LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Russian member organisation fined as ‘foreign agent’

Maximum, one of ILGA-Europe’s eleven member organisations in Russia, has been fined for failing to register as a so-called ‘foreign agent’.

Under the infamous 2012 law, any organisation engaging in ‘political activity’ and who receives funds from abroad must register as a ‘foreign agent’ with the Russian Ministry of Justice.

At a court hearing yesterday (Thursday 5 March 2015), Maximum was found guilty of failure to register by the Court of Murmansk and fined 300,000 rubles (approx. 4600 euro).

This fine followed unilateral registration of the organisation in the ‘foreign agent’ NGOs list by the Ministry of Justice earlier in February. The organisation had refused to register as they feel that being labelled a ‘foreign agent’ discredits the work carried out by their employees, volunteers and by other NGO’s.

This news comes less than 3 months after Rakurs, another Russian LGBT organisation and ILGA-Europe member, became the first LGBT organisation to be listed as a ‘foreign agent’. Rakurs were also fined 300,000 rubles and both organisations plan to appeal these decisions.

Maximum will continue their work, providing social and legal support to the LGBT community in the Murmansk region. At the same time, they also intend to raise funds to pay the 300,000 ruble fine. More information on their work and fundraising efforts can be found on their Facebook page.