III. Background

The worsening climate for NGOs in Russia has emerged in a context of growing authoritarianism in the country. In recent years the Kremlin has facilitated the dismantling of checks and balances on central executive power—the independent broadcast media, liberal opposition in the parliament, and direct election of regional governors. In addition, the independence of the judiciary has been compromised.2 Following popular uprisings in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004)—the so called color revolutions—that ousted governments following allegedly rigged elections, and were perceived to have been driven by foreign-funded NGOs, Russian government leaders expressed profound suspicion that foreign or foreign-funded organizations in Russia aimed to undermine the country’s sovereignty. The Kremlin embraced the need for a “managed civil society” in which the government supervises NGOs and closely controls how they lobby for policy changes.

The killing of award-winning journalist and human rights champion Anna Politkovskaia in October 2006, by perpetrators who remain unidentified, sent a chilling message to those activists who, like her, investigate government abuses. As Russia headed toward the 2007 and 2008 election cycle the government clamped down on Other Russia, an active and diverse opposition movement, and on public protests in general.

Dismantling Checks and Balances

When Vladimir Putin took office as Russia’s president at the end of 1999,3 a small group of oligarchs owned major media conglomerates, which in turn controlled Russia’s nationwide television channels—the primary source of information for the vast majority of Russians. These oligarchs also owned or controlled many of Russia’s radio stations, major newspapers, and internet publications. Although the oligarchs’ agendas heavily influenced news coverage, Russians nevertheless had access to a wide variety of opinions on television and in the print media; the oligarchs used their media to battle each other and the government.

When the second war in Chechnya broke out in autumn 1999, the Kremlin aggressively began to seek editorial control over the media, in particular national television channels. By mid-2003 all television stations with national reach had been placed under the firm control of the Kremlin or its supporters, as had most radio stations. Television news had become monotone, perpetually portraying the president in a positive light and avoiding criticism of his policies.4

In autumn 2004, in the immediate aftermath of the Beslan atrocity,5 Putin introduced a number of political reforms, including new election rules for the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), that made it significantly more difficult for opposition parties to get seats.6 In the 2003 election, representatives from nine different parties had won seats in the Duma, as did 71 formally unaffiliated candidates. By contrast, in 2007 only four parties won seats in the Duma.7

Another of the 2004 reforms provided for the appointment of regional governors, who had previously been elected by popular vote and to a degree had served as a political balance to the Kremlin.8

The independence of the judiciary has also been compromised in recent years. In the 1990s Russia’s judiciary made important steps to become independent both in law and in practice. However, since Putin took office, several high-profile cases—most visibly, the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, owner of the energy conglomerate Yukos, and the company’s dismantling—illustrate how political pressure is exerted on the judiciary.9

Crackdown on Dissent and Political Opposition

In 2007 Russian authorities cracked down on opposition political movements and on public protests expressing dissent. Police systematically harassed and detained activists planning and participating in a series of peaceful political protests called “Dissenters’ Marches.” The protests were organized by an opposition coalition called Other Russia and several other opposition groups seeking to protest setbacks in democracy in Russia.10

Protest marches took place in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and half a dozen provincial capitals. Authorities refused to allow or severely restricted the demonstrations. On April 14 riot police and special forces used excessive force to break up the Dissenters’ March in Moscow, beating numerous demonstrators and detaining hundreds. Authorities prevented observers and activists—including Other Russia’s leader, Garry Kasparov—from traveling to Samara to participate in a Dissenters’ March on May 18.11

In a case reminiscent of the Soviet era, Other Russia activist Artyom Baysarov was forcibly confined to a psychiatric hospital in Ioshkar-Ola on November 23, 2007, one day before the protest he had been planning in that city.12 He was released one month later.

Adoption of the 2006 NGO Law

Many observers have linked the Russian government’s changed attitude toward NGOs and civil society with the so-called color revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine. Russia has lacked a strong opposition movement, a charismatic opposition leader, and independent media—all important factors in these uprisings—but this had no apparent bearing on the Russian government’s determination to control more closely the foreign-funded NGO sector.13

Six months after Georgia’s “Rose Revolution,” President Putin made the first of several prominent statements expressing suspicion of foreign-funded NGOs in Russia and setting a new tone for the government’s approach to the NGO community. In the months that followed, some federal and regional officials also made similar public statements.14

