06MOSCOW923, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE SEEKS TO CLOSE HUMAN RIGHTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW923 2006-01-30 13:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6293
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0923 0301321
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301321Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0009
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000923 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PINR RS
SUBJECT: MINISTRY OF JUSTICE SEEKS TO CLOSE HUMAN RIGHTS 
RESEARCH CENTER 
 
REF: MOSCOW 00861 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said publicly 
on January 27 that it is seeking to revoke the registration 
of the Russian Human Rights Research Center, which allegedly 
failed to provide required documentation about its activities 
in recent years.  Center officials and other human rights 
activists deny the charge and plan to fight it in court.  The 
announcement comes as NGOs are still reacting to accusations 
of NGO involvement in spying for the UK and other Kremlin 
moves aimed at bringing independent organizations to heel. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) The MOJ stated on January 27 that it was seeking to 
revoke the registration of the Moscow-based Russian Human 
Rights Research Center.  According to the MOJ, the Center had 
failed over the last five years to provide information about 
its activities, as required by law.  According to press 
reports, GOR officials indicated that last year, over eight 
hundred such cases were filed; three hundred resulted in 
revocation, and some four hundred had yet to be resolved. 
The case is expected to go to trial on February 27 in 
Moscow's Basmanniy Court. 
 
3. (C) The Center, founded in 1992, is an umbrella 
organization that brings together prominent NGOs, including 
the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), the Union of Soldiers' 
Mothers (SM), and the Independent Psychiatric Association of 
Russia.  Center Director Lyubov Vinogradova publicly stated 
that the suit is groundless and that it reflects the 
Kremlin's growing pressure on independent NGOs.  Grigoriy 
Shvedov, a member of Memorial (which is not affiliated with 
the Center), told us January 30 that after learning of the 
charges, Center officials checked their records and concluded 
that they had filed all necessary paperwork.  According to 
Shvedov, the Center had encountered problems even before the 
latest move, with MOJ officials refusing to allow it to 
change the composition of its Board of Directors on January 
10. 
 
4. (C) Soldiers' Mothers head Valentina Melnikova told us on 
January 30 that her organization was taking the situation 
very seriously, particularly because two SM projects could be 
affected by the Center's closure.  Melnikova said that her 
organization would help the Center fight the case in court. 
. 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5. (C) The GOR has recently gone after several of Russia's 
leading independent human rights organizations, most notably 
by accusing the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Eurasia 
Foundation, among others, of involvement with UK espionage 
(reftel).  These latest charges provide further evidence that 
the GOR plans to keep "political" NGOs under a tight rein. 
The fact that the case will be heard in the Basmanniy Court, 
which has a reputation for doing the Kremlin's bidding, bodes 
ill for the Center.  Acknowledging that the current political 
climate worsens the Center's prospects, human rights 
activists nonetheless hope they can fight off the charges by 
demonstrating that the Center provided the required 
documentation. 
 
BURNS

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