Russia Fines Former Gulag Museum for Being a #039;Foreign Agent#039;

lt;pgt;A Russian court has fined the organisation behind Russia#039;s renowned Perm-36 Museum, which is housed in a former Gulag and is the only Soviet labour camp in Russia to have been preserved as a museum, state news agency lt;a href=quot;; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Itar-Tasslt;/agt;;/pgt; lt;pgt;The Russian government declared the organisation running the museum a quot;foreign agentquot; in April, accusing it of taking foreign funding and being involved in political activity. The local government took control of the museum when the investigation was underway in March and the Perm-36 group has been forced to effectively shut;/pgt; lt;pgt;The organisation has now been fined 300,000 roubles ($5,250) while its former director Tatyana Kursina has been fined 100,000 roubles ($1,750). The organisation denies it acts as a quot;foreign agentquot;lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The Perm-36 Museum was opened in 1996, recreating the conditions of a once functional Stalinist labour camp in the Ural mountains. However, earlier this year, Kursina#039;s organisation ceased to run it due to the case opened against them and lt;a href=quot;; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Radio Libertylt;/agt; has since reported that the new leadership has removed mentions of quot;Stalin,quot; quot;dissidentquot; or quot;gulagquot; from pamphlets advertising the;/pgt; lt;pgt;quot;We#039;re trying to talk more about the architectural complex, and not to get involved in assessing specific people who served sentences there, and assessing Stalin and so on,quot; the new director of exhibits, Yelena Mamayeva, told the radio station in March. quot;Because right now this is not quite politically correct.quot;lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Russia#039;s law banning so-called quot;foreign agentsquot; came into force in 2012 and it bans organisations that engage in political, as opposed to solely educational, activities in Russia from receiving funding abroad unless they register as quot;foreign agentsquot; themselves. Should they fail to do so they are liable to receive fines and forced to;/pgt; lt;pgt;Human rights organisations such as lt;a href=quot;; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Amnesty Internationallt;/agt; and lt;a href=quot;; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Human Rights Watchlt;/agt; have condemned the law on the basis that the notion of quot;political activityquot; in Russian law could include human rights advocacy. Amnesty accused the law of quot;choking freedom.quot;lt;/pgt;
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