In autumn 2005 a group of State Duma deputies submitted draft amendments to legislation regulating the NGO sector. The authorities for the most part ignored requests from civil society activists not to rush through the controversial amendments. Then-Minister of Justice Yuri Chaika held two days of consultations on the bill with Council of Europe experts before its adoption. The experts, who had been given two days to review the draft, found it to be “in overall compliance with international standards” but expressed concern about its vague provisions and how they might be implemented.15 They objected to restrictions in the draft on foreign organizations and their staff, which were later scrapped. Chaika took this ambivalent assessment of the draft as unqualified approval. In December 2005 the newspaper Rossiiskaia Gazeta quoted Chaika as saying,

Our law is in compliance with all international requirements and standards, in particular the European Convention … as well as another important document – Fundamental Principles on the Work [sic] of Non-Governmental Organizations in Europe, that was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2002.16

(The law’s compliance with the Fundamental Principles is assessed in Chapter IV, below.)

By the end of 2005 the parliament had adopted amendments that give the government broad powers to regulate the activities of NGOs, and on January 10, 2006, President Putin signed the bill into law.17

Responding to concerns about the law raised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), later in January 2006 Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis requested another evaluation of the final version of the law. A second expert review found that the law was “somewhat better” than the prior draft, but that concerns remained.18The review noted that several key recommendations made by the first Council of Europe expert review were not taken into consideration, such as the recommendation to “relax state supervision” over NGOs. Davis commented at the time,

Excessive powers of supervision remain an area of concern. Members of the State Duma also introduced some new amendments, which were not in the draft analysed by the Council of Europe, and which imposed an even stricter control of foreign NGOs. Such rules may be incompatible with the general prohibition of discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights, and I will not be surprised if there is an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on this issue. Much will now depend on the secondary legislation and on how everything is put into practice.19

Despite these outstanding concerns, Leonid Slutsky, deputy chair of the Duma International Committee and deputy head of the Russian delegation to the PACE, asserted, incorrectly, that the new NGO law is less restrictive than similar laws in Europe: “[W]e considered the majority of the Council of Europe suggestions and believe that the law became even more liberal than many analogous laws in developed democratic countries, for instance Belgium, Czech Republic, and Spain.”20

Around the same time, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a chart to its website comparing the Russian NGO law with analogous legislation of France, the United States, Poland, Israel, and Finland, aiming to show that the Russian law was no more restrictive than its counterparts in these countries. The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), an expert organization that promotes a legal environment conducive to civil society and public participation, analyzed the 2006 law and found it to be more restrictive that in many other European countries.21 It also analyzed the Foreign Ministry’s chart, and concluded that “the Russian law is substantially different from the laws of the selected countries,” and that “the Russian law is more restrictive than the laws on NGOs from the other countries used for comparison.”22

In July 2006 President Putin acknowledged that the law had “shortcomings” and pledged improvements at the Civil-G8, a global NGO forum held in the run-up to the St. Petersburg G8 summit of the world’s leading industrialized nations.23 Subsequently, Putin received from Ella Pamfilova, chair of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, a set of proposed amendments to the NGO law drafted by several NGOs.24 However, to the best of Human Rights Watch’s knowledge, no further steps were taken to fulfill this pledge.

Efforts to Discredit Human Rights and Foreign-Funded NGOs

In early 2006, shortly after the 2006 NGO law was adopted, state-controlled television stations attempted to link Russian human rights NGOs with foreign intelligence. On January 22, a weekly show, “Special Correspondent,” reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB) had unmasked four alleged British spies working for the UK embassy in Moscow. Among those accused of espionage was an embassy employee who coordinated grants to Russian NGOs by the Global Opportunities Fund, which is attached to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The television program stated that a number of NGOs received the Fund’s grants, including Russia’s oldest human rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, and several other prominent rights groups, as well as the Eurasia Foundation. The Moscow Helsinki Group tried to bring a libel suit against the station, but Savelovsky District Court of Moscow rejected the claim. The ruling was upheld by the Moscow City Court in July 2007.25

After the 2006 NGO law was passed government officials continued to make hostile remarks apparently intended to discredit or raise suspicion about independent civil society groups. In a February 2006 speech to the Federal Security Service, President Putin urged vigilance toward NGOs, stating explicitly that they were fronts for foreign governments seeking to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs. A year later, addressing the Munich Conference on Security in February 2007, Putin lashed out at NGOs for being “instruments of foreign states to carry out [their] policies” toward Russia and for providing opportunities for foreign, “secret financing” of election campaigns.26

