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Justice Ministry Gets its First 'Foreign Agent'

The Justice Ministry has registered its first NGO under the controversial law requiring organizations that receive foreign funding and conduct "political activity" to register as "foreign agents."

Assisting the Development of Competition in CIS Countries, based in Moscow, was initially registered by the Justice Ministry on Dec. 23, 2009, according to its website. But it is now the one and only non-governmental organization to have been put on the list since the foreign agents law was signed by Putin in July 2012 in what has been a difficult week for the country's NGOs.

On Tuesday independent election watchdog Golos was ordered by the ministry to cease all of its activities for six months, while For Human Rights was Monday told to vacate its central Moscow office in the wake of a violent nighttime raid carried out last weekend.

The NGO that joined the list today works in the sphere of promoting competition and assisting state agencies with the implementation of anti-trust legislation. It cooperates with foreign agencies and organizations working in the same field, including the European Commission, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, as well as agencies specializing in competition law in the U.S., Europe and other countries.

It is made up of six partners, each representing one of the jurisdictions in which it carries out its activities, namely, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova.

Vasily Rudomino chairs the organization, whose partners consist of professional legal experts and economists specializing in anti-trust legislation.

No one at the organization was available for comment.

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