Russian LGBT Organization Branded As ‘Foreign Agent’

LGBT activists protest against amendments to the constitution in Moscow in July 2020. The placard says, "I don't recognize the authority that keeps me from having a family."  

An organization that provides legal and counseling assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia’s Far East has been listed as a "foreign agent."

The nonprofit organization Mayak, which says it has been operating in Russia since 2016, was added to the Justice Ministry’s list of "unregistered public associations performing the functions of a foreign agent" on December 17.

Mayak is part of the Russian LGBT Network, Russia’s largest gay and lesbian support group, which was branded a "foreign agent" on a separate list on November 8.

Russia maintains multiple lists of individuals and entities it considers to be working as "foreign agents," a label that is handed down in keeping with Russia’s so-called "foreign agent" legislation adopted in 2012.

Among other things the designation requires nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign assistance and which are considered by the government to be engaged in political activities to register as "foreign agents," to identify themselves as such, and to submit to audits.

RFE/RL and a number of its services are among 103 individuals and entities listed as "foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent."

Mayak joins the election-monitoring NGO Golos as the only entities on the "unregistered public associations" list.

Mayak is headed by Regina Dzugkoyeva, who also heads the NGO Lilit.

Lilit, which implements social and legal programs in the Far East, was also designated a "foreign agent" on December 17.



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