In his 2007 state-of-the-nation address, Putin reiterated that the human rights and democracy movements were supported by forces intent on weakening Russia. He said, “Some, making skilful use of pseudo-democratic rhetoric, would like to return us to the recent past, some in order to once again plunder the nation’s resources with impunity and rob the people and the state, and others in order to deprive our country of its economic and political independence.”27

In the lead up to the 2007 parliamentary elections, Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Federal Security Service, said that “the arsenals of foreign special services do include the practice of using NGOs – to obtain intelligence information, and as a tool for exerting covert influence on political processes.” He indicated that the revolutions that ousted unpopular governments in the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, and Georgia were a product of such activities and said, “There is also the threat of the capacities of certain foreign NGOs being used to fund what amounts to subversive activities against Russia.” Patrushev noted that the state understands the important role of NGOs and is interested in their activities, and that his office draws attention only to “NGOs or their staff that engage in unlawful activities within our terms of reference.”28 Several months earlier, in a media interview, Sergei Vasiliev, director of the Federal Registration Service, the agency that registers, inspects, and carries out other oversight over NGOs, did not criticize human rights groups directly but acknowledged concern that foundations use their support for human rights projects in Russia as a cover for “other” interests.29

Russia’s NGO Sector

Russia has a vibrant and diverse NGO sector. According to Federal Registration Service data, there are more than 240,000 NGOs registered in Russia.30 Many provide social services or do other charitable work. Others are think tanks, advocate for public policy change, or seek to hold authorities accountable for rights abuses. According to a draft report by the Public Chamber (a state-funded institution—see below), most of Russia’s NGOs are focused on education and the sciences (32 percent), culture and sports (27 percent), healthcare, or are trade unions.31 Many NGOs, especially those dedicated to human rights and public advocacy, emerged in or after the glasnost era of the late 1980s; other groups, such as veterans’ organizations, trade unions, and hobby clubs, were already in existence in Soviet times.

Human rights organizations focus on a wide range of issues, including abuse in the army, women’s rights, the health system, conditions in detention and the penitentiary system, torture, humanitarian law violations in Chechnya, nationalism and xenophobia, and refugee and minority rights. As the government has moved to restrict political dissent, human rights groups have increasingly focused on freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

NGO funding

In the 1990s many NGOs, particularly human rights organizations, were funded primarily or exclusively by foreign donors. However, in recent years the funding environment has changed significantly. The Public Chamber draft annual report for 2007 noted three factors affecting the funding of NGOs: an increase in state funding, a rise in funding by Russian sources, and a decline in foreign funding as a consequence of the 2006 NGO law. It cited a study indicating that 44 percent of NGOs receive government funding, 30 percent raise funds through their own work, and 37 percent receive support from corporations or other businesses. There is overlap among these sources as many NGOs receive funding from multiple types of donors, while others NGOs receive no outside funding at all.32

According to the ROMIR polling agency, in 2007 state budget funds constituted 29 percent of overall NGO funding.33 Russian business donors primarily fund NGO charitable and social work through organizations devoted to children, education, and sports.34 Human rights organizations and ecological groups very rarely receive funding from Russian sources.35

Many NGOs, and especially human rights groups, still depend on foreign foundations for their financing, and only a few of them enjoy diversified funding.36 The 2006 NGO law presented serious difficulties to foreign donors supporting Russian NGOs. As nonprofit organizations also affected by the law, foreign foundations faced new, burdensome requirements for reporting to the Russian supervisory authorities. The law enabled the state to exercise control over their funding policies.

Human rights NGOs’ declining influence

In the 1990s Russian human rights groups were able to influence some aspects of public policy. The 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, which has been commended as a democratic and progressive document, as well as some key Russian laws were drafted with input from human rights experts.37 This was due in part to the fact that several renowned former dissidents, including Sergei Kovalev and some of his allies, were members of parliament at the time. Accordingly, they had very tangible influence on the law-making processes and state policies.

Starting in 1999, with the gradual crackdown on independent media after the outbreak of the second Chechen war, human rights groups became marginalized from the policy-making process. The issue of terrorism had become a serious concern after unprecedented terrorist acts in Moscow and Volgodonsk and incursions into regions outside Chechnya such as neighboring Dagestan by armed groups under Shamil Basaev’s command. Fighting a war against terror became headline news. The issue was used to justify the strengthening of the executive branch, particularly law enforcement, to curb democratic initiatives and civic freedoms, and to discredit human rights defenders.

