гулаг пермь 36 логотип EN

Main partners of the museum:

Today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a case in which Russian NPOs opposed Russian legislation on foreign agents and its enforcement practices (Ecozaschita and Others v. Russia, nos. 9988/13 and 60 others): https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-217751%22]}. The ANO “Memorial Museum of the History of Political Repressions Perm 36” was also among these 73 non-profit organizations.

Since 2015, the museum’s management has repeatedly appealed to the district and territorial courts, demanding to recognize the illegality of the inclusion of the ANO in the register of foreign agents and the fine of 300 thousand rubles. But all appeals and cassation appeals were rejected. On August 19, 2016. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation also rejected the cassation appeal (case No. 44-KF16-523). As a result, the complaint of ANO Perm 36 was sent to the ECtHR and included in the general case of more than seventy Russian non-profit organizations declared as foreign agents.

The key message of the ECtHR decision is: “The 2012 Foreign Agents Law is unnecessary in a democratic society. First of all, the court drew attention to the arbitrary interpretation of the key concepts of this law: “political activity” and “foreign funding. A norm cannot be considered “law,” the judges argued, unless it is worded in such a way that people can foresee what specific legal consequences or sanctions a certain behavior will lead to.

Despite the fact that the Foreign Agents Law explicitly excluded certain areas of activity from the scope of “political activity,” the court said, Russian authorities and courts interpreted the term “political activity” so broadly that the authorities could thus label any activity that was in any way related to the normal functioning of democratic society, such as the work of environmental, cultural or social organizations – and thus compel these o

Regarding the term “foreign funding,” the Court held that because the Act did not contain any rules regarding the purpose of the funding or any requirement to create a link between the funding and political activity, its enforcement led to deliberately absurd consequences. For example, the Education Center was found to have been “funded” by a “foreign source” after it received reimbursement from a hotel in Oslo for overpayments for meeting rooms. The sources themselves were also often not “foreign” in the strict sense of the word: among them were, for example, Russian organizations that themselves received funding from abroad, but did not necessarily qualify as “foreign agents. All of this obviously created a great deal of uncertainty. The court ruled that the applicant organizations could not have reasonably foreseen the establishment of such implausible and arbitrary connections, which led to negative consequences.

The court also noted that the “foreign agency” fines were set at between 100,000 and 500,000 Russian rubles. For comparison, the minimum monthly wage between 2013-19 was 5,205-11,280 rubles – thus, the fines amounted to three annual living wages. The court ruled that the fines under the Foreign Agents Law were not proportionate to the legitimate purpose pursued.

Overall, the court concluded that the shortcomings of the Foreign Agents Law and the lack of protection of the applicants by the Russian courts were sufficient to establish a violation of the Human Rights Convention. The Court ordered Russia to pay the applicants various sums totaling 292090 EUR as compensation of pecuniary damage, 730000 EUR as compensation of moral damage and 118854 EUR as compensation of expenses.

It should be reminded that Russia, currently excluded from the Council of Europe, is not under the jurisdiction of the ECtHR, so today’s decision is more of a symbolic victory than a legal one.