopol issued a statement that wearing the T-shirts was no longer necessary but that the issue of registration would be referred to the new Russian Minister for Crimean Affairs, Oleg Savelyev, who has just been appointed.

Via http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/1april2014

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