Government officials began to routinely claim that human rights defenders directly or indirectly assist terrorists and other forces trying to destroy the Russian state. Human rights groups’ direct access to the executive and legislative branches of power diminished dramatically.

Public Chamber

One of the reforms Putin introduced in 2004 was the creation of a Public Chamber to coordinate the interests of Russian citizens, NGOs, and federal and regional authorities. Established in 2005, the Public Chamber consists of 126 members, one-third of whom are selected by the president of the Russian Federation.38 Its official mandate is to analyze draft legislation, monitor activities of federal and regional authorities, and provide feedback to the government. It has only consultative powers. Regional Public Chambers have also been established throughout Russia.

Its proponents argued that the Public Chamber would enhance democracy in Russia. Others were skeptical of this claim and feared that the institution would instead weaken democracy. The work of the Public Chamber has no manifest negative implications,39 and several of its members, such as Henry Reznik, a prominent human rights lawyer, and Oleg Zykov, a well-known narcologist and president of the No Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Foundation, are widely respected in the Russian NGO community. The Public Chamber also spoke out against the 2006 amendments to the NGO Law,40 and for the past two years has critically reviewed the state of civil society in Russia.

The Public Chamber does, however, serve as a substitute to direct dialogue between NGOs and the state and expands state control of civil society. For example, in some cases, when NGOs try to engage Russian government authorities directly on human rights, they are referred instead to the Public Chamber.41 State funding allocated for NGOs is also channeled through the Public Chamber. Thus, independent civil society is increasingly marginalized and less able to participate in a system of checks and balances on executive power.

2 See, for example, Lucien Fix, “Ludmilla Alexeeva and Tatiana Lokshina Speak of Human Rights in Russia,” at HRO.ORG, October 28, 2005, (accessed February 6, 2008).

See also Human Rights Watch, Russia – Managing Civil Society: Are NGOs next?  November 22, 2005,

3 Putin was prime minister when Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned on December 31, 1999, and automatically became acting president. He was elected president three months later.

4 See Human Rights Watch, Managing Civil Society: Are NGOs next?

5 On September 1, 2004, armed militants stormed a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, on the opening day of classes, taking more than a thousand people hostage. The hostages were mostly teachers, schoolchildren, and parents. Three days later, after Russian forces stormed the school building, 330 people were dead, among them 186 children. See for example Jean-Christophe Peuch, “Russia: One Year After Beslan Tragedy, Questions Remain,” August 30, 2005, (accessed February 1, 2008).

6 The reform was implemented in 2005. Whereas prior to 2005 half of the State Duma’s 450 deputies were elected from single-mandate constituencies, after the reform deputies are elected only on a party list basis. Political parties must receive a minimum of 7 percent (as opposed to 5 percent prior to 2005) of the votes in parliamentary elections to clear the entry threshold for the Duma. New rules for registering political parties were also introduced in 2005, with a minimum threshold of 50,000 members, as opposed to 10,000 previously. See, for example, Nabi Abdullaev, “How Putin Put Kremlin Back on Top,” Moscow Times, February 1, 2008, (accessed February 1, 2008).

7 In the 2003 elections, four parties met the then 5 percent threshold to enter the Duma and won seats in single-mandate districts. They were: United Russia (222 seats), the Communist Party (52 seats), the Liberal Democratic Party (36 seats) and Rodina (37 seats). Five additional parties were represented by candidates who won single-mandate districts: the People’s Party (17 seats), Yabloko (4 seats), the Union of Right Forces (3 seats), the Party of Life and the party Renaissance (a coalition, 3 seats), and the Agrarian Party (2 seats). Unaffiliated candidates won 71 seats (in the remaining three seats the number of votes “against all” exceeded that for any candidate). By contrast, in 2007, after the abolition of single-mandate districts only four parties controlled all 450 seats in the Duma: United Russia (315 seats), the Liberal Democratic Party (40 seats), A Just Russia (a coalition of which Rodina is a member, 38 seats), and the Communist Party (57 seats). The first three of these are pro-Kremlin. See, for 2003 results, “Results of Previous Elections to the Russian State Duma” at; and for 2007 results, “The Duma today” at (both accessed February 4, 2008).

8 After the president nominates candidates, they must be confirmed by the regional parliament. If a regional parliament refuses to approve a presidential nominee three times (the president’s second or third proposal can be either the original or a different nominee), the president has the right to dissolve the parliament. In 2000 Putin already limited governors’ powers by forcing legislation through the State Duma to strip regional governors of their seats in the Federation Council (the upper chamber of parliament).

