The St. Petersburg City Court dismissed an appeal against the liquidation of the Sphere charity fund, which was the financial operator of the Russian LGBT Network and carried out human rights activities. In this regard, legally, the fund will soon cease to exist, according to its website.
“In fact, a death sentence has been handed down today. It was issued earlier, confirmed today and entered into force at the time of the announcement of the appeal ruling,” said Vitaly Isakov, a lawyer at the Institute of Law and Public Policy.
According to him, the court "demonstrates impotence" in the execution of decisions of the Constitutional Court of Russia, since the latter made a decision - non-profit organizations are not prohibited from engaging in political activities and having an ideology different from the state one.
“NGOs cannot be discriminated against and blamed for the fact that their ideology, their approach differs from some state approach. The subjective discretion of an official cannot determine whether an NPO has violated the law or not. There should be clear criteria for what needs to be violated. But the Ministry of Justice wrote something there, tried very hard, tried very hard,” Isakov says.
The Sphere Foundation was one of the first organizations in Russia to be recognized as a “foreign agent” – the Ministry of Justice entered it into the register back in 2016. The Russian LGBT Network and one of its founders, Igor Kochetkov , were also recognized as “foreign agents” at the end of 2021.
The Ministry of Justice calls the reason for the liquidation of the "Sphere" "the implementation of activities that do not correspond to the goals of creating a non-profit organization, especially having the status of a charitable organization, and the basic traditional family values enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation."