Prosecutors’ Inspection: Absurdity goes on

On Wednesday, April 3, following up raids on NGOs, which on March 27 affected our organization as well, I received a telephone call from one of the inspectors from Moscow Public Prosecutor’s office and we rather peacefully agreed to contact each other on Monday to arrange a meeting. He suggested that we could come to any time convenient for all of us to pick up documents and discuss all the matters which the inspecting organizations would be interested to know.


The day before, on April, 2 we passed copies of 30 papers on to the representative of tax inspection, engaged by the Public Prosecutor’s office according to the list which he had given to our bookkeeper on March 27. Copies of the Charter and registration documents we gave directly to the inspectors during their visit.

On Thursday, April 4 after 3 pm, when I was out of the office, the same inspector called and came with a new order, considerably exceeding the previous one: the amount of required documents was expanded and there was no time given for preparing them. My deputy Elena Burtina refused to accept his order against acknowledgement. There was no sign of former civility and correctness left. In some time we have received the same order by fax.

By April 5 we were to submit the full amount of documents according to the new list to the Public Prosecutor’s office together with notarized copies.

Due to the change of Public Prosecutor’s office’s style and concept of inspecting our organization we made a decision to suspend submitting required documents until clarifying the matter of grounds and legitimacy of Civic Assistance Committee being inspected.

From the very beginning we found and find now this kind of inspection illegal. However, due to the openness and transparency of our work as well as with the purpose developing cooperation and mutual understanding with governmental bodies we were willing to submit required documents to the Public Prosecutor’s office.

If Public Prosecutor’s bodies intend to expand their demands too much we also have to change our attitude to what is going on.

In connection to the above on April 5 we sent a letter to Vedernikov, deputy prosecutor of Moscow, on whose behalf all the additional orders had been sent to us; in this letter we inform him about suspension of our cooperation within the context of the present inspection.

The same day at 12.45 pm two (!) operative authorized officers of Main Department of Internal Affairs (GUVD), Moscow, extremism control office, Dmitriy Evgenievich Katyshev and Igor Eduardovich Chuikin came to our office to deliver V.V.Vedernikov’s order and demanded Elena Burtina to sign the receipt.

Since events of two previous days had already gone public, we decided not to keep two officers of GUVD who acted as couriers instead of fighting extremism and Burtina did sign the copy of the delivered letter.

This kind of absurdity theater takes place in the charitable organization with diplomas and thank-you letters from both Presidents, the mayor of Moscow and many other prominent people, including Ataman’s letter of commendation “For Faith and Service to Russia”.
Who do you serve, Messieurs public prosecutors and extremism fighters? One day you will also be asked what good you did, who paid you for delivering senseless papers in pairs, when the six of you were coming to prevent people from work, why didn’t you perform your direct duty? And no orders would justify your conduct.
“Some time you will be asked: what can you, so to speak, show? And no connection would help you to make your foot small, your soul – big, and your heart – fair.”
Evgeny Shvarts “Cinderella”

To Mr.V.V.Vedernikov,
Deputy Prosecutor of Moscow
Dear Mr.Vedernikov,
I am writing this letter to inform you that our organization Civic Assistance Committee suspends to submit documents required by the Public Prosecutor’s office, Moscow until clarifying the matter of grounds and legitimacy of Civic Assistance Committee being inspected.

This decision was made in connection with the delivery of your new orders on April 4, 2013 on expanding the amount of documents in comparison with the list given to us on March 27, 2013 and sign by deputy prosecutor Mr. Zakharov.

Besides, your fax says that “the required papers are to be submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s office by 05.04.2013.”
Apparently the order which you signed can’t be fulfilled within the time limit. It can’t be fulfilled content wise either, because we are not willing in accordance to your fax “to submit the full amount of documents to the Public Prosecutor’s office together with notarized copies”. This would mean that the Public Prosecutor’s office withdraws our documents not inspects them. There is no legal ground for the Public Prosecutor’s office to do it.

Your fax from April 4 also orders to submit texts of our educational seminars’ participants, yet these seminars are held in the form of live dispute and required texts simply do not exist.
Concerning some required documents we doubt that we can pass them on to anybody without the permission of those whose personal information they contain. In order to resolve these doubts we need to consult a specialist. Besides, to receive permissions from parties involved with the personal information would take a long time.

I would like to stress the fact that we have passed on to the engaged representative of tax inspection, Russia not some documents but all documents he required.
Exactly in a week since March 27, i.e. on April 3 I had a friendly talk with chief assistant prosecutor Mikhail Victorovich Dolzhikov who suggested to continue our cooperation in convenient time and contact him in the morning of April 8. That’s why his visit to our office the next day with new orders in my absence was the offence of the nature and concept of our cooperation.
In accordance with the above, and due to Article 22 RF Law “About the Public Prosecutor’s office” which clearly says that a prosecutor has a right “to verify laws in connection with information received by the Public Prosecutor’s bodies on the violation of the law”,
Our organization will consider the matter of continuing cooperation on the topic involved only after I receive answers on my letter addressed to Zakharov, deputy prosecutor of Moscow, which I passed on to him against acknowledgement through Tatyana Leonidovna Matveyeva, chief prosecutor, asking to answer the below questions.

1 . On the basis of what information on the facts of violation of law by the organization this inspection is held?

2 . What relation has each of required documents to available information on violation of the law if such information exists?

Mrs. Matveyeva assured me that I would get the answer to my letter in terms established by the law.

I hope that these terms will be observed and we will receive the answer and then our organization always ready to cooperation, will consider again a question of providing the public prosecutor’s office of Moscow with documents which it is interested in.

Enclosed: The list of copies of thirty financial documents provided for Mr.Fedossov, chief state tax inspector, Inspectorate of the Federal Tax Service #33 in Moscow.
Sincerely yours,

Svetlana Gannushkina,

President, Civic Assistance Committee,

Board member, Memorial Human Rights Center,

Member, Government Committee on Migration Policy

Expert, RF President’s Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

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