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“Swindlers Only Interested in Foreign Money”

Running a civil society NGO in Russia is incredibly difficult. Not only do basic operations for the smallest of outfits require more paperwork than a nuclear power plant, they are straddled by costs exceeding the establishment of a corporation and are hounded by inflexible visa laws. Not only do these independent minded citizens have to deal with this, but also the occasional campaign of slander and smear attacks in the state-owned media (and I’m not just referring to Putin accusing them of being a pack of scavenging jackals). The website of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum reports on the State’s efforts to target a Nizhny Novgorod NGO, calling one organization a group of “swindlers only interested in foreign money.” Let’s hope that this is not the pre-text for another shutdown.