Yeltsin Center is being persuaded to become a foreign agency

The Yeltsin Center is being checked for a foreign agency. Information that such a check is underway was disseminated by the media with reference to Deputy Minister of Justice Oleg Sviridenko. The deputy head of the ministry stated this at a meeting of the State Duma commission to investigate the facts of interference of foreign states in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation.

Representatives of the Yeltsin Center believe that the activities of their organization, including financial ones, are carried out in accordance with the Federal Law “On the Centers for the Historical Heritage of the Presidents of the Russian Federation” and their own charter. They are confident that the Ministry of Justice’s check will not reveal grounds for declaring them a foreign agent. Lyudmila Telen, First Deputy Executive Director of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, says:

“The Yeltsin Center is now doing exactly what it has been doing all these years: work related to the museum, education, studying the legacy of the first president of the Russian Federation. These tasks are defined by Federal Law No. 68, as well as the charter of our organization, we do not violate it. We are absolutely convinced that there are no grounds for classifying the Yeltsin Center as foreign agents, and there cannot be. It seems pointless to us to talk about what we will do if this suddenly happens, because this should not happen in accordance with Russian law and our practice, which is absolutely transparent, open for study, including on our official website.”

Ksenia Sobchak reported on her Telegram channel that denunciations of the Yeltsin Center to the Ministry of Justice were written by representatives of at least three parliamentary factions: United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal Democratic Party. And the Communist Party of the Russian Federation not only wrote a request to the Ministry of Justice, but also addressed the president personally with a request to stop the activities of the Yeltsin Center.

In fact, now we are talking about attempts to cross out the entire history of the country until February 2022, Mikhail Vinogradov, president of the Petersburg Politics Foundation, believes:

“This is a museum with a large exposition, which periodically holds some kind of lectures, events, of course, allowing itself some special intonations, but corresponding to the fact that it has such a de facto semi-state status. And funding, as I understand it, is near-state. This is an institution included in the system, although it has a “long leash”. There is no fundamental understanding from many loyalists who continue to trample on the legacy of the 90s, or rather an understanding that the element of respect for the 90s and for power in the 90s is an element of building respect for power as such. And the problem is rather not that the legacy of the 90s will be dismantled, but, in fact, the legacy will be dismantled until 2022, since the authorities themselves are abandoning what they were proud of until recently, including in foreign policy. The Russian government is always tempted to distance itself from the former era itself, even the legacy of the 2000s and 1910s is now being revised, it exists around the Yeltsin Center. But until recently, the Russian authorities had an understanding, and, perhaps, it remains that it is better not to touch this case.”

For foreign agents, in addition to more stringent financial reporting obligations, there is an unconditional prohibition to engage in educational activities. Namely, it is the main one for the Yeltsin Center.