“Four Russian non-governmental organizations told BuzzFeed
Monday they had been invited to the meeting, scheduled for this Thursday at St. Petersburg’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The groups include veteran human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, legal aid NGO director Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out, a St. Petersburg-based LGBT organization.”
Coming Out St Petersburg just won a district court battle annulling a lower court ruling finding that the organization is a ‘foreign agent’. The director would have been fined 300,000 Rubles ($9,000 US Dollars) if the ruling stood.
“Another local LGBT group, the LGBT Network, is believed to be attending, though director Igor Kochetkov declined to comment to BuzzFeed, saying that he had been “asked not to say anything.”
“Election monitoring group Golos is also believed to have been invited, though BuzzFeed could not reach its director or deputy director to confirm. Russia’s justice ministry forced Golos, which used to receive funding from USAID, to disband this summer under a law on “foreign agents” that many believed
was created specifically to target the group.”
“Obama’s trip to Russia for a summit of the Group of 20 industrialized nations comes amid a deep rift between the US and Russia, not least over the countries’ competing stances on Syria. Obama was due to hold a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Moscow before heading to the summit, but abruptly called that off last month in the wake of deteriorating relations and Russia’s sheltering of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Putin has repeatedly accused members of Russia’s civil society as being in the pay of the U.S. State Department.”