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Russian Pollster Says Rights Court Accepts Its Suit Over 'Foreign Agent' Status

A lawyer for the independent Russian opinion polling agency Levada Center says that the European Court of Human Rights has accepted its lawsuit against the Russian government's move to label it a foreign agent.

Speaking on October 30, lawyer Ilnur Sharapov accused the Justice Ministry of violating two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights by adding the pollster to its official register of organizations "operating as foreign agents" in September 2016.

According to Sharapov, the ministry's actions violated the convention's articles protecting freedom of assembly and professional activities.

A 2012 law that has been widely criticized by Kremlin opponents and Western governments requires any nongovernmental organization that receives funding from abroad and is deemed to be engaged in political activity to formally register as a "foreign agent."

Russian and international human rights organizations have said the law was introduced to silence independent voices.

Amendments introduced to the law in 2014 allow the Justice Ministry to forcefully add NGOs to the list of "foreign agents."

Based on reporting by Interfax and