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Russia's "agents": Civil society and survival

What happens to Russia's civil society when non-governmental organizations are banned for foreign aid?


Pavel Chikov, a member of the AGORA Law Firm and a recipient of the Rafto Prize 2014, took the time to answer the question of what the Foreign Agents Act had entailed for the organization. He looked around the dark hotel reception, let his eyes go back and forth over the painting on the wall, straightened his shoulders and began: “We are focusing on converting the pressure we are experiencing from the authorities into a potential for further development. We try to spread our work – we try to adapt to the changes around us. ”

It was in November 2016 that I interviewed Chikov for the NEPORUS project. Although the lawyer expressed optimism on his own behalf, it seemed to be more in spite of than because of the situation the network is in. In February 2016, AGORA was declared dissolved by a local court in Kazan. The lawyer network, which since 2012 has provided legal aid in the heaviest lawsuits in Russia – for example the case against the punk band Pussy Riot – had for several years fought a seemingly useless battle against the so-called Law on Foreign Agents, introduced. . .

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