MOSCOW, December 9 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Justice Ministry has put the Moscow School of Civic Education on the foreign agents list, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, citing the ministry’s press service.

The Moscow School of Civic Education (until August 2013, the Moscow School of Political Studies) was created in December 1992 with support from the Council of Europe. Its main goal is “to encourage the creation of a modern state based on the rule of law, the efficient functioning of democratic institutions and civic initiatives” through the education of new-generation public and political leaders, representatives of the media, culture, education, business and non-commercial sector.

The decision that the school is a foreign agent was taken by the Moscow department of the Justice Ministry during an inspection.  The foreign agent list currently includes 18 NGOs.

Some time ago, the ministry added the human rights organization Memorial to the list and also filed a request that Memorial be closed for repeated gross violations of the law. Memorial has appealed against the ministry’s decision.

According to a federal law that came into effect in November 2012, NGOs engaged in political activity and receiving foreign funding are required to register as “foreign agents” with the Justice Ministry. In June 2013, the ministry was given authority to classify NGOs as foreign agents at its own discretion and promptly added five NGOs to the foreign agent list.

Russian NGOs have more than once criticized and appealed against the new law, including with the European Court of Human Rights.