The editor-in-chief of Penza-Post and a former FSB officer, Alexander Tuzov, received a fine for not being labeled as a “foreign agent” when the Civil Union charity foundation was mentioned. The Ministry of Justice assigned this status to the organization after publications in which Tuzov talked about foreign funding of the Civil Union.
The Penza Railway District Court fined Tuzov 4 thousand rubles for disseminating information in the media about an organization acting as a foreign agent (part 2.1 of article 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation), informs “7×7” with reference to blogger Valentin Snegirev.
The reason for the fine was the publication on the website, in which the “Civil Union” was mentioned without the corresponding marking of the “foreign agent”. Tuzov himself believes that he was brought to justice by mistake.
“The list of the composition of the council under the governor was given to us by the press secretary of the council, Marina Tarasova. There was no mark, but I looked. I pleaded guilty and paid a symbolic four thousand rubles, ”said Tuzov. “It could have been limited to a warning, but the court for some reason punishes our brothers in the craft, despite the fact that there is a technical error here.”
Penza blogger Valentin Snegirev complained about the violation in the publication. However, Roskomnadzor refused to initiate an administrative offense case.
The “Civil Union” was created in 2002. It attracts the resources of Russian and foreign charitable foundations for the development of civic initiatives in the Penza region. In 2018, the total contribution of charitable foundations to the social sphere of the Penza region amounted to about 14 million rubles.
In 2019, the Ministry of Justice recognized the Civil Union as a “foreign agent”. This happened after Tuzov sent complaints to the Ministry of Justice demanding to check the “Civil Union” and its sources of funding. According to the director of the organization, Oleg Sharipkov, Tuzov “on the instructions of his friend and patron”, deputy chairman of the regional government Vasily Trokhin “wrote dozens of defamatory articles” against the management of the fund and initiated dozens of inspections of the fund by the prosecutor’s office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the RF IC.
Tuzov called the accusations that the actions of the Ministry of Justice in relation to the fund were initiated by the Penza authorities “bullshit”. He explained that he personally does not like the criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with which Oleg Sharipkov speaks on Facebook.
“He writes that the president is a butcher. Humanly, I don’t like it. If Sharipkov lives in this country and this is how he evaluates the president, then why does he live here? If he loves the English embassy and posts photographs from there, why then does he stay in Russia? Let him go into the arms of those whom he serves in fact, ”explained Tuzov.
The ex-FSB officer added that the “Civil Union” receives foreign funding for “political things”, and therefore must “wear a red ribbon and not be ashamed of the honorary label.”
Oleg Sharipkov did not deny that the organization receives money from foreign sources. One of them is a South African foundation that supports local organizations around the world. “In addition, we receive money from the German government, which is allocated to 73 countries affected by fascism,” said the director of the organization. However, he stressed that the fund “is not engaged in political activity.”