HIV-service organizations subject to the “foreign agent” act in Russia
More and more non-governmental organizations in Russia are included to the list of „foreign agents”, including HIV-service organizations. Some of our member organizations are also affected; Harm Reduction Network ESVERO in Moscow was recently registered as a “foreign agent”.
As stated on the website of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, the decision was made during the documentary unscheduled inspection by the relevant body in Moscow.
The main aim of ESVERO is to prevent and limit the spread of HIV infection among the Russian population. Their activities include the provision of HIV prevention services, financial, informational and methodological support of other organizations working in the prevention of HIV infection etc.
In accordance with Russian legislation, «foreign agents» are organizations that receive foreign funding and are involved in the political life of the country. Getting «foreign agent» status creates difficult administrative and financial obstacles for the NGOs, forcing some of them to cut back or completely shut down their activities. In Russia, NGOs are the only source for service provision and HIV-prevention for key populations. With more and more NGOs affected by the “foreign agent” act, there is a threat that all preventions activities for key populations will disappear in Russia.