Support The Moscow Times!

Charges Dropped Against Activist for 'Non-Compliance' With Foreign Agents Law

Valentina Cherevatenko Vadim Karastelev / YouTube

Investigators have closed a case against a human rights activist suspected of “malicious non-compliance with the duties of a foreign agent.”

Valentina Cherevatenko, head of the Women of the Don NGO in Novocherkassk in southern Russia, was the first person to be prosecuted under the law.

Russia’s Justice Ministry included her Women of the Don organization on its registry of “foreign agents” in 2014. The label is used to brand NGOs that receive foreign funding and engage in activity deemed political.

Organizations included in the registry are forced to mark their materials as having been produced by a “foreign agent." Failure to comply is punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($5,000) or a prison sentence of up to two years.

Lawyer Pavel Chikov of the AGORA human rights group told the Mediazona outlet on Monday that the case against Cherevatenko had been closed.

“We’re delighted that these absurd charges have been dropped,” Human Rights Watch’s Tanya Lokshina wrote in response to the news on Facebook. “This is an important victory for Russian civil society, which remains strong despite the government’s unprecedented crackdown.”

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.