• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Russia searches German NGO offices

The Local · 26 Mar 2013, 15:08

Published: 26 Mar 2013 15:08 GMT+01:00

Officials knocked on the doors of both both the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES) for a surprise inspection. However, both politically oriented think tanks stressed to the Süddeutsche Zeitung they had not been raided by the Russian authorities.

The inspections came after Russia changed its laws on how foreign organisations operate inside its borders – namely how NGOs financed by other countries are registered.

These were the first searches done at German NGOs in Russia since the government introduced the laws last autumn. Both organisations said that they ran smoothly, allowing the day's work to continue relatively undisturbed.

At the KAS offices in St. Petersburg, officials arrived and confiscated computers. They reportedly also presented managers with a list of more than 20 in-depth questions about staff and company events.

A KAS spokesman told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that they were treating Tuesday's searches as “a routine check” that had not been triggered by specific accusations.

Yet chairman of the foundation, Hans-Gert Pöttering, said that unannounced searches could make for “strained relations with Russia.”

Criticism came from Germany's parliamentary foreign affairs committee, as chairman Ruprecht Polenz said that “NGOs are stigmatised with being disloyal, with Russia conveying the message that they are foreign agents up to no good and should stay away.”

Story continues below…

The German Justice Ministry said that it believed around 40 organisations had been hit by the inspections. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that such “concentrated action” was unacceptable.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:02 March 26, 2013 by sonriete
This new Russian law on NGO's is an almost exact duplicate of the American "foreign agents registration act" of 1938, which is still in effect in the US. The wording is so similar that the Americans should be able to charge copyright infringement, The Americans actually are also extremely strict about allowing foreign entities to get involved in their politics.
03:53 March 28, 2013 by Reyter
Germans setting up "political foundations" in Russia? God have mercy! One would have thought that after the blood-letting J. V. Stalin gave them Germans wouldn't even consider such a thing for many generations but I guess it's true what Zaistev said at Stalingrad, "once they get an idea in their heads it takes a lot dissuade them."
Today's headlines
President who pioneered Moscow ties dies aged 97
Former Cold War President of West Germany Walter Scheel. Photo: DPA.

Former West German president Walter Scheel, who helped pave the way for his country's rapprochement with the communist East, has died aged 97, his party's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Former East to lag behind West for years to come: study
Poverty in eastern Germany. File photo: DPA

Eastern Germany remains economically anaemic with little prospect of catching up with the rest of the country by 2030, a study published on Wednesday said.

Turkey's spy network in Germany 'thicker than Stasi's'
Photo: DPA.

Turkey has around 6,000 informants working in Germany, which experts say means they're each monitoring more people than the Stasi did in West Germany during the Cold War.

Germany's first 'intelligent' bridge to open in Nuremberg
File photo: DPA

An €11 million bridge, which is nearing completion in northern Bavaria, is set to include technology never seen before on the German Autobahn.

Stockpile food in case of attack, Germany tells citizens
Photo: DPA

Germany on Wednesday urged its population to stockpile food and water in case of terrorist or cyber attacks, as it adopted its first civil defence strategy since the end of the Cold War.

Ten injured after freight train crashes into bus in Osnabrück
The crash site in Osnabrück. Photo: DPA

A freight train crashed into a bus in Osnabrück on Wednesday morning, leaving several people badly injured, local media report.

Man wins ten-year court battle over €2.50 surcharge
Photo: DPA

An Austrian man has won a ten year court battle over an extra €2.50 he was asked to pay to get into a swimming pool in Bavaria a decade ago.

In Pictures
Düsseldorf swoons as Prince William comes for royal visit
'Well hello Mr. Prince'. Photo: DPA.

Prince William paid a visit to the Rhineland city of Düsseldorf on Wednesday to celebrate the state of North Rhine-Westphalia's 70th birthday. Here's a look at his royal stay.

Brexit
Frankfurt attempts to charm banks away from London
Frankfurt am Main. Photo: DPA

Germany's finance capital has spotted an opportunity with the Brexit-wary banking beasts of the Square Mile.

How did this bike end up on top of Berlin’s Molecule Man?
A professional climber 'rescuing' the bike hanging from the Molecule Man. Photo: DPA.

Berliners are still scratching their heads over how a bicycle ended up dangling from the capital’s iconic statue.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,647
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd