SOVA argued in their Thursday statement that the links did not “spread the material directly” but “adhered to online etiquette” by allowing users to familiarize themselves with the organizations. “In the current situation, the SOVA Center is forced to remove these links,” the group said. The OSF and NED remain listed on the center’s website on Thursday.
Russia’s Justice Ministry blacklisted the SOVA Center as a “foreign agent” in December 2016. The 2012 law requires politically engaged NGOs that receive funding from abroad to register under the label, which has Soviet-era connotations of espionage.
It implies additional and often crippling scrutiny from law enforcement and, under a 2015 amendment, allows prosecutors to shut down “undesirable” foreign non-profit groups without judicial scrutiny.