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Russia Puts Chechen Rights Group On 'Foreign-Agent' List

Russian officials have added the Human Rights Defense Center based in Chechnya to the country's list of "foreign agents."

The Justice Ministry said on August 21 that an inspection showed that "the nature of the center's functions allows us to add the organization to the list."

Based in the Chechen capital, Grozny, the rights organization became the 87th NGO listed by the ministry as a "foreign agent" since President Vladimir Putin signed the 2012 law enabling NGOs to be branded "foreign agents" if they have foreign funding and are deemed to be involved in political activities.

Kremlin critics say the law is part of a crackdown on civil society that has grown since Putin returned as president three years ago.

The Russian region of Chechnya is led by the Kremlin-backed authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been criticized for the systematic violation of human rights for years.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS