Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) in Russia Under Scrutiny…

The majority pro-Kremlin party United Russia intends to submit to the State Duma a bill whereby non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that pursue political activity and receive financing from abroad are assigned the status of a foreign agent.

A co-sponsor of the bill MP Alexander Sidyakin commented that the draft law does not ban NGOs or limit their rights. It is intended to make publicly available information about the function of such NGOs as a foreign agent.

An NGO would be regarded as a political organization, with the exception of parties, if it finances and holds political rallies in order to impact state authorities’ decisions aimed at changing their policy and also shapes public opinion for the above-mentioned purpose. Political NGOs would be obliged to issue reports about their activities on a semiannual basis.

NGOs would be required to specify in materials distributed via mass media and the Internet that information is published by an organization acting as a foreign agent.

An authorized federal body is expected to assess information about foreign agents within the framework of the law against money laundering and financing of terrorism.

There is a network of NGOs financed from abroad in Russia, with the purposes of their paymasters looking suspicious, Siidyakin said.

After people see how many agents of influence operate in Russia they will be more active in shaping civil society, he added.

Representatives of NGOs that could be affected by the draft law said that the Kremlin does not need organizations that do not support the president and the government.

Assistant director of Golos Association told Kommersant business daily that some officials believe that NGOs pose a threat of staging a coup allegedly financed from abroad.

Windows to Russia!