MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – Pavel Chikov, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, said on Monday that a clear set of rules for inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is required.
“There are no rules for prosecutors’ checks. In my opinion, this is the main lesson that we should learn from all these NGO checks… Currently, there is no written document to specify on which basis, how long, how often [the checks should be conducted], what should [prosecutors] be allowed to do during inspections, what type of inspections [they should carry out], what are the rights of those who face an inspection,” Chikov said.
Representatives of the Russian Prosecutor General’s office, invited to attend the Council’s session on Monday to discuss the recent inspections, turned down the invitation about an hour before the meeting began.
A series of nationwide NGO checks have taken place in Russia since late March. Many critics – and indeed President Vladimir Putin himself, earlier this week – have linked them to a controversial new law, obliging non-governmental organizations financed from abroad and involved in political activity to register as “foreign agents.