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Facebook Account of Russian Foundation Head Hacked After 'Foreign Agent' Announcement

Dinastia head Dmitry Zimin Anton Nossik

The head of a Russian foundation that supports science and education said that his Facebook account has been hacked, shortly after the Justice Ministry added his organization to its registry of "foreign agents."

"It's difficult for me to talk now, my Facebook page has been hacked, they wrote some filthy things to discredit me there under my name," Dmitry Zemin, the founder of the Dinastia foundation, said Monday night, independent television channel Dozhd reported.

The post, which appeared earlier in the day on Zimin's page, said that the founder of Dinastia — which supports scientific research in Russia and provides grants for young scholars — is "providing, together with his American friends, financial support to many well-known opposition figures," according to screenshots and quotes published by Russian media. The post has since been removed.

The attack followed a Justice Ministry order announced earlier Monday to register Dinastia as a "foreign agent" under a Russian law that demands that the label should be attached to non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding and are engaged in political activity. The term dates back to the Soviet era, when it was widely used to denote a spy.
The Justice Ministry provided no details of Dinastia's supposed foreign funding in its announcement.

RBC news portal, citing an unidentified source close to the foundation, reported that the foundation will try to demonstrate that its supposed foreign funding came from overseas bank accounts belonging to Zimin, who founded the Vimpelcom telecommunications company.

Dinastia was planning to spend 435 million rubles ($8.6 million) on programs this year. 

"We cannot at this time to compete in the development of innovations with the West, and in mass production with China, and that's why I believe that the breakthrough point for our country could be science, especially fundamental science, which requires the cultivation of the intelligence, instead of resources, and allows to advance in innovating technologies," Zimin is quoted as saying on Dinastia's website.

See alsoForeign Agents Law to Shut Down Prominent Science Support Foundation

Anna Saburova, a research scientist at Moscow State University's Sternberg Astronomical Institute, said a Dinastia stipend she received while working on her doctoral thesis had an outsized significance in a country that offers scant job perks to scholars, the news portal reported.

"At that time, I badly needed support — not so much the financial kind, as the kind that showed that my work is needed and interesting to anybody in this country," she was quoted as saying. "I think such thoughts come to many Russian graduate students when they are working on their theses. The miserly stipends and salaries of graduate students and junior research scientists paid by the state to young Russian scholars unambiguously indicate that their labor isn't much appreciated."

Zimin said that he may have to shut down Dinastia after the Foreign Ministry's ruling, Snob magazine said in an online report Monday.

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