Targeted, Nonprofits in Russia Flee

A number of high-profile nonprofits in Russia are fleeing, as the country’s governing elite moves to ostracize and persecute international NGOs.

Russia’s upper house of parliament has constructed a “patriotic stop list” that includes a host of international NGOs that Russian authorities feel either pose a threat to their hegemony or are antithetical to Russian principles. A number of renowned organizations face scrutiny, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Carnegie Moscow Center, the MacArthur Foundation, and the C.S. Mott Foundation. The latter two organizations have already announced plans to cease operations in the country.

Russian legislators have paved the way for fines and jail time for individuals caught violating laws barring certain nonprofits from pursuing their organizational missions.

This is not the first instance of nonprofit groups running afoul of overbearing authorities under Putin’s reign. Environmental groups and LGBTQ rights organizations have long faced persecution at the hands of the nation’s security apparatus.

What the exodus of international foundations from the country means for Russian citizens and culture remains to be seen. Organizations such as the MacArthur Foundation elevate intellectual and artistic genius to the international stage. With the grant-making organization’s departure, Russian citizens will be deprived of invaluable grants promoting Russian art and thought. Furthermore, the absence of human rights organization will only further obscure the plight of marginalized communities in Russia, such as the nation’s LGBTQ community and Central Asian immigrants.

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