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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Harassment campaign for Russian civil society?

By Fred Weir





5,000 recent raids are leaving many wondering: 'What's next'?


JewishWorldReview.com |

mOSCOW — (TCSM) Russian authorities have raided hundreds of nongovernmental organizations around the country this week, seizing documents and interrogating staff.

Many activists say the goal of the searches, beyond harassment, is to force them to comply with a new law ordering NGOs that receive international funding to self-identify as "foreign agents" — a term they feel makes them sound like spies — or be shut down.

Representatives of the prosecutor's office, sometimes accompanied by members of the tax department and the FSB security service, have targeted as many as 5,000 groups in 83 Russian regions in the ongoing search-and-seize operations, says Pavel Chikov, head of Agora, a Tatarstan-based inter-regional organization that provides legal aid to NGOs.

"We believe this is a preparation for future repressive actions," says Alexander Cherkassov, a board member of Memorial, Russia's largest human rights monitor, whose own offices were searched last week, with some 600 documents seized.

"If organizations refuse to recognize themselves as 'foreign agents,' then huge penalties will be the next step. That will be followed by closing down the organization, and possible actions against the leaders.... But no NGO is going to submit voluntarily to being labeled as a 'foreign agent,' " he says.



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However, a law passed by the Duma last summer requires every Russian NGO that engages in any form of public outreach that authorities deem political —and that receives any amount of international funding — to use the "foreign agent" label in all of its public materials and activities.

But authorities are also raiding international organizations that do not fall under the new law, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, and even two respected think tanks tied to major German political parties — the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

Some fear the raids on those international groups could be connected with yet another new law, passed last year, which specifically mentioned international organizations and expanded the definition of "high treason" to include any Russian who discloses information the state considers a secret to any "foreign government or international, foreign organization."

'WE ARE NOT FOREIGN AGENTS'
For their part, most Russian groups have insisted that they will never wear the "foreign agent" label.

"We will never do it, for one simple reason: we are not foreign agents," says Lyudmilla Alexeyeva, a former Soviet dissident and founder of Russia's oldest human rights group, the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group.

For several months, Russia's Justice Ministry declined to enforce the "foreign agent" law, and many experts suggested that the ministry's legal professionals were worried about its compatibility with the freedoms guaranteed to citizens under Russia's Constitution.

But in early February, President Vladimir Putin held his annual meeting with heads of the FSB security service, and urged them to be more diligent in checking up on NGOs.

"No one has the monopoly of speaking on behalf of the entire Russian society, let alone the structures directed and funded from abroad and thus inevitably serving foreign interests," Mr. Putin told his security chiefs, according to the Associated Press.

"Any direct or indirect meddling in our internal affairs, any forms of pressure on Russia, on our allies and partners is inadmissible," he added.

The uptick in raids on NGOs stems directly from this meeting, says Mr. Cherkassov, of Memorial.

"He complained to them that the NGO law was not working. They interpreted that as a direct instruction," he adds.

EXCESSIVE CHECKS?
Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty International's Russia branch, says his Moscow office was searched for five hours on Monday.

"We were asked to provide a lot of documents that are already on file with the Justice Ministry, including the annual and quarterly reports that we send to the ministry" detailing finances and activities, he says. "I think this is a campaign against civil society in general, and specifically against those groups dealing with human rights."

Indeed, the materials being seized from most of the targeted groups appear to be public documents, mostly the same ones held by the Justice Ministry —which oversees NGOs — says Ramil Akhmegaliyev, head legal analyst for Agora.

"The fact is that NGOs are already under constant and thorough regulation," he says. "They are subject to checks all the time, by almost any government department. Why do this several times, successively? This is not a normal situation."

"It's harassment of current NGOs and a warning to anyone who might be considering getting active," says Mr. Nikitin. "It's also a warning to the whole NGO community to avoid foreign funding, even though it's perfectly legal in Russia.... The way the Russian media is covering these searches, in a completely one-sided manner, gives society the impression that we have something to hide, that we're guilty of something. It creates a totally false impression of what human rights groups do."

Some experts say the campaign against NGOs heralds a wider crackdown in the works, and perhaps show trials to distract Russians from economic and political troubles.

"Our authorities, who are like a collective Putin, feel like they are gradually losing control over the situation," says Dmitry Oreshkin, head of the Mercator Group, an independent Moscow-based media consultancy.

"The economy has stopped growing, people are visibly sick and tired of the same old political faces. So, it's time to launch a search for enemies, consolidate society against the external threat, catch the spies.... Another goal here is to shut down alternative sources of information, and silence the critics who find fault with what the authorities are doing."

"Those groups who uncover corruption, or police abuses, or electoral fraud are going to have their mouths shut. That's what's coming down the road," he says.

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© 2013, The Christian Science Monitor

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