9 See, for example, Jurix (Jurists for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms), “Recommendations to promote judicial independence,” undated paper, on file with Human Rights Watch. Yukos, once one of the world’s largest non-state oil companies, is now an example of Putin’s successful elimination of the country’s economic players that try to fund opposition and independent media. In 2003 Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was put on trial and sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of tax evasion and fraud.  He and other former Yukos executives reportedly were pressured to testify against one another.  The court is also known to have refused to admit evidence favorable to the defendants. See, for example, Anton Troianovski, “Swiss Court: Yukos Case Is 'Political',” Washington Post, August 25, 2007, (accessed February 1, 2008); “Court rejects motion to move former Yukos executive from prison infirmary to AIDS clinic,” International Herald Tribune, February 1, 2008, (accessed on February 1, 2008); and Abdullaev, “How Putin Put Kremlin Back on Top,” Moscow Times.

10 Dissenters’ Marches bring together not only political activists but also a wide range of civil society representatives, including some prominent human rights activists, journalists, and scholars.

11 The Dissenters’ March coincided with the EU-Russia summit that was being held in Samara. On May 17, at Sheremetevo-1 airport in Moscow, police detained a Human Rights Watch representative planning to observe the demonstration. They claimed, falsely, that his ticket and passport appeared “counterfeit.” He was released three hours later but missed his flight to Samara. Authorities used the same tactic to prevent other observers, activists, and organizers—including the coalition’s leaders Garry Kasparov and Eduard Limonov—from traveling to Samara to participate in the Dissenters’ March.  

12 Two plainclothes men approached Basyrov on the street, claimed that he was harassing a young woman, and took him to a psychiatric hospital in a nearby village. He told Human Rights Watch that he was forcibly medicated and restrained. When Basyrov was released a month later he was not provided any explanation for his hospitalization. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Artyom Basyrov, member of the banned National Bolshevik Party and “Other Russia” activist, December 26, 2007.  In another, extreme case, National Bolshevik Party member Yuri Chervochkin died on December 10, 2007, after he was beaten with a baseball bat by four men in Serpukhov, near Moscow, on November 22. According to a close friend who spoke to Chervochkin just prior to the attack, Chervochkin allegedly had seen the four men at a police station where he had been detained earlier that day. The local procuracy is investigating Chervochkin’s death. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Sergei Aksenev, member of the banned National Bolshevik Party, December 19, 2007.

13 See, for example, Thomas Carothers, “The Backlash Against Democracy Promotion (regulation of nongovernmental organizations),” Foreign Affairs, March 2006; Yevgeny Volk, The Heritage Foundation, “Russia's NGO Law: An Attack on Freedom and Civil Society,” May 24, 2006, (accessed December 29, 2007).

14 In his May 26, 2004 state-of-the-nation speech, President Vladimir Putin of Russia issued a broadside attack against NGOs that, in his opinion, “serve dubious group and commercial interests” and fail to stand up for the “people’s real interests.” Human Rights Watch, Managing Civil Society: Are NGOs next? p. 1.

15 Sergei Strokan, “Strasbourg Assesses Russia’s new NGO legislation] Kommersant, February 15, 2006, (accessed February 6, 2008). See also, “Putin Ordered Within 5 days to Summarize Criticisms on Draft Legislation on Non-governmental Organizations,”, December 5, 2005, (accessed November 24, 2007).

16 Elena Lashkina, “Charity from Strasbourg. Yuri Chaika consulted with European Experts on NGO Law,” Rossiiskaia Gazeta, December 6, 2005, (accessed December 30, 2007).

17 The full name of the law is the Federal Law on Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation No. 18-FZ, 2006 , amending  the Law on Closed Administrative Territorial Formations No. 3297-1, 1992; Law on Public Associations No. 82-FZ, 1995; Law on Non-Commercial Organizations No. 7-FZ, 1996; and article 61 of the Russian Federation Civil Code. The 2006 NGO law was published on January 17 and entered into force on April 18, 2006. Hereinafter, the 2006 NGO law.

18 Strokan, “Strasbourg Assesses Russia’s new NGO legislation,” Kommersant.

19 “Council of Europe Analysis of the Russian NGO Legislation,” Council of Europe press release, Strasbourg, February 17, 2006. See also Strokan, “Strasbourg Assesses Russia’s new NGO legislation,”Kommersant.

