March 11, 2023

"Transparency" Is Undesirable


"Transparency" Is Undesirable
The Russian Prosecutor General's office. Ruslan Krivobok, Wikimedia Commons

The Russian Prosecutor General's office has declared Transparency International, a well-regarded international anti-corruption NGO which has its headquarters in Berlin, an "undesirable" organization, charging that Transparency's activities went beyond their declared goals and objectives.

"Formally acting as an organization fighting corruption around the world, it interferes in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation, which poses a threat to the security of the Russian Federation," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

According to the BBC, there are now 75 organizations on Russia's list of "undesirables." Among them are the Free Russia Forum registered in Lithuania, the American NGO The Andrei Sakharov Foundation, and the popular publication Meduza. “Undesirable” organizations are prohibited from working in Russia, and administrative and criminal penalties may follow for violating this prohibition.

This is not the first time Russian authorities have targeted the anti-corruption organization. In 2015, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation included Transparency International's Russia branch in its register of "foreign agents." 

In particular, Transparency International Russia investigated the money-laundering scheme of Gazprom (Russia's state-owned gas giant) and how Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Construction and Regional Development Marat Khusnullin earned millions on state contracts.

Despite its new status, Transparency International Russia will not cease its activities, as it is domestically registered. According to a message on the organization's website, TI will reorganize the work of the team in these new conditions. "Our goal is a world free of corruption, and we continue to believe that we can achieve this together," the message says. 

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