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Russian NGO Head Will Appeal 'Foreign Agent' Designation

VOLGOGRAD, Russia -- The head of an NGO placed on a list of "foreign agents" by Russian authorities is crying foul.

A nongovernmental organization in the Russian city of Volgograd has been added to the list of "foreign agents' on the Justice Ministry's request.

The leader of the Volgograd-based Youth Center for Consulting and Training, Temur Kobalia, told RFE/RL on January 5 that the regional Justice Ministry's decision to list the group as a "foreign agent" was motivated by the fact that he also heads the Georgian-Russian Forum of Nonprofit Organizations.

Kobalia -- a native of Georgia, whose ties with Russia remain badly strained years after a 2008 war -- said the decision will be appealed.

Rights activists in Russia say a 2013 law requiring many nongovernmental groups that receive funding from abroad to register as "foreign agents" is part of a crackdown on civil society.

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

A number of NGOs including the Sakharov Center, Soldiers' Mothers of St.Petersburg, and the Public Verdict Foundation have been added to the list since then.