Russian Ambassador Ivan Volinkin’s recent call “to neutralize” Western-funded non-governmental organizations in Armenia is stoking fears among Armenian activists that the country’s pending membership in the Moscow-led Customs Union will prompt a rollback of civil rights.
In an interview published in the May 1-15 edition of the Moscow-based, Armenian newspaper Noyev Kovcheg, Volinkin called for an information campaign “and other methods” to respond to alleged attempts by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to “drive a wedge” between Armenia and Russia. As an example of such “methods,” he cited Russia’s own 2013 law, which requires NGOs that receive international financing to register as “foreign agents.” He also proposed that Russia be more active in asserting itself in Armenian media.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.