russia protest 2011 Alexander Aleshkin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Les espions non commerciaux de Russie

LONDRES – Rien n’agace plus l'opinion publique occidentale à propos de la Russie aujourd’hui que sa loi sur les agents étrangers. Promulguée en juillet 2012, la loi exige que toutes les organisations non commerciales (NCOs) engagées dans des « activités politiques » (non définies) s’enregistrent auprès du ministère de la Justice comme « exécutant des fonctions d'agent étranger ». Une mesure de suivi en 2015, la loi sur les organisations indésirables, oblige toute NCO à se présenter publiquement en tant que « agent étranger ».

La formulation est particulière et importante. Après tout, quelles sont les « fonctions d'un agent étranger », dans le langage courant, à part servir les intérêts d'une puissance étrangère? En effet, concrètement, la loi russe empêche les NCOs qui ne sont pas sous le contrôle de l'Etat d'exercer toute activité dans le pays. Certainement, cette appellation rend impossible d’accéder à tout financement russe, qui pourrait les faire retirer du registre. Elles ne sont pas seulement étrangères: elles sont des infiltrés et des traîtres!

Certains groupes se sont volontairement mis en liquidation; d'autres ont été supprimés parce qu’ils ne se conformaient à la réglementation; d'autres encore sont en exil. Parmi les victimes les plus éminentes se trouvent le Centre Sakharov, le Centre commémoratif pour les droits de l'homme et l'École d'éducation civique de Moscou. Après avoir repoussé une première tentative de stigmatisation en tant que « agent étranger », l'Université européenne de Saint-Pétersbourg fait maintenant face à une fermeture pour des infractions techniques triviales – une des tactiques préférées de la bureaucratie.

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