About 20 environmental NGOs named as 'foreign agents'

Around 20 Russian major environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) have received prosecutors' requests to register as foreign agents.

Around 20 Russian major environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) have received prosecutors' requests to register as foreign agents.

"Around 20 environmental organizations have received prosecutors' requests. Those who sound familiar, who comprise the environmental movement and who are not of just regional importance have received the requests," Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Igor Chestin said at a news conference in the Interfax head office on Wednesday.

Chestin said that NGOs "in no way intended to register as a foreign agent." Chestin said that despite the fact that environmental NGOs were receiving foreign financing, considerable amount was coming from Russian citizens and companies.

"No self-respecting citizen - this is around 30 million rubles a year, - no Russian company - this is around 60-61 million rubles a year - will give money to a foreign agent," Chestin said.

"None of us is going to register as a foreign agent. We simply will not. If all courts are lost [to contest prosecutors' requests to register as foreign agents], environmental organizations will start closing," Chestin said.

Chestin said that Russia itself needed environmental NGOs' activities, which "in no way can be regarded as political activities."

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