• Germany edition
 
Russia searches German NGO offices
Photo: DPA

Russia searches German NGO offices

Published: 26 Mar 2013 15:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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.”

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
Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,525
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd