MIN +1
MAX +4
Cloudy/Wind / 07:42 AM / Traffic

Lugovoi Submits Bill Raising Pressure on 'Foreign Agents'

State Duma deputy Andrei Lugovoi submitted a bill on Friday that would allow the Justice Ministry to impose the politically charged "foreign agent" label on non-commercial organizations, Russian media reports said.

A law passed in 2012 obliges all nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funding and engage in "political activity" to register as "foreign agents" with the ministry. So far, nearly all NGOs have refused to register because they fear that they will be persecuted if they accept the tag, which they say carries connotations of spying.

Some NGOs have been fined for refusing to register.

Lugovoi's bill would effectively take the decision out of the NGOs' hands, though they could still appeal the ministry's decision to include them on the "foreign agents" register in court, the RIA Novosti state news wire reported.

The bill would also give the Russian authorities more power to carry out inspections on unregistered NGOs without providing prior notification, Itar-Tass reported.

The government has said that the 2012 "foreign agents" law was needed to reduce the influence of foreign governments on Russian politics, but critics say its sole intention was to put pressure on civil society and limit dissent.

Lugovoi, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, told that his bill is not an attempt to repress NGOs, but to provide greater transparency. "Russians must know who is financing organizations that are engaged in political activities" in Russia, he said.

See also:

U.S. Education NGO American Councils Ordered to Cease Operations

See also:

Extremism Probe Into Russian NGO Director Closed After Record Fine Paid

Hundreds of Russian NGOs Penalized Last Year Amid Government Crackdown

Russian Media NGO Pays Biggest Fine So Far Under Foreign Agent Law

From the Web

Dear reader,

Due to the increasing number of users engaging in personal attacks, spam, trolling and abusive comments, we are no longer able to host our forum as a site for constructive and intelligent debate.

It is with regret, therefore, that we have found ourselves forced to suspend the commenting function on our articles.

The Moscow Times remains committed to the principle of public debate and hopes to welcome you to a new, constructive forum in the future.


The Moscow Times