20 Katerina Labetskaia, “Anti-Russian Sentiments Interfere with Objective Perception,” Vremia Novostei, February 20, 2006, (accessed December 30, 2007).

21 See International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, “Analysis of Law #18-FZ ’On Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation’ of February 17, 2006,” (accessed February 5, 2008). ICNL is not alone in making such conclusions: see Alison Kamhi, “The Russian NGO Law: Potential Conflicts with International, National, and Foreign Legislation,” The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law, Volume 9 (December 2006), (accessed January 17, 2008).

22 ICNL noted in its analysis, “Even where there are isolated similarities between the provisions of the Russian law and those of the countries which are cited in the Chart, the Chart fails to account for the ‘Frankenstein’ effect that the Russian law exhibits. While a similarly restrictive provision might exist in the law of a particular country, the cumulative effect of the pulling together of multiple restrictive provisions from various countries results in a whole (in Russia) that is much more restrictive than can be seen in any of the countries cited in the Chart. By focusing the lens of inquiry closely on particular individual provisions, the Chart fails to capture the whole picture of regulation of NGOs presented in these various countries, and in Russia. Overwhelmingly, the regime governing NGOs in each of the cited countries is favourable towards NGOs, and encourages their free operation and establishment.” See International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, “Analysis of the Chart Prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Comparing Several Countries’ Laws Regulating NGOs,” May 3, 2006. On file with Human Rights Watch.

23 “Putin admits defects in NGO law, pledges improvement,” Russian News & Information Agency Novosti, July 4, 2006, (accessed February 6, 2008).

24  Human Rights Watch interview with Yuri Dzhibladze, president of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, May 4, 2007.

25 July 3, 2007 Decree by Moscow City Court on civil case #33-11981, on the website of Moscow Helsinki Group, (accessed February 6, 2008).

26 For a full transcript of Putin’s speech in Munich see, for example, (accessed February 11, 2008).

27 President Putin Annual Address to the Federal Assembly, April 26, 2007, (accessed June 15, 2007).

28“An interview with FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev,” WPS Russian Media Monitoring Agency, October 11, 2007. Translated from Russian; originally published in Argumenty i Fakty, No. 41, October 10, 2007.

29 Boris Yamshanov, “Registration without Rejections  New Head of Rosregistration on Dacha Amnesty, Lines, Lawyers, Religious and non-commercial organizations,” Rossiiskaia Gazeta, May 25, 2007, (accessed October 1, 2007).

30 The Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, “Report on the State of Civil Society in the Russian

Federation,” draft as of December 2007, (accessed

January 17, 2008). The report cites Federal Registration Service data.      

31 Ibid., p. 21. The Public Chamber report does not provide any data for these categories of NGOs.

32 Ibid., p. 26.

33 Ibid., p. 35.

34 Ibid., p. 35. Here the report refers to Russian donors as “donors, companies, and specialized organizations (most of them, foundations).” It is therefore unclear whether the passage also includes state donors.

35 Ibid.

36 Nikolay Petrov et al., “Civil Society and Political Processes in Regions,” Moscow Carnegie Center Working Papers, No. 3, 2005 (in Russian), (accessed December 8, 2007), p. 8. See also CIVICUS, “An Assessment of Russian Civil Society (2005),” (accessed December 8, 2007), p. 9.

37 See Sergei Kovalev’s biography (in Russian) at (accessed February 7, 2008).

38 The president selects one-third of the members from among widely recognized personalities, including religious leaders, scientists, artists, doctors, journalists, and athletes. They, in turn, nominate another one-third of the members from national NGOs. These two groups then nominate the remaining one-third of the members from interregional and regional NGOs via conferences in each of the seven federal districts. Members serve a two-year term.

39 See, for example, Alexander Auzan, “Autocracy of Serfs: Contemporary Limitations and Ways to Overcome Them” (“Samoderzhavie krepostnykh: sovremennye granitsy i vozmozhnosti preodoleniya”) in Index on Censorship (Index. Dossie na tsenzuru), issue 26/2007, (accessed February 6, 2008).

40 See, for example, Gazeta.Ru, December 2, 2005, (accessed February 7, 2008).

41 See, for example, “Human Rights Defenders: Public Chamber Hinders Communications with Authorities” (“Pravozaschitniki: Obschestvennaya palata meshaet kommunikatsii s vlastyu”) Polit.Ru, September 14, 2005, (accessed February 7, 2008)).