Posted 2012/11/28

Russian Federation: Update – Appearance of new defamatory banners against Memorial and 'For Human Rights' movement

Banner over Memorial Offices

On 28 November 2012, new banners containing the message 'Here lives a foreign agent' appeared in Moscow on the buildings of the international historical and civil rights society Memorial and the For Human Rights movement.

The incident followed similar public defamatory statements that appeared as graffiti slogans on their walls on 21 November 2012. Memorial has announced that it will lodge another complaint with the police.

The banners reference to the Federal Law number 121-F3 that came into force on 21 November 2012. According to this law, all Russian NGOs that receive foreign funding and engage in “political activities” are obliged to register as “foreign agents”. Several Russian human rights organisations, including the Moscow Helsinki Group , which is the oldest Russian NGO; Memorial; the Interregional Committee Against Torture; the movement For Human Rights; the Public Verdict Foundation , and the Russian chapter of Transparency International have declared that they will not comply with the law and will not slander themselves, as they claim they are Russian NGOs defending the interests of Russian citizens and do not represent any interests of foreign countries.

On the day the Federal Law number 121-F3 came into effect, the walls of the offices of Memorial and the For Human Rights movement were sprayed with graffiti, marking the organisations as 'foreign agents' as well as displaying a 'love USA' sign. Front Line Defenders published an appeal on this case on 22 November 2012.