Help a Human Rights Defender
Liudmila Kuzmina
former director of the GOLOS foundation in Russia's Volga Region, has become a hostage to U.S.-Russian relations
How To Support
The funds collected on Liudmila Kuzmina's bank account at Alfa Bank and on Yandex.Money&PayPal will be transferred to the reference accounts indicated by the court.

Account at Yandex.Money (supports card payments)
410011241207359

PayPal (supports card payments)
golos.samara@gmail.com
EUR
USD

Alfa Bank card
4154 8120 5236 9299
Liudmila Kuzmina

Bank Account
Recipient: Kuzmina Liudmila Gavrilovna
Account Number: 40817810104710079722
Tax ID Number: 7728168971
BIC: 044525593 KPP Code: 775001001
Correspondent Account: 30101810200000000593
Recipient Bank: AO "Alfa-Bank", Moscow
123

people donated
175 294

rubles collected
2 047 227

still to collect

Updated on 13.12.2016
What Happened

The Russian inter-regional foundation for the development of civil society, GOLOS-Povolzhye, which was established in 2007, received grants from Moscow's GOLOS foundation in 2010-2012 as part of a joint project, Transparent Elections, financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Having paid taxes on the funds, Moscow's GOLOS foundation issued a grant to GOLOS-Povolzhye for civic monitoring of elections to public office and for educating the voters with the aim of encouraging them to take part in elections.

The project's entire programme was carried out and the funds allocated were spent as indicated, which was confirmed after an audit by a regional inspectorate of Russia's Federal Tax Service.

Russian law stipulates that donations are exempt from tax if they have been spent on objectives that are in the public interest.

However, the tax authority attached to its decision a statement by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 19 September 2012, which stated that "the character of [USAID's] work in our country did not always comply with the declared aims of cooperation in bilateral humanitarian cooperation". The tax inspectorate thus reclassified GOLOS-Povolzhye's 2010 grant agreement and the Transparent Elections programme as serving U.S. interests!
They searched long but failed to find any violations. Then they stumbled on a Foreign Ministry statement on the cessation of cooperation with USAID. And now they designate the USAID grant as income and not as a donation. Mind you, this relates to a period before 2012, when there was no such statement from the Foreign Ministry. Moreover, we did not receive the funds directly, but via the GOLOS Foundation in Support of Democracy. After November 2012, they did not receive any support from abroad, which the authorities admitted as well.
Liudmila Kuzmina
Following the tax audit, Russia's Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into possible tax evasion against the director of GOLOS-Povolzhye, Liudmila Kuzmina, in December 2014. The case was dropped in September 2015 as the statute of limitations had expired.

On 7 July 2015, GOLOS-Povolzhye was liquidated by court order. The tax authority claimed back taxes from the organisation's former director, Liudmila Kuzmina. In November 2015, a court in Samara rejected the tax authority's claim.

However, the tax authority appealed, and on 14 March 2016, the Samara regional court ruled that the foundation's former director, Liudmila Kuzmina, would have to pay 2.225 million Russian rubles in profit tax.

The Samara regional court cited a ruling of Russia's Constitutional Court, which stated that "dismissing a criminal case and discharging from criminal liability due to the expiration of the statute of limitations did not relieve the defended from the obligation to compensate damages." However, Liudmila Kuzmina's culpability was never established by the investigation, prosecution, or courts.

We — friends, colleagues, and associates of Liudmila Kuzmina — regard the actions of Russia's law enforcement agencies as persecution and retribution for her role in ensuring independent election monitoring. We consider the decision of the Samara regional court to have been illegal.

We have launched a campaign to collect funds to save Liudmila Kuzmima, whose meagre pension of 11,000 rubles would allow her to pay her "debt" in 17 years. Liudmila Kuzmina will continue to defend her case in court. However, the Samara court ruling will come into force soon, threatening Kuzmina's possession of her only property, her own apartment.

We are asking for your support. Please join us and donate to Liudmila Kuzmina!

The funds collected on Liudmila Kuzmina's bank account at Alfa Bank and on Yandex.Money&PayPal will be transferred to the reference accounts indicated by the court. All financial reports on the funds collected and transferred will be published.
The restrictive environment around the nonprofit sector in Russia has become catastrophic. After the introduction of complex repressive legal norms, including the 'foreign agents' law, civil society organizations in Russia face serious harassments from law-enforcement agencies on a daily basis.

The case of Liudmila Kuzmina from Samara "Golos" (a respected election watchdog) clearly shows the strategy of the Russian authorities to silence all those voices that strive for a free and democratic Russia and distract their resources from mission-driven activities on self-defense. Our attention to each case of such pressure on Russian nonprofits is essential and very important. Free Russia Foundation supports Liudmila Kuzmina and Golos and calls for solidarity and assistance to them! Together we can do more!
Natalia Arno
President of Free Russia Foundation, USA
Made on